Disability Insurance: New Carrier & Enhanced Benefits

03/24/2006

Contributed by Deborah Merriman

Contributed for: Cheryl A. Freer, Director of Benefits

Did you hear the good news? Effective April 1, 2006, the College has selected The Standard as its new short- and long-term disability carrier. What’s more, the statutory disability benefit provided for staff members has been enhanced! The change in insurance carrier as well as the enhanced benefit underscores the College’s commitment to its employees and their families.

The Office of Human Resources worked in consultation with the staff/faculty benefits committee to design an enhanced short-term disability benefit that would better respond to the needs of staff members. The new Short–term Disability (STD) plan will supplement the present statutory disability benefit. In other words, current New York State Disability benefits provide eligible staff with a benefit equal to 50% of their average weekly wage prior to becoming disabled, up to a maximum benefit of $170 per week for up to 26 weeks of disability. However for claims beginning on or after April 1, 2006, the College’s STD plan will provide an enriched benefit equal to 66.67% up to $400 per week for up to 26 weeks of disability.

The Standard was selected to administer our disability programs because of their outstanding reputation for having a focus on the higher education community and ability to address needs unique to that population, their superior claims processing ability, and their excellent customer service. The Standard was able to provide the enhanced benefit and service at a very competitive rate, which was an important factor in making the decision to change carriers and enhance the benefit because like most other colleges and universities, we needed to be mindful of budget implications.

It is important to note that the change in carrier and enhancement of the short-term disability benefit does not call for any action on the part of employees. Any staff member who becomes disabled on or after April 1, 2006, will automatically have their claim managed by the Standard and will receive the enhanced benefit.

Please contact the Benefits Department at 607-274-3245 or e-mail benefits@ithaca.edu if you have any questions.

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