Benefit Plans Response to COVID-19


COVID-19

The Benefits Team is available to help you with all of your benefit related questions or concerns. We are available via email or phone, and can also schedule a video conference meeting to assist you.


For those affected by COVID-19, there is a comprehensive Pandemic and Communicable Disease Resources for Faculty and Staff webpage available, but below are a variety of Benefit Plans resources compiled to assist you. Many of these plan enhancements are provided via the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the largest stimulus package ever enacted.


Medical Plans

Several updates to the State’s medical plans have been implemented in response to COVID-19. These updates apply to those enrolled in the Faculty and Staff Medical Plan (State Health Plan) and the Postdoc Medical Plan (Student Blue). Some of these enhanced medical benefits are listed below, along with links to the applicable webpages.


NCFlex Plans

Some NCFlex plans have enhanced their benefits during this time. From allowing temporary use of the HealthCare Flex Spending Account to pay for over-the-counter items, to allowing changes to the Dependent Daycare Flex Spending Account if your situation with dependent day care changes, these enhancements are intended to assist you in ensuring you are able to gain the most from your benefit plans during this time.

  • NCFlex COVID-19 Information (pdf): a summary of what affected individual NCFlex plans can offer, and reminders of existing plan benefits.

New updates to the COVID-19 response allow some mid-year prospective changes to HealthCare Flexible Spending Accounts and Dependent DayCare Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs), dental and vision plans. All changes are effective the first of the month. Changes may not be made in the benefits enrollment portal; you must contact your department-assigned Benefits Consultant for assistance with submitting a request for an exception. The deadline to submit such requests is September 30, 2020.

There is also a webpage detailing the State-wide North Carolina COVID-19 Response.


Hyatt Legal

Through July 31, 2020, Hyatt/MetLife Legal has instituted a Disaster Relief Plan which would allow all employees, including those not enrolled in the legal plan, to utilize some of the aspects of the plan. 

Employees may access the service by calling Hyatt Legal Customer Service Center at 1.800.821.6400, providing NC State University’s group number (29868) as the employer, the last four digits of their SSN or 9-digit ID number, and indicate that they are interested in the Document review and Consultations services being offered.


Retirement

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act includes provisions that:

  • allow those affected by COVID-19 to take a retirement plan/account withdrawal through December 31, 2020, without the 20% mandatory federal tax withholding or 10% early withdrawal penalty, or
  • allow those affected by COVID-19 to take a retirement plan loan through September 23, 2020. Eligible loan amounts are revised from 50% to 100% of vested balance, up to $100,000 (still requires collateral for collateralized loans). Through December 31, 2020, participants can request a suspension of loan repayments up to one year.

These CARES Act provisions are available only for Voluntary/Supplemental Retirement Plans. (Note that Prudential can’t process COVID-19 CARES Act distributions or loans until the Plan Sponsor – the State of North Carolina – determines the best options for distributions/loans from the state plans.) Employees must self-certify that they meet the eligibility requirements, and any withdrawals or loans will be handled by the retirement vendor.

Details of how the UNC System Office will adopt the CARES Act provisions within their supplemental retirement plans are outlined on this memo. You may reach out to your retirement vendor or applicable vendor plan rep for assistance. Contact information is on the Voluntary/Supplemental Retirement Plans webpage.


Leave

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFRCA) provides worker assistance, including paid leave. Our response is the establishment of the Paid Administrative Leave (PAL) Policy. For information regarding leave responses to COVID-19, see information on the COVID-19 Faculty and Staff Leave Provisions webpage.


Beneficiaries

Although not a pleasant subject, it is important to ensure your beneficiaries are current. We have received several inquiries about beneficiaries, and wanted to ensure the instructions to review and update them are readily available. You may update beneficiaries anytime. Note that most benefit vendors are the recordkeepers for their respective plan beneficiaries.