Tag Archives: Human Resources

Making the Most of your Medical Insurance Plan in 2019

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Important Benefit Reminders

Trouble-free employee benefit plan administration requires a strong partnership between employees and Human Resources. The Human Resources Department works diligently each year-end to accurately process the thousands of required or requested benefit record changes and then to check and double-check our work.  However, in the end, we also must rely on you, the employee, to do your part in managing your benefits by confirming that you are enrolled in the benefits you intended to elect.  Please carefully review your first several paychecks and let us know if you have questions or if anything seems amiss.


Medical/Dental Insurance

  • If you are a new enrollee in Medical or Dental or if you added dependents to your existing plans, CIGNA mailed individualized medical and dental ID cards to participants’ home addresses in mid-December. Otherwise, if your coverage is continuing unchanged from 2018, you should continue to use your previously issued CIGNA ID card.  If you have lost or misplaced your ID card, please call Cigna customer service at 1-800-244-6224 and they will issue you a new one.
  • As was announced on November 1, there were some increases to employee contributions toward medical and dental premiums for 2019.  New premiums (if applicable) will be reflected in the first paychecks issued in 2019. Additionally, employees who made coverage level changes (i.e. from family to single) should see the premium deduction applicable to the new coverage level applied in the first paycheck. Please refer to the Middlebury or Monterey 2019 rates charts when reviewing your check.
  • CIGNA’s website and mobile app are easy to use and provide convenient access to a wealth of information and services including: recent claims history, the ability to print temporary ID cards and to access virtual ID cards, provider network search, the ability to see real-time progress towards deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums, drug cost comparison tools, virtual explanations-of-benefits (EOBs), etc. To take advantage of these on-line services please follow the instructions in the MyCigna.com flyer. After registering, you can elect the paperless option and access your EOBs electronically. Your dependents may also register for their own portal…a great option for adult dependent children.


Vision Insurance

  • The premium for the vision plan did not change. Participants who changed coverage levels during open enrollment (i.e. switched from single to family coverage) will see the resultant premium change in the first paycheck in 2019.
  • The plan design will remain the same.  Remember, ID cards are not required (simply tell your VSP provider the last four digits of your SSN and date of birth). A summary of the plan and other helpful information is available on-line
  • At  VSP you can learn how to use your benefits, create a log-in to access your personal account information, file an out-of-network claim electronically, and search for in-network providers.



Flexible Spending Accounts

  • Double Check your paycheck deduction: Elections in health care and dependent care Flexible Spending Accounts for 2019 should be reflected in employees’ first paychecks of the new year. Please review your pay stub and confirm that your contribution is correct (divide your total annual election by 26 and round up to the nearest penny to calculate your per pay-period election.)
  • File 2018 Claims by March 31, 2019: If you participated in a Middlebury flex plan in 2018, please remember that any medical or dependent care FSA claims incurred through December 31, 2018 should now be filed for reimbursement.  You may upload claims to the website or app or mail or fax claims (link to claim form) (do not use your Flex Card for 2018 claims). You should also make sure you have completed all substantiation requests.  For assistance with substantiation, please contact customer service at 1-800-865-6543, M-F 8am-8pm (EST).
  • Web Portal and Mobile App: The MyCafeteriaPlan website and mobile app are excellent sources of real-time information.  If you have not previously set-up an account log-in, please contact customer service at MyCafeteriaPlan for assistance, 1-800-865-6543, M-F 8am-8pm (EST).
  • Communications: You will periodically receive emails from MyCafeteriaPlan asking that you log on to the portal to access some updated information.  The vendor alerts participants when substantiation may be needed through the portal.  These alerts are also sent to remind you to log on and review your balances and recent activity.  If you do not want to receive communications electronically (which will by default be sent to your Middlebury address), you must log on to request paper correspondence or call customer service at MyCafeteriaPlan. 1-800-865-6543, M-F 8am-8pm (EST).
  • Balances: As of January 1, 2019, your health FSA balances visible on the MyCafeteriaPlan portal reflects your 2019 unclaimed elections in combination with up to $500 of the unclaimed balance from your 2018 health FSA account.  While the amount eligible for rollover has already been added to your 2019 monies, you may still access that 2018 rollover PLUS the amount that did not rollover (which is subject to forfeiture) up until March 31, 2019 for 2018 claims. To see your 2018 balance, separate from your 2019 balance, look on the left side of the home page under the ‘Available Balance’ section.  If you need assistance determining what you still have available to use for 2018 claims, please contact customer service at MyCafeteriaPlan.
  • 2019 Claims Filing Options: Expenses incurred on or after January 1, 2019 may be paid using the MyCafeteriaPlan Flex Card, uploading claims to the website, app, mailing or faxing a claim form.
  • Direct Deposit: If you would prefer to have reimbursements direct deposited, you will need to complete and submit a paper direct deposit form or enroll on-line through your MyCafeteriaPlan account on the web or mobile app.
  • Policy regarding check re-issue requests: Please carefully consider the direct deposit option.  If you receive your reimbursements via check, you will be responsible for any stop payment and re-issue fees in the event that the check is lost in the post or misplaced by you. Click here to review the policy.
  • Flex Cards: All new 2019 FSA participants (who did not participate in 2017 or 2018) should have received FSA debit cards in late December. These blue Visa-branded cards, called ‘Flex Cards’, allow participants the option to access available FSA funds directly. Information about using the debit card with your FSA account can be found here. If you are a repeat user, your existing red or blue card continues to be your active card to use.  You will not receive a new card at this time. If your cards are not received via post, or if they are misplaced or lost, they can be replaced for a $5 cancel/reissue fee. Please contact customer service at (800) 865-6543 for assistance.
  • Substantiation: Using the Flex Card is convenient however do keep in mind that the IRS requires substantiation for most expenses paid by use of such cards, so receipts must be maintained. Participants will receive a message by MyCafeteriaPlan via their online account/portal if substantiation is required.
  • Forfeiture: After the 2018 runout period ends on March 31, members will forfeit any unclaimed 2018 health FSA balances in excess of $500. Excess 2018 health FSA funds up to $500 maximum will remain in participant’s Health FSA accounts to be used for 2019 expenses.

Voluntary Life and Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D) Insurance

  • Premium changes related to coverage amount increases or decreases should be reflected in the first paychecks in 2019.  Voluntary Life insurance age-band changes (5-year increments) for employees will be reflected in the first paycheck in 2019, and in the second check for spouses. If you made changes for 2019 or you hit a new age band, please review the deduction details on both the first and second checks to confirm that your premium changed.
  • Requests for new life coverage and/or for increases in life coverage over the guarantee issue amount are not effective until approved by UNUM. An Evidence of Insurability (EOI) form (paper or electronic) must be submitted by you to UNUM if you have requested this type of change. Notification to participants who require an EOI along with a link to the on-line EOI form will be distributed to affected employees during January.  Upon review, UNUM will notify employees directly of approval or denial of coverage. Any premium changes will be made as of the effective date of the approved coverage.


  • If you recently submitted forms requesting changes to your Voluntary Retirement Plan or to enroll in the 457b Salary Deferral Supplemental Retirement Plan, your new elections should be reflected in the applicable paycheck of 2019. If you requested changes, please confirm that your elections are as expected.

If you have questions or concerns about your benefits, please contact the benefits department: Nancy Lindberg (nlindberg@middlebury.edu / 802-443-3372).



A Reminder: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is an Official Middlebury Holiday!

Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) Day has been recognized as an official Middlebury holiday, beginning in 2019. This means that all US-based operations will be closed (except for essential services) on MLK Day, in the same manner as operations are closed for the Thanksgiving and Year-End Holiday Breaks, and that benefits-eligible staff employees will be paid “holiday time” for the day.

Please refer to this article for more information on Holiday Pay.

-Human Resources

Annual Performance Summary (APS) Workshops

The annual performance evaluation process for staff members takes place between January 1 and March 31 of each year.  The APS form for 2019 remains the same as in previous years.

Below, please find a link to the form, helpful tools and guides to support the APS process, and an on-line audio training presentation that will help you prepare whether you are a supervisor or individual contributor.


For those who have attended the training sessions offered in past years, you may find the recorded presentation to be a convenient refresher.  In addition to the on-line tools, we are offering two APS workshops for new employees and supervisors undergoing the APS process for the first time:

Wednesday, January 30 from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. (Mitchell Green Lounge)

Tuesday, February 19 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. (Mitchell Green Lounge)

For those who have already attended a live or recorded workshop, additional question & answer sessions are available to provide support for supervisors, managers and staff as you prepare your performance documentation:

Thursday, February 14 from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. (Marble Works)

Thursday, March 7 from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. (Marble Works)

Monday, March 11 from 11:00 a.m. to noon (Marble Works)

Please email lcaroten@middlebury.edu or call x2012 to register.


-Laura Carotenuto


If you have an unused balance in your 2018 flexible spending account(s), please be aware that you have until December 31, 2018 to incur qualifying expenses to use those funds. You have until March 31, 2019 to complete claims submissions and meet substantiation obligations.  Comprehensive guidance is available at this link.

All participants with balances greater than $5 should have received a letter via mail in November from Business Plans Inc. Please continue to monitor your progress on your web portal.  If you have yet to set up your access to the member portal at www.mycafeteriaplan.com, please do so today!  Just follow the instructions at this link.

Remember, any unused funds in the Healthcare FSA up to $500 will automatically rollover into the new plan year. Any unused funds in the Healthcare FSA account over $500 will be forfeited. Any funds remaining in the Dependent Daycare FSA are forfeited.

If you have questions or need assistance, please contact myCafeteriaPlan at 1-800-865-6543 or Human Resources at (802) 443-3372.

Workplace Etiquette – Holiday Tipping and Solicitation

The holiday season has arrived and, along with the wreaths and menorahs, the perennial workplace etiquette issues around tipping and solicitation of donations for office parties and/or gifts have appeared.  While no doubt tipping, gifts and parties are prompted by goodwill and the desire to share the joy and bounty of the season, such practices can (and sometimes do) inadvertently have the opposite effect.  In fact, each year the Administration, Middlebury Staff Council and the Human Resources Department receive feedback from members of our community who feel uncomfortable about such holiday practices.

The Administration, MSC and the Human Resources Department discourage tipping employees and urge caution in soliciting for parties or gifts because of the inherent inequity in tipping, and the potential for perceived pressure to contribute to office parties or gifts.

Instead of cash tipping, employees who would like to recognize specific staff are encouraged to do so with a verbal thank-you and/or a note or card.  If there is a strong desire to do more, consider a non-monetary treat that can be shared among co-workers; for example sending bagels and coffee, or sweets, to a December staff meeting can be a great way to express your appreciation.  (Consider contacting the supervisor or manager to discuss what might work well in the specific workgroup.)

Employees (especially managers) are encouraged to be sensitive when organizing holiday gatherings and/or soliciting donations for gifts.  Please keep in mind that not everyone celebrates the same holidays (or any holidays), that not everyone is equally in a position to make a donation (either of money or goods) and that some people are simply not interested in doing so. While the myriad of year-end holidays can provide a wonderful opportunity for workgroups to come together socially – and such gatherings can be completely appropriate in the workplace – please do be sensitive to the varying beliefs, interests and resources of ALL of your colleagues as you make plans.  With a little care celebrations and get-togethers can be fun and comfortable for all employees who choose to participate.

Best wishes for a happy – and stress-free – holiday season!

-Cheryl Mullins