May 1, 2018

TO:             NIU Faculty and Staff

FROM:       Liz Guess, Director, Insurance and Employee Benefits

RE:            CMS – FY2019 Annual Benefit Choice Period, May 1 – May 31, 2018

You should have recently received at your home address an informational flyer regarding this year’s Benefit Choice period from Central Management Services (CMS).   This flyer is a subset of the Benefit Choice Options Booklet and summarizes the changes for FY2019.  The Benefit Choice Options Booklet is available by clicking on the following link and the changes for FY2019 are highlighted on page 1.

The FY2019 Benefit Choice period will extend from May 1, 2018, through May 31, 2018, with benefit elections effective July 1, 2018.

During the annual Benefit Choice Period, members may change health plans, add or drop dental or dependent coverage, make changes in life insurance coverage, and other changes as noted on page 2 of the Benefit Choice Flyer.  Employees are also reminded that they must re-enroll each year in the MCAP and/or DCAP programs and may enroll in the Sick Leave Bank during the Benefit Choice period.  While it is important to review all of the FY2019 changes listed in the booklet, below are a few that may impact you:

Online Enrollment Platform

All FY2019 Benefit Choice changes and elections will need to be processed through the MyBenefits website.  No paper enrollment forms will be accepted

MyBenefits Service Center
Customer Service toll free number:  1-844-251-1777
TTY/TTD toll free number:  1-844-251-1778
Monday – Friday 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. CST

Registering and Processing Benefit Choice Enrollment/Changes on MyBenefits Website

Employees will be required to register on the MyBenefits website before they are able to process their Benefit Choice enrollment or changes.  Employees can also access decision support tools online to help them make enrollment decisions.  Finally, employees will need to upload any required documents to the online platform.  MyBenefits Service Center has provided the following User Guide to assist employees in registering, accessing decision support tools, processing events, and uploading documents. 


Employees will have from May 1, 2018, to May 31, 2018, to process their enrollments or make changes.  The event can be accessed multiple times throughout the month and will ultimately be processed at midnight on May 31, 2018.  Whatever changes have been entered at that time will be processed.  Any required documentation must be uploaded to the online system by June 11, 2018, to ensure timely transmission to the carriers.  However, any documentation received after May 31, 2018, may result in a delay of ID cards.

Medical Care Assistance Plan (MCAP)

The MCAP maximum contribution amount will increase from $2,600 to $2,650 for the 2019 plan year with a $500 maximum rollover.  Employees must re-enroll in MCAP for the new plan year in order to qualify for the rollover.  Those who do not re-enroll will forfeit any amount eligible for rollover.

Life Insurance Premium Rates

Basic life insurance continues to be provided at no cost to all active members of the State of Illinois Group Insurance Program.  However, members also have the option to purchase additional optional life insurance coverage at their expense.  Effective with the 2019 plan year, the rates for optional member life insurance will be decreasing.  The new premium rates are listed in the Benefit Choice Flyer (page 6) and the Benefit Choice Booklet (page 14).

Premium Rates

Please note, the premium rates listed in the flyer/booklet are currently the same as they were for FY2018.  However, CMS has included the following Disclaimer in both the Benefit Choice Flyer and the Benefit Choice Booklet.

The health plan options outlined in this Benefit Choice book are subject to change pending final resolution of the collective bargaining process and litigation arising from that process.  If that process results in significant changes in plan designs, benefit levels, or premiums, a second Benefit Choice Period may be held for any members impacted by such changes.  If a second Benefit Choice Period is held, members will have the opportunity to change plans at that time with updated information.  For the latest information, please continue to visit and

At this time, Human Resource Services does not have any additional information other than the notification provided above.  Human Resources Services will provide additional information as it becomes available.

Claim Payment Delay Information

As employees are aware, there continues to be a delay in the payment of health and dental insurance claims from the self-insured plans.  For updated information regarding the claim payment delay, please visit the Central Management Services website at the following link:

Benefit Choice Informational Campus Sessions

Human Resource Services will be hosting Benefit Choice informational sessions for employees. These sessions will provide information on the modifications employees can make during the Benefits Choice period, highlight the changes taking place this year, as well as provide an overview of the benefits offered by the State of Illinois.  Below is information on the sessions:

  • Thursday, May 3:  11 a.m. to 12 p.m. - Heritage Room, Holmes Student Center
  • Thursday, May 3:  1 p.m. to 2 p.m. - Heritage Room, Holmes Student Center
  • Wednesday, May 9:  11 a.m. to 12 p.m. - Heritage Room, Holmes Student Center
  • Wednesday, May 9:  1 p.m. to 2 p.m. - Heritage Room, Holmes Student Center

Computers in Human Resource Services

Although the MyBenefits website is also accessible via smartphone or tablet, Human Resource Services would like to remind employees without computer access that there are computers available in both Human Resource locations (1515 W Lincoln Highway and Swen Parson 110). 

Sick Leave Bank Donation for Regular Faculty, SPS, and Civil Service

The university has established a Sick Leave Bank program in which regularly appointed faculty, supportive professional staff, and civil service employees are eligible to participate.

Regularly appointed employees may elect to join the Sick Leave Bank during the Benefit Choice period May 1 through May 31, 2018.

For FY2019, there will be no requirement for current participants to donate additional sick days to maintain participation due to the adequacy of donated sick days remaining on balance as of this date.

Otherwise, participation in the Sick Leave Bank program requires an employee (who was not enrolled during FY18) to annually donate at least one day of accrued sick leave prior to the end of the annual Benefit Choice period.  Consistent

with the Illinois Sick Leave Bank Act, the Sick Leave Bank program is designed to assist NIU employees who face major health crises and who have exhausted all other available benefits.

To register for the Sick Leave Bank program for FY2019, please complete the enrollment form which must be received in the Payroll Department by May 31, 2018.  If you have any questions regarding the Sick Leave Bank program, please feel free to contact Sandy Hess at 753-6050. 

Sick Leave Bank Donation for Temporary Faculty and SPS

Employees on temporary appointments have separate sick leave banks and their donation period is August 16 through October 31, 2018.  Additional information will be distributed in August. 


Employees should contact MyBenefits Service Center at (844) 251-1777 or (844) 251-1778 (TTD/TTY) with questions about navigating the MyBenefits website or how to elect benefits.  Representatives are available Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Central Time. Employees with questions regarding this memorandum or for further assistance can call 753-6000 to connect with Maya Wilk-Siuba, Renee Bechtel, or Liz Guess.