May 1, 2017

TO:                  NIU Faculty and Staff

FROM:            Laura Alexander, Senior Associate Vice President, Human Resource Services

 RE:                 CMS – FY2018 Annual Benefit Choice Period, May 1 – May 31, 2017

In the next few days, you will receive 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 FY2018.  The Benefit Choice Options Booklet is available by clicking on the following link ( and the changes for FY2018 are highlighted on page 3.

The FY2018 Benefit Choice period will extend from May 1, 2017, through May 31, 2017, with benefit elections effective July 1, 2017.

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 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 FY2018 changes listed in the booklet, below are a few that may impact you:

New Online Enrollment Platform

All FY2018 Benefit Choice changes and elections will need to be processed through the MyBenefits Marketplace website.  No paper enrollment forms will be accepted

MyBenefits Marketplace
Customer Service toll free number:  1-844-251-1777
TTY/TTD toll free number:  1-844-251-1778
Monday – Friday 7:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. CST (during Benefit Choice)

Registering and Processing Benefit Choice Enrollment/Changes on MyBenefits Marketplace

Employees will be required to register on the MyBenefits Marketplace 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 Marketplace 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, 2017, to May 31, 2017, 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, 2017.  Whatever changes have been entered at that time will be processed.  Any required documentation must be uploaded to the online system by June 5, 2017 to ensure timely transmission to the carriers.

New Health Plan Administrator

The Quality Care Health Plan (QCHP) previously administered by Cigna will be transitioned to Aetna.  CMS has indicated that 98% of the network physicians for Cigna remain as network physicians for Aetna.  However, employees are encouraged to visit Aetna’s website ( to confirm their physicians are in network for Aetna.  Employees that are enrolled in the Quality Care Health Plan that want to continue their enrollment do not need to take action to remain enrolled.  New health care cards will be mailed by July 1, 2017.

Plan Administrator Name Change

Aetna will also administer the Aetna HMO, formerly Coventry Health Care HMO, and the Aetna OAP, formerly Coventry Health Care OAP due to the company’s acquisition.  Employees currently enrolled in Coventry Health Care HMO and OAP plans that want to continue their enrollment do not need to take any action to remain enrolled.  New health care cards will be mailed by July 1, 2017. 

Medical Care Assistance Plan (MCAP)

The MCAP maximum contribution amount will increase from $2,550 to $2,600 for the 2018 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.

Employees Opting Into Coverage During the Benefit Choice Period

Any employees wishing to opt into coverage during the Benefits Choice period should first contact the Insurance and Employee Benefits Office at (815) 753-6000 for assistance before processing your change on the online platform.

Premium Rates

Please note, the premium rates listed in the flyer/booklet are currently the same as they were for FY2017.  However, CMS has included the following Disclaimer in both the Benefit Choice Flyer (page 1) and the Benefit Choice Booklet (page 2).                 

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

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 Human Resource Services website at the following link:  (

Benefit Choice Informational/Interactive 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.  These sessions will be taking place in the Wirtz Hall 332 computer lab.  Human Resource Service staff will also be available to assist employees with logging into their online accounts and processing any necessary benefit changes.  The dates for these sessions are provided below:

May 3, 2017 – 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. – Wirtz Hall 332

May 3, 2017 – 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. – Wirtz Hall 332

May 9, 2017 – 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. – Wirtz Hall 332

May 9, 2017 – 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. – Wirtz Hall 332

May 15, 2017 – 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. – Wirtz Hall 332

May 15, 2017 – 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. – Wirtz Hall 332

May 18, 2017 – 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. – Wirtz Hall 332

May 18, 2017 – 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. – Wirtz Hall 332

The informational session will last about 45 minutes and there will be approximately one hour for employees to have computer assistance with processing changes in the online system.  Employees are welcome to attend any part of the session that is helpful to them.

Because space is limited in the computer lab, the sessions will require advanced reservations.  Please call Human Resource Services at (815) 753-6000 to make a reservation.  If demand dictates, additional sessions will be scheduled.

Employees in attendance at the sessions in Wirtz Hall 332 that would like to print confirmations of the changes they process should bring their NIU One Cards to utilize the AnywherePrints capabilities in that building.

Computers in Human Resource Services

Although the MyBenefits Marketplace 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, 2017.

For FY2018, 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 FY17) 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 FY2018, please complete the enrollment form ( which must be received in the Payroll Department by May 31, 2017.  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, 2017.  Additional information will be distributed in August. 


Employees should contact MyBenefits Marketplace 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, 7:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Central Time.  Employees with questions regarding this memorandum or for further assistance can call 753-6000 to connect to Maya Wilk-Siuba, Renee Bechtel, or Liz Guess.

Disclaimer: Human Resource Services provides this information as guidance to employees. All procedures, terms and conditions of the State benefit program are as provided by CMS and the State of Illinois. While we make every effort to assure the accuracy and completeness of this information, we recommend that employees directly access the information provided by CMS and the designated care providers who establish and maintain the official policies and procedures. Where possible, we have provided links to relevant websites for your convenience in accessing additional information and clarification.