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Ithaca College’s flexible benefits plan, Individual Choice, allows employees to choose between various options and levels of coverage so that they may tailor their benefits to fit their individual situations. When a benefit-eligible employee is hired, the employee will attend a new-hire session in the Office of Human Resources in which the Individual Choice benefit plan will be explained and enrollment information provided. The Individual Choice flexible benefit plan includes medical, dental, life, dependent life, accident, vision and hearing care, and long-term disability coverages. In addition, Health Care and Dependent Care Reimbursement Accounts are available under Individual Choice.

Benefit-eligible employees receive a certain number of “benefit credits” from the College. These credits are used to design a personalized benefits package. Depending on the options chosen, benefit credits will cover the cost of all or part of each individual's benefits package. Coverage becomes effective on date the enrollment is processed. If elections are not made within 30 days of the date of hire or date of the benefits orientation, whichever is later, the employee will waive their rights to benefits under the Individual Choice program until the following annual election period. 

This Policy Manual provides only very basic information on the benefits offered under Individual Choice. The full texts of insurance contracts and of other program authorizations are the controlling documents. 

For additional information refer to the Office of Human Resources’ website. 

3.9.16.1 Medical Insurance

Employees may choose from different medical plan options and dependent levels. In addition, if an employee has medical coverage elsewhere (for example, under the employee’s spouse’s plan), the employee may decline medical coverage. The different medical plans cover the same types of expenses, such as hospitalization, surgery, physician’s charges, prescriptions, etc. The difference is in the amount of the expenses paid by the employee – that is, the amount of the deductible, co-insurance, copay, and out-of-pocket maximum.

3.9.16.2 Dental Benefits

This is an optional benefit; however, if an employee does not enroll in dental coverage when first becoming eligible, late entrant rules will apply.

3.9.16.3 Vision and Hearing Care Insurance

This option provides comprehensive coverage for vision and hearing care.

3.9.16.4 Life Insurance

Employees must elect a minimum of 1 unit of term life insurance. They may also purchase additional amounts of insurance up to a specified limit.

3.9.16.5 Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance

This optional benefit provides a supplement to life insurance. It pays your beneficiary an amount in addition to your life insurance if you die as a result of an accident. A benefit may also be payable to you if you are hurt in an accident. Your spouse or qualified domestic partner and children may also be covered under this plan.

3.9.16.6 Dependent Life Insurance

Employees may choose to purchase life insurance for their family members through this plan.

3.9.16.7 Long-Term Disability (LTD) Insurance

After meeting a length-of-service requirement, benefits-eligible employees must purchase one of two long-term disability insurance options.  LTD insurance provides payments in the event the employee becomes disabled and cannot work for a period of greater than six months. Payments are offset by any disability income provided from other sources, such as Social Security, Workers’ Compensation or other disability insurance. If a claimant who participates in the Ithaca College Basic Retirement Plan is approved for this long-term disability benefit, contributions to the retirement plan are continued up to the limits stipulated in the contract. This pension protection benefit is administered outside of Individual Choice.

3.9.16.8 Reimbursement Accounts

This optional feature of Individual Choice allows the employee to set up individual account(s) funded with benefit credits and/or before-tax contributions from the employee’s salary. Individuals are “reimbursed” from this account for eligible expenses not covered by other benefits. Those who choose to participate in the reimbursement accounts may pay for eligible expenses with money reduced from their pay; these reductions are thus free from federal, state, and Social Security taxes.

Two types of tax-advantaged reimbursement accounts are available: the Health Care Account and the Dependent Care Account. Participants determine their level of contribution annually, up to the maximums established by the plan (the maximum contribution to the Dependent Care Reimbursement Account is mandated by the Internal Revenue Service).

3.9.16.8.1 Health Care Reimbursement Account

This account may be used to pay medical expenses not covered by a health insurance plan, as well as the deductible and coinsurance amounts paid by the employee. These expenses must qualify as medical deductions for federal income tax purposes in order to be reimbursable. However, if the expense is submitted through the reimbursement account, it can no longer be claimed on the employee’s federal income tax return.

3.9.16.8.2 Dependent Day Care Reimbursement Account

Expenses paid for dependent care so that the employee can work may be reimbursed through this account. The Internal Revenue Code outlines restrictions that apply. The Office of Human Resources can explain these to interested employees.

Last Updated: January 1, 2013