Faculty/Staff Benefit Information

Medical Coverage

Excellus BlueCross Blue Shield rates will increase by 1.5% for 2021. Faculty and staff will continue to receive comprehensive medical coverage through the Excellus PPO health plan.

The summary of the Excellus health plan is at the link below.

2021 Excellus Summary

Guardian Dental and Vision Coverage

There are no changes to the Guardian dental and vision plans for 2021.
At the link below are provider directories for each program within 50 miles of HWS, or to find a vision provider in your area please visit www.guardiananytime.com.

Summaries of the dental and vision coverage through Guardian can be found at the link below. Log on to Guardian's provider search directory at www.guardiananytime.com to select a participating dentist or vision provider. Or you can call the Members Services number at 800-541-7846.

2021 Guardian Dental Summary

2021 Guardian Dental Provider Directory

2021 Guardian Vision Summary

Davis Vision Provider List

VSP Provider List

2021 Rates

For medical, dental and vision 2021 rates please click below.

2021 Faculty/Administrative Rates

2021 Administrative Hourly Rates

OptumRx Prescription Coverage

OptumRx will remain as the pharmacy vendor for enrolled participants in the Colleges Excellus medical plan.  The current copay structure of $10/$30/$50 for retail and $20/$60/$100 for mail order will remain for 2021.

More information regarding mail order services can be found online.

Information regarding OptumRx formularies can be found here. OptumRx Specialty Pharmacy, formerly Briova Rx, will continue to provide specialty medication to participants. OptumRx Specialty Pharmacy will contact employees who prescribe to specialty medications to inform them of their specific formulary changes and to make them aware of manufacturer programs available to them.

The Colleges member services number for OptumRx is 855-577-6311.

2021 OptumRx Formulary

2021 Premium Formulary Exclusion List

Flexible Spending Account (FSA)

An FSA allows you to set aside tax-free dollars from your paycheck to pay for eligible expenses, including medical plan deductibles, office visit co-pays, prescription drug co-pays, unreimbursed vision care expenses, unreimbursed dental expenses, and the cost of daycare for dependent children. The money reserved for these expenses is exempt from federal, state, and social security taxes. The use of the Benny debit card, where accepted, eliminates the need to wait for reimbursement. If you are a current participant and plan to re-enroll for 2021, please keep your existing debit card which will be funded with your new election. To see your flexible spending account balance or to submit claims, log onto Aleraedge.com. Click here for directions on how to log in.

The maximum annual medical Flexible Spending Account (FSA) election will be limited to $2,750 per employee. The limit for dependent care FSA is $2,500 or $5,000 depending on your filing status.

A reminder to current FSA Participants: You are encouraged to exhaust your spending account balance. Services or purchases should be rendered by December 31, 2021. In the event that you don’t spend all your FSA funds, you have a grace period of 75 days following the plan year to incur expenses (for medical FSA only). Claims for 2021 must be submitted to Flexible Benefit Systems by June 15, 2021.

Please note: Benny cards should only be used at a pharmacy or medical offices. If used at a dental or vision office substantiation of purchase will be required and Benny Card may temporarily be shut off until substantiation is provided.

FSA Flyer

FSA AleraPay Website Login Instructions

FSA Over-the-Counter Items

Medical Opt Out Stipend

If you have coverage under another medical plan (for example, through your spouse's or partner's employer), you may elect to waive coverage through Hobart and William Smith Colleges. If you choose to waive medical coverage, you will have no medical coverage through HWS. If you are currently enrolled in the Colleges' medical plan and you wish to opt out of the medical plan for 2021 then you will need to actively waive medical benefits via the benefit web portal.

If you are not currently enrolled in the Colleges' medical plan and you wish continue with the lack of medical coverage then your medical coverage will default to Waive Coverage and you do not need to do anything.

HWS provides a Medical Opt-Out stipend for those who waive medical coverage. The 2021 medical opt out stipend is $1,000 and will be paid out on January 22, 2021. The stipend will be paid out during the normal pay cycle and will be subject to regular tax withholdings.

Remember, if you voluntarily waive medical coverage, you also waive your rights to elect medical coverage under COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) if you terminate your employment.


Telemedicine is a convenient way to treat non-urgent medical conditions 24 hours/day. This convenient service allows patients to connect to a doctor in real time using a smartphone, tablet, or computer. A valuable option when you are away on travel, caring for a sick child in the middle of the night or simply unable to visit the doctor's office due to work/school schedules. HWS is committed to supporting faculty and staff to ensure they receive preventative healthcare so telemedicine services are offered with a $0 co-pay which is significantly lower than an in-person visit.

For more information regarding 24/7 Telemedicine please visit this link.

ENI - HWS Employee Assistance Program Vendor

The Colleges EAP provider not only provides counseling services but also child/elder care resources, personal assistance, legal and financial consultations and features a personalized web portal. The BalanceWorks program is a work/life benefit provided to you at no cost and is completely confidential.

You and your family members are able to utilize the BalanceWorks services for confidential assistance with everyday work and family issues as well as more challenging personal concerns.

The information at the link below provides a list of services and contact information:

HWS Employee Assistance Program

Supplemental Life Insurance Programs

Life insurance gives a person a peace of mind, knowing that there is financial protection for one's family after his or her death. The Colleges provides benefits-eligible employees with the following group term life insurance programs. Term life insurance is basically death benefit coverage only for a specified period with no cash value, loan value, or other permanent benefit under the policy.

The Colleges provides employees basic term life insurance in an amount equal to the employee's annual salary up to a maximum coverage of $200,000. The cost of this coverage is paid for by the Colleges.

The Colleges also provide a contributory supplemental life insurance plan. Participation in this plan is voluntary. Under this plan, employees may purchase additional life insurance equal to one, two, three or four times their annual salary. The overall maximum sum of the basic life policy provided by the Colleges and the supplemental life policy is $650,000. Completion of evidence of insurability form may apply.

Supplemental Life Premiums information

Spousal and Dependent Life Insurance

Employees may purchase from a selection of life insurance coverage levels for his or her spouse and/or dependents. Spousal life insurance is available at $10,000, $25,000 or 50% of the employee's total basic and supplemental life coverage (may be required to provide evidence of insurability) up to $100,000. Premiums are age-rated and based on the employee's age. Dependent life insurance is available at a level of $4,000 for dependents age six months to 19 years of age; $100 coverage for children ages two weeks to six months. Premium is a family rated monthly premium regardless of the number of eligible dependents covered. Completion of evidence of insurability form may apply.

MORE Information

Instructions on Aleraedge.com

Open Enrollment Dates

Qualifying Life Event Change

Medical Opt Out Stipend

Paid Family Leave (PFL)

Compliance and Other Information

Health Care Reform (Affordable Care Act "ACA")
Your 2020 federal tax return will require information to demonstrate that you satisfied the ACA's obligation to have health insurance. Around the time that you receive your Form W-2, you will also receive Form 1095-C (Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage). You will use the information in Part III of the Form to prepare your tax return.

Compliance Documentation
As a plan participant, you are entitled to a comprehensive description of your rights and obligations under the Welfare Benefits Plan and the Flexible Spending Plan. We’ve posted a copy of the following documents to the new benefits portal. In order to ensure that you fully understand the benefits available to you and your obligations as a plan participant, it is important that you familiarize yourself with the information contained within these documents.

  • Welfare Benefits Plan ?? Summary Plan Description & Summary of Material Modifications
  • Flexible Benefits Plan ?? Summary Plan Description & Summary of Material Modifications
  • HIPAA Notice of Privacy Practices
  • Premium Assistance-Medicaid & CHIP
  • Annual Notices
  • 2020 Health Plan Summary of Benefit Coverage (SBC)

If you would like to receive a paper copy of any or all of these documents, contact Relph Benefits Advisors at 1-800-836-0026.

Relph Benefit Advisors (RBA)
Benefit plan participants can save time and effort by allowing RBA to assist with your medical, prescription, dental and flexible spending plan questions. RBA is available M-F 8am-6pm by calling 1-800-836-0026. Services include;

  • Assistance enrolling on the new benefits portal
  • Help understanding and navigating your health care plan
  • Ordering replacement plan I.D. cards
  • Locating providers and specialists
  • Estimates for out-of-pocket cost and plan coverage
  • Assistance with resolving provider billing & insurance claims
  • Help with facilitating approvals & prior authorizations for services, as required
  • Support with out of area services
  • Any other related healthcare topic

Open Enrollment Deadline

  • Open Enrollment changes for 2021 must be made online through the benefits portal and submitted no later than November 25, 2020.
  • All changes will be effective on January 1, 2021. This will be your only opportunity to make health, dental, vision, life, and flexible spending account changes for 2021.
  • If you do not make changes via the online open enrollment process, all of your current benefit selections will remain in effect, with the exception of your flexible spending account(s).
  • Throughout the year it is important for you to notify Human Resources within 30 days of a qualifying event such as: birth, marriage, child no longer an eligible dependent, divorce, separation, that will require a change in eligibility and/or coverage. In some cases they could be eligible for continued coverage under COBRA.

Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.