2018 Open Enrollment

HWS entrance

Welcome to the 2018 Open Enrollment webpage. Open enrollment will take place this year October 30th through November 13th via enrollingiseasy.com.

As a benefits eligible faculty or staff member, you have access to a range of quality benefit options so you can get the coverage you need for yourself and your eligible family members. Open Enrollment is your annual opportunity to reassess your healthcare, life insurance, and other benefit needs - by considering how you used your benefits in 2017 and how your needs may change in 2018.

Benefits eligible faculty and staff are able to enroll in or make changes to their benefit elections for the upcoming 2018 calendar year during Open Enrollment. To review your benefit elections from last year and to update benefit elections for calendar year 2018 visit enrollingiseasy.com. Click here for directions on how to log in to enrollingiseasy.com. Paper forms will not be accepted.

Open enrollment opens on October 30 at 12:00 a.m. and closes on November 13 at 11:59 p.m. Once Open Enrollment closes you will not be able to make a benefit change until the next Open Enrollment, unless you have a qualifying life event.

If you do not elect any changes, your current benefit elections will remain in effect with the exception of flex spending which will cease December 31, 2017.

2018 Benefit Highlights

On Thursday, November 2nd from 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m., HR will hold an Open Enrollment Benefit Fair in the Vandervort Room. Representatives from Relph Benefit Advisors, Excellus, Guardian, Liberty Mutual, ENI (Employee Assistance Program), TIAA, MVP and Aetna (for retirees) will be available to answer any questions you may have regarding benefits. In addition, HR staff will be available to respond to questions or to assist with enrollment in the benefit portal.

Minimal Rate Increase
We are pleased to announce that the Colleges health insurance rates increased minimally by 3.6% compared to industry rate increases of 8% - 10%.

New Services Under PPO

3D Mammography, is a revolutionary new screening and diagnostic breast imaging tool to improve the early detection of breast cancer for individuals identified as high risk.

Virtual 3D Colonoscopy is a specialized CT scan which provides a detailed view of the colon. Virtual colonoscopy is minimally invasive and does not require anesthesia unlike the conventional colonoscopy.

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 for if you are away on travel, or unable to visit the doctor's office and with a lower co-pay compared to an in-person visit.

New Vision Option
Employees will now be able to select one of two vision options – Davis Vision or VSP – both plans are under Guardian Vision Insurance. Davis Vision provides coverage if you use retail providers and is cheaper in cost. VSP is available for a slightly higher rate and provides coverage for independent/private opticians. You are encouraged to review which in-network and out-of network coverage options best meets you and your family?s needs.

At the links 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.

Flexible Spending Account (FSA) Information

  • Health FSA annual maximum limit is $2,650. 
  • Dependent Care FSA annual maximum is $2,500 or $5,000 depending on your tax filing status.
  • Health and Dependent Care FSA claims must be submitted no later than June 15, 2018 for reimbursement.

For more information regarding Flexible Spending Accounts please click here.

Retirement Plan
The 403(b) general annual limit for 2018 increase to $18,500 and the Age-50 Catch-up limit will remain the same at $6,000. If you wish to make changes to your retirement contributions by the first pay of 2018, please submit your Salary Reduction Agreement form to Human Resources by December 19th.

Paid Family Leave (PFL)
In accordance with recent New York State legislation, the Colleges will provide Paid Family Leave (PFL) coverage for eligible employees. It provides wage replacement and job protection to employees who need time away from their jobs to:

  • Bond with a newly born, adopted or fostered child.
  • Care for a family member with a serious health condition, or
  • Assist loved ones when a family member is deployed abroad on active military duty.

Paid Family Leave coverage will be funded by either HWS or by the employee. Faculty are currently exempted from PFL but the Colleges will explore an equitable benefit.

For more information on Paid Family Leave, FAQ?s, benefits and eligibility, please visit NY.GOV/PAIDFAMILYLEAVE or call 844-337-6303.


(Click the flags for more information.)

MORE Information

Benefits Fair

Instructions on Enrolling is Easy

Open Enrollment Dates

Qualifying Life Event Change

Medical Opt Out Stipend

Paid Family Leave (PFL)

Vendor Information

Health Insurance
Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield
Customer Service 800-499-1275

Customer Service 855-577-6311

Dental and Vision Insurance
Customer Service 800-541-77846

Flexible Spending Account (FSA)
Flexible Benefits Systems
Customer Service 800-622-6233

Insurance Enrollment
Relph Benefit Advisors
Customer Service 800-836-0026

Customer Service 800-842-2252

Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
ENI/My Balance Works


Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.