Welcome to SUNY Cortland | Benefits at a Glance
SUNY Cortland offers a comprehensive benefits package to its employees. To help you get a better understanding of the benefits that are available to you, the Human Resource Employee Benefits Office presents this online orientation as a general guide.
Because SUNY Cortland is a public institution in the State University of New York (SUNY) system, benefits are provided through both New York State and union representation. Faculty and professional staff are represented by United University Professions (UUP).
Benefit descriptions, eligibility requirements, effective dates, and costs are detailed along with forms.
When you have finished the online orientation, please complete the Checklist to acknowledge you have reviewed the benefits and completed any forms. Return the checklist along with all other forms to the Employee Benefits Office, Miller Administration Building, room 301, within 30 days of your appointment.
You will receive a new employee packet at an orientation session where we will explain your benefits, give you the opportunity to ask questions, and allow time for you to complete your benefit enrollment forms. Although the benefit information presented in the orientation session is available online, you may still choose to attend an orientation session in person.
If you have any questions or would like to attend an orientation session, please contact Employee Benefits at 753-2302 or at email@example.com.
New faculty and professional staff who are eligible have the opportunity to participate in the New York State Health Insurance Program (NYSHIP) which is one of the largest group health insurance programs in the United States. NYSHIP provides valuable medical benefits for you and your eligible dependents through two different options: The Empire Plan with some managed care features, or health care from a participating Health Maintenance Organization (HMO). Both options provide medical and surgical care, hospital expense benefits, mental health and substance abuse benefits and prescription drug coverage. There are no pre-existing condition exclusions.
Am I eligible?
Full-time faculty and professional staff are eligible for health benefits if they are employed for at least three (3) months. Part-time professional staff are eligible to receive benefits if they are hired at a rate of $14,430 and are appointed for at least three (3) months.
Part-time faculty teaching two or more courses in a semester are eligible for 13 payroll periods of coverage for each semester worked. If teaching two or more courses in consecutive fall and spring semesters, part-time faculty are eligible to receive benefits year round with no breaks in coverage.
Are my dependents eligible for coverage?
You may enroll for either individual or family coverage. Eligible dependents include a spouse or domestic partner and children under the age of 26. If you wish to carry family coverage, copies of the following documents are needed to support your dependent’s eligibility: marriage certificate for a spouse, proof of current financial interdependence if married for more than one year, proof of residency and financial interdependence for a domestic partnership. Copies of birth certificate(s) and social security card(s) will also be required prior to enrolling all dependents.
When will my coverage be effective?
If you wish to enroll for health insurance/prescription coverage, you must select a plan within the first 42 days of appointment to avoid any extended waiting period. Coverage will be effective on the 43rd day of employment.
What is the cost of coverage?
New York State pays a significant portion of the premium for yourself and your dependents. You pay the balance which is deducted from your paycheck on a bi-weekly basis. There are two types of coverage that you may purchase: individual or family. For current rates, visit health insurance.
One of the decisions you will need to make when enrolling for health insurance is whether or not to participate in the Pre-Tax Contribution Program (PDF) (PTCP). Under PTCP, your health insurance premiums are deducted from your pay before taxes are taken out. This lowers your taxable income and gives you more spendable income. Under Internal Revenue Rules (IRS), if you participate in PTCP, you cannot change your health insurance deduction once the amount is set for the tax year unless you have a "qualifying event".
Membership in the New York State Empire Plan allows you to seek medical services from any doctor, hospital, or health care provider that you wish. Hospital and related benefit coverage is provided through Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield. Major medical/surgical benefits, provided by United HealthCare, are available through participating and non-participating providers. Participating providers, which are paid directly by the insurance company, have agreed to accept the negotiated usual, customary and reasonable (UCR) fees as payment for services. You are responsible for a co-payment: $25 for office visits, diagnostic/therapeutic services, and rehabilitative care. Fees for services received through non-participating providers may be higher than the UCR rates and are subject to an annual deductible. Once your annual deductible is met, reimbursement is 80% of reasonable and customary expenses. Claims for services from providers who do not participate in the plan are submitted using a claim form.
Under the Empire Plan prescription drug plan, you can have your prescriptions filled at any network pharmacy or the mail service pharmacy. This plan uses a flexible formulary and for up to a 30-day supply of a covered drug, you pay a $5 copayment for Level 1 or generic drugs, a $25 copayment for Level 2, preferred brand-name drugs and a $45 copayment for Level 3 or non-preferred brand-name drugs. 90-day supplies may also be obtained with additional copay’s.
The network of participating pharmacies includes many of the major chains as well as several independent pharmacies.
HMOs are managed health delivery systems organized to deliver health care services in a specific geographic area. An HMO provides a predetermined set of benefits through a network of selected physicians, laboratories and hospitals for a prepaid premium. Except for emergency services, you and your enrolled dependents must receive services from your primary care physician (which you select at the time of enrollment) or at health centers or hospitals affiliated with the HMO unless you have made other arrangements with your HMO. Medically necessary visits to specialists are covered when authorized by your primary care physician. If you select services outside your HMO network, payment for these services will generally be your responsibility.
All HMOs charge a small co-payment for certain services, usually in the form of a per-visit fee. HMOs have no annual deductibles and rarely, if ever, are claim forms required. Member’s out-of-pocket costs are usually the lowest with this type of plan.
How do I enroll?
Please indicate your intention to participate or not to participate in a health insurance plan on the Benefits Election Form. To enroll, please complete the Health Insurance Transaction Form (PS-404) (PDF) online or provided in your orientation packet and return it to the Employee Benefits Office, Miller Administration Building, room 301, within 42 days of your appointment date to avoid any extended waiting period.
The UUP Benefit Trust Fund provides vision and dental benefits at no cost to employees who meet the eligibility requirements for participation in the New York State Health Insurance Program. These benefits are available to you and your eligible dependents whether you enroll for individual or family coverage in the Health Insurance Program or decline to participate. Coverage under the UUP Benefit Trust Fund is not automatic; you must first enroll yourself and your dependents.
Detailed information about eligibility requirements for you and your dependents, covered benefits, and instructions on how to use your plans may be found at the UUP Benefit Trust Fund.
Delta Dental of New York
One Delta Drive
Mechanicsburg, PA 17055-6999
PO Box 1525
Latham, NY 12110
Eligible members and dependents are entitled to vision services once every 12 months (from the last month of benefits received). Dependent children who are under age 25 are eligible, regardless of student status. When using a network of participating providers, the benefit includes an eye exam and one pair of glasses without co-payment (from a select frame assortment) or plan-covered contact lenses with either a $25 or $45 co-payment (based on the brand of contacts selected). A list of participating providers is available from Davis Vision. If you choose to use a non-participating provider, you will be eligible for a partial reimbursement towards the cost of your exams, glasses, frames or contact lenses.
To obtain forms, please visit www.davisvision.com to register.
How do I enroll?
You will be eligible for coverage as soon as you complete a 42-day waiting period. To enroll, complete the UUP Enrollment Card provided by the UUP Benefit Trust Fund. The UUP Enrollment Card should be returned to the Employee Benefits Office, Miller Administration Building, room 301.
Full-time permanent employees (with appointments of 3 months or more) are required to join a retirement system within 30 days of their appointment/hire date. Part-time employees and those with provisional or temporary appointments have the option to join a retirement system at any time.
No retirement system membership will be established, nor any service credit or contributions reported, until the appropriate retirement system election and membership applications have been received and processed.
Your selection of a retirement system is an important decision so please review your options very carefully. Once your election is made, you will generally not be allowed to change retirement systems unless you have a change in your employment title making you eligible for a different retirement system for the first time and you opt to change to that system within 30 days of your eligible appointment. Note, membership in a retirement system may not otherwise be changed or withdrawn during your current or any subsequent employment with any SUNY campus.
Retirement Plan Options
Eligibility for a retirement system depends on a variety of factors, including your bargaining unit/union, your position classification, and whether you are full or part-time.
CSEA, PEF, Management Confidential, UUP, GSEU are eligible to join:
UUP and Management Confidential employees are also have the option to join the following:
Employees represented by NYSPBA and NYSCOPBA are eligible for:
Additional Retirement Plan Information from SUNY
Vesting: What is it and when am I vested?
When you are vested, you have ownership of the assets held in your retirement account. Vesting does not mean that you have an immediate right to withdraw these assets, but simply that you would retain these assets upon termination of employment. The vesting period for the three public pension programs (ERS and TRS) is ten (10) years of full-time credited service.
Participation (or vesting) in the SUNY ORP is immediate for employees who own qualifying Fidelity, TIAA, AIG (VALIC), and Voya contracts at the time of their employment. Qualifying contracts must include employer contributions. For those who do not own pre-existing contracts with one of these annuity carriers, college contributions will be made upon completion of a 366 day vesting period. At the end of 366 days of service, the college will make a single lump sum contribution with interest for this initial period and then make regular bi-weekly contributions thereafter. If you leave State service prior to becoming a vested member, no college contributions will be made. However, your contributions plus interest may be refunded.
What are the employer and employee contributions?
All three benefit programs provide for contributions by you as well as the college. Your contributions will be made on a before-tax basis (federal taxes only) through payroll deduction, throughout your active membership.
3% for $45,000 or less
3.5% for $45,001 - $55,000
4.5% for $55,001 - $75,000
5.75% for $75,001 - $100,000
6% for $100,001 or more
Retirement Plan Election and Enrollment
Once you have carefully reviewed your options and decided to join a retirement system, please submit your retirement program election and provide your retirement system history:
Note, State law is very specific about the deadline for enrolling in the ORP. After 30 days, the ORP is no longer an option and ERS/TRS will be your default selection.
Before making your decision, please review the individual retirement system information. When considering participation in the ORP, it is recommend that you carefully review fund prospectuses, performance information and sales literature of each annuity company. You should consider each program in relation to your particular needs and objectives and consult with a qualified financial or tax professional for assistance. Representatives of each of these plans are available to assist you.
For further information and/or assistance with the enrollment process, please contact the Employee Benefits Office.
The State University of New York provides employees with the opportunity to save for their retirement through the SUNY Voluntary 403(b) Tax-Deferred Annuity Program and the NYS Deferred Compensation Plan.
Participating in a tax-deferred voluntary savings plan is a great way to build your retirement savings and reduce current taxes.
All employees who receive a W2 from SUNY are eligible to participate in the SUNY voluntary savings programs.
Voluntary Savings Plan Overview
These programs allow employees to have money deducted from their paychecks on a pre-tax basis to help supplement their post-retirement income from Social Security, employer sponsored pension plans, and personal savings. Your contributions, plus earnings, are not taxed until you withdraw the funds, allowing for even greater savings through tax-deferred growth. Usually this will be during your retirement, when your income may fall within a lower tax bracket.
Voluntary Savings Plan Types
There are two different types of voluntary savings plans available to SUNY employees, each type being authorized under a different section of IRS Code:
SUNY Voluntary 403(b) Tax-Deferred Annuity Program
Section 403(b) tax-deferred annuity investment retirement savings plan administered by and available to employees of SUNY State-operated or community college campuses. Some of the key features of this plan include:
New York State Deferred Compensation Plan
Section 457(b) tax-deferred mutual fund investment retirement savings plan administered by the NYS Deferred Compensation Board and available to all NYS employees and employees of participating community colleges and localities. The Plan provides a wide array of investment options selected by the Board. Some of the key features of this plan include:
Both plans function similarly but there are a few important key differences between the two plan types that you should be aware of. The SUNY Voluntary Savings Programs 403(b) vs 457 chart provides a summary containing further details about some of the key features and differences between 403(b) and 457(b) plans to help you decide which plan is right for you.
What are my tax deferred savings options?
There are several different plan options and investment providers to choose from through the SUNY voluntary savings plan. The authorized investment providers offer a wide choice of investment options, including stock, bond and guaranteed funds. The following plans and investment providers are available:
AIG (VALIC) Retirement
Contact: Janet Lake, firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact: William Stark
NYS Deferred Compensation Plan (457)
Contact: Dan Kain
How much can I contribute?
For 2020, you may contribute up to $19,500 per year to either a 403(b) or a 457(b) account, or to both.
Because 403(b) and 457(b) plans are governed by different sections of IRS Code, employees may contribute to both plans concurrently, allowing a combined deferral maximum of up to $39,000 per year.
Contributions to all 403(b) and 457(b) plans are combined, so if you use multiple investment providers, or are also a participant in a 403(b) or 457(b) plan of another employer, your combined contributions cannot exceed the IRS limit for each plan type. If you do participate in more than one of each type of plan, you are responsible for tracking and reporting the amount of all of your contributions to the plans so that the total amount of all your contributions to all plans in which you participate do not exceed the IRS limit. Note also that the sum of all of your contributions, and those of your employers, to all 403(b) and 457 plans that you participate in are generally limited to the lesser of $57,000 or 100% of your annual compensation.
If you are age 50 or older any time during 2020, you can contribute an additional $6,500 to either type of plan, for a maximum of $26,000 per year.
You can learn more about the Voluntary Savings Plan details and options available to you by visiting the following links:
Enrollment and Changes to Your Plan
To enroll, visit either link (or call) as noted below. Once enrolled, you can review and change the amount of your contributions as often as once per pay period via the same processes as enrollment. The exact date your investment allocations will take effect may vary depending upon the policies of the investment provider managing the investment options you chose for plan contributions. To be certain you enter your election by the cut-off date indicated to impact the payroll date you wish to be affected, please refer to the SUNY 403(b) Plan Account - Payroll Change Schedule (PDF).
New York’s 529 College Savings Program
If you are looking for a way to save for your child’s college education, New York’s 529 College Savings Program may be of interest to you. This program allows parents, grandparents, relatives or friends to open an investment account for future college students with as little as $25.
Contributions to the account are invested according to the options selected by the account owner. The program’s investments are managed by The Vanguard Group, a leading financial services organization. The program provides significant tax advantages. New York taxpayers can deduct up to $5,000 in contributions each year from their New York taxable income and none of the investment earnings will be taxed by the state as long as the money is used for qualified higher education institutions anywhere. Federal tax on earnings is deferred until the student uses the money for college expenses, and then the earnings are taxable at the student’s income tax rate.
For additional information, call 877-697-2837 or visit New York's 529 College Savings Program.
The Flex Spending Account is a state benefit that allows eligible employees to pay for certain expenses with pre-tax dollars. The account offers three benefits: Health Care Spending Account (HCSAccount), Dependent Care Advantage Account (DCAAccount), and Adoption Advantage Account.
Health Care Spending Account
The HCSAccount allows employees to set aside from $100 to $2,700 annually in pretax salary to pay for health-care expenses not reimbursed by health insurance.
Dependent Care Advantage Account
The DCAAccount allows employees to set aside up to $5,000 annually in pretax salary for eligible child care, elder care, or disabled dependent care expenses. An employer contribution is available to employees based on salary.
Adoption Advantage Account
The Adoption Advantage Account allows employees to set aside up to $14,080 in pretax salary for expenses related to the adoption of an eligible child.
The 2020 plan year employer contribution rates for eligible employees:
|If your salary is...||The employer contribution is...|
|$30,001 - $40,000||$700|
|$40,001 - $50,000||$600|
|$50,001 - $60,000||$500|
|$60,000 - $70,000||$400|
|Graduate Assistants (GSEU) only||$600|
What’s the catch? Use-it-or-lose-it!
You must estimate your expenses carefully. If you overestimate your costs, you lose any money that remains in your account at the end of the calendar year.
Eligibility Requirements and Enrollment
For program details or to enroll in the FSA, visit www.flexspend.ny.gov or call the FSA hotline at 1-800-358-7202.
Faculty and professional staff earn accruals during the course of their employment in accordance with the UUP Vacation/Sick (PDF) contract agreement with New York State.
Full-time professional staff earn vacation and sick leave credit on a graduated scale depending upon years of employment. On January 1 of each calendar year, accumulated vacation credits in excess of 40 days are forfeited. Sick leave may be accumulated up to a maximum of 200 days.
You must be in full-pay status for the major fraction of a month in order to earn vacation and sick leave credits for that month.
|Years of Service||Days Earned Per Month|
|0 – 1||1.25 days (15 days a year)|
|2||1.33 days (16 days a year)|
|3 – 5||1.5 days (18 days a year)|
|6||1.66 days (20 days a year)|
|7 or more||1.75 days (21 days a year)|
Part-time professional staff earn vacation and sick leave credit based on their annual salary. To accrue vacation and sick leave during each month, eligible part-time employees must be in a pay status consistent with their part-time schedule, or a major fraction thereof.
|Salary as of 7/1/20||Days Earned Per Month|
|Up to $14,914||.25 day|
|$14,915 to $22,503||.50 day|
|$22,504 to $30,088||1.0 day|
|$30,089 or higher||1.25 days|
Faculty do NOT earn vacation leave.
Full-time faculty earn sick leave credits on the same basis as full-time professional employees. Sick leave accrual rates for part-time faculty are based on the number of courses taught each semester.
|Number of Courses||Days Earned Per Month|
Monthly certification of employee time records are done in the online Time and Attendance System, accessed through the myRedDragon portal.
Faculty Use of Sick Leave Accruals
Section 23.4(h) of the Agreement between the State of New York and United University Professions states with respect to charges to sick leave accruals that: “when an employee is on sick leave, the employee shall not be required to charge sick leave credit for any day upon which the employee would not have been required to be available to work had the employee not been on sick leave.”
The Policies of the Board of Trustees state in Article XI, Title H, Section 2, that an employee’s professional obligation shall include teaching, research, university service, and other duties and responsibilities required of the employee during the term of the employee’s appointment.
Full-time faculty are expected to be available to perform their full professional obligation on a full-time basis, notwithstanding the fact that their physical presence on campus, e.g., teaching, may be on less than a full-time basis. Accordingly, full-time faculty who are absent by reason of a temporary disability are required to charge sick leave accruals for each day on which they are unavailable to work, i.e., five days in a workweek, and not just on those days they would be required to be present to meet classes.
After completing one year of service with SUNY, faculty and professional staff who are eligible for health insurance benefits will automatically be enrolled in a long-term disability plan.
The required one-year waiting period for coverage under the SUNY LTD Plan may be waived if the employee has previously worked for an employer where they were covered by a similar LTD plan within three months of beginning eligible SUNY employment. Employees interested in requesting a waiver (PDF) should contact their previous employer and request a letter verifying the period of coverage under their Group LTD Plan and a copy of their LTD Plan's SPD or Certificate of Coverage.
This plan ensures that a substantial part of your income (equal to 60% of covered monthly salary, not to exceed $7,500/month) will be protected in the event of a catastrophic illness or injury of long-term (more than 6 months) duration. There is no cost to you for this protection. This plan also contributes a monthly premium to your regular retirement plan while disabled. Benefits begin following 6 months of total disability and continue during disability until you return to work, reach age 65 or die, whichever occurs first. Enrollment is automatic. Additional information may be found at suny.edu/insurance/ltd/
Dental: Emblem Health 800-947-0101
Vision: Davis Vision 800-999-5431
Dental and Vision 800-323-2732
Dental: Emblem Health 800-947-0101
Vision: Davis Vision 800-999-5431
Dental: Emblem Health 800-947-0101
Vision: Davis Vision 800-999-5431
UUP Benefit Trust Fund 800-887-3863
Dental: Delta Dental (group # 0165) 800-471-7093
Vision: Davis Vision 800-999-5431
Participating Empire Plan providers
Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield – hospitalization (in-patient admission requires pre-approval)
New York State Service Center
PO Box 1407
Church Street Station
New York, NY 10008-1407
Claims must be submitted with the YLS prefix
United Healthcare – Major Medical (pre-authorization required for out-patient MRI, MRA, PET Scan, CT Scan, Nuclear Medicine Diagnostic testing)
PO Box 1600
Kingston, NY 12402-1600
Group #: 30500
CVS/Caremark - prescription
The Empire Plan Prescription Drug Program
PO Box 52136
Phoenix, AZ 85072-2136
Group #: RX6027 Bin #: 004336 RXPCN: ADV
MVP Health Plan mvphealthcare.com