2020 Amherst College Benefits Guide
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New Employee Benefits Checklist
Health and Dental Insurance
Flexible Spending Plan (The Amherst Plan)
Long Term Disability Insurance
Voluntary Long Term Disability Insurance
Voluntary Long Term Care Insurance
Retiree Health Program
Employee Assistance Program
Death in Service Benefit
Health and Dental Insurance
All regular employees are eligible to elect coverage under a health plan offered by the College.
Enrollment must occur within 30 days of hire and is effective the first of the month following or coincident with the date of hire. Employees may select individual or family coverage. Employees enrolling in a health care plan will also be included in the dental plan in a corresponding individual or family contract.
Employees should review the insurance certificates issued for each plan for detailed information on covered services and other important information. To review your coverage, download a certificate or find a network doctor or dentist, please visit bluecrossma.com. You have the right to designate any primary care provider who participates in our network and who is available to accept you or your family members. For children, you may designate a pediatrician as the primary care provider. You do not need prior authorization from BCBS or from any other person (including a primary care provider) in order to obtain access to obstetrical or gynecological care from a health care professional in our network who specializes in obstetrics or gynecology. The health care professional, however, may be required to comply with certain procedures, including obtaining prior authorization for certain services, following a pre-approved treatment plan, or procedures for making referrals. For information on how to select a primary care provider, and for a list of the participating primary care providers, including participating health care professionals who specialize in obstetrics or gynecology, contact BCBS at bluecrossma.com or call the Physician Selection Service at 1-800-821-1388.
Family coverage may include a legal spouse or domestic partner, and dependents up to age 26 regardless of the dependent’s Internal Revenue Service tax qualification status, marital status, student status, or employment status. The Office of Human Resources will require confirmation of dependent status each year.
The College pays 80% of the total projected cost of the individual premiums and 70% of the total projected family premiums. The amount that the College contributes to each of the premiums is determined through the use of a weighted-average formula. The College contributes an equal dollar amount to a HMO or preferred provider plan.
Changes in plan participation, other than within 30 days following a change in family status, may be made only during the annual open enrollment period held each spring for the plan year beginning July 1. During this period, employees may change health insurance carriers and/or enroll otherwise eligible dependents.
Employees insuring a spouse should submit a xerox copy of a marriage certificate with the Blue Cross application. Employees insuring a domestic partner should submit a certification of domestic partnership. Covering a domestic partner has tax implications; please contact Chris Casey or Philip Chapman-Bell to discuss the details.
Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
If an employee is eligible for health coverage, but unable to afford the premiums, some states have premium assistance programs that can help pay for coverage. There are special enrollment rights related to these programs as well. Use the following links to learn more.
Health insurance for active employees over age 65 and their spouses generally remains the same as it was prior to age 65. Those employees eligible for Medicare may elect to have either Medicare or the College health insurance plan as their primary insurer. It is usually advisable to elect the College coverage as primary. The College recommends that employees contact the Office of Human Resources three months before turning 65 to discuss Medicare coverage.
In certain instances where coverage under the group health plans would otherwise end (such as death of the covered employee, termination of employment or reduction of work hours, divorce or legal separation of the employee, or loss of dependent student status), the College is required, under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1986 (COBRA), to offer employees and their families the opportunity for a temporary extension of health coverage at group rates with the employee paying the full cost of coverage. The employee or family member must inform the Office of Human Resources of a divorce, legal separation or loss of child's dependent status within 60 days of the qualifying event in order to ensure continuation of coverage. Upon notification to the Office of Human Resources of the above event by the employee, or in case of other qualifying circumstances known to the employer, the Office of Human Resources will furnish notification of COBRA Continuation Rights and Responsibilities. Further information about continuation of coverage (under COBRA) is available in the Office of Human Resources.
Vision insurance, as a voluntary, employee-paid benefit, is available at the rate of $6.19 a month for employee-only and $15.79 a month for family.
Flexible Spending Plan (The Amherst Plan)
All regular employees are eligible to elect coverage under the flexible spending plan offered by the College.
COVID -19 UPDATES: Staff and Faculty members currently enrolled in the Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account can update their election if there’s a change in the childcare provider or cost of coverage, as long as the update is consistent with the change. For example, if a daycare provider stopped services due to COVID-19, the election can be reduced or eliminated.
Enrollment must occur within 30 days of hire and is effective the first of the month following or coincident with the date of hire. Through this salary-reduction program, an employee may pay for his or her share of health premiums, unreimbursed medical and dental expenses, and dependent care expenses.
Changes in plan participation, other than within 30 days following a change in family status, may be made only during the annual open enrollment period held each spring for the plan year beginning July 1. During this period, employees may change elections for eligible medical and dependent care expenses.
- Your flexible spending reimbursement benefit is administered by WageWorks. You can access your online account with WageWorks by visiting: www.wageworks.com. Click on the log in/register button and select employee registration to create a set of unique WageWorks credentials. You will be required to supply the last four digits of your Amherst employee ID number in order to register.
Amherst Plan Information and Forms
The College pays full cost of basic coverage for all regular employees (one and a half times annual salary for employees under age 65; one times salary between ages 65-69; and two-thirds times salary age 70 or older). Additional coverage of one to five times salary (up to three times salary available without evidence of good health) is available at low group rates based on age. The plan allows a maximum in total coverage of $750,000. Coverage is also available for IRS dependent children and a spouse or same-sex domestic partner. Coverage is effective the first of the month following three months of employment.
Long Term Disability Insurance
After a six-month absence, and approval by the insurance company, the benefit will pay 60% of the annual salary in effect at commencement of disability. The maximum benefit is $15,000 per month. The College pays the full cost of the insurance, no employee contribution required. Coverage for all regular employees is effective the first of the month following three months of employment.
Voluntary Long Term Disability Insurance
Regular employees may purchase additional disability coverage with simplified underwriting guidelines through a voluntary personal policy. The employee pays the full cost of coverage.
Voluntary Long Term Care Insurance
Regular full-time employees may purchase long term care insurance, in most cases with simplified underwriting, through a voluntary personal policy. The employee pays the full cost of coverage.
This is a defined contribution plan that provides for immediate and full vesting. Employees are eligible for College contributions after two years of continuous regular employment. The service requirement may be satisfied with immediate prior service at an educational institution, or through enrollment in a retirement plan for at least two years, and within six months, immediately prior to Amherst College employment.
403(b) Waiver of Waiting Period Form
The College will contribute 6.8% of annual salary up to one-half of the federal Social Security wage cap on July 1 each year (FY2021: $68,850 since the wage cap is $137,700 and 9% over the base. The College will match up to an additional 3% of annual salary contributed by the employee. Employees may make contributions into tax-deferred options through salary reduction at any time after employment commences. The College has implemented the following enhancements to the 403(b) Defined Contribution Retirement plan:
- Online Salary Deferral Option: In addition to accessing your account at tiaa.org/amherst, you can now log in directly from the Amherst College website using your Amherst credentials. The online salary deferral option allows you to update your contributions online instead of turning a paper form into Human Resources. Once you are logged in, select Change your contribution under the MY ACCOUNT heading.
- Auto Save Feature: Participate in a new Auto Save feature that will automatically increase your voluntary retirement plan contributions based on the criteria you set. You can set your contributions to increase in a timeframe that works best for you. You may select the amount of the increase, the frequency for that increase to occur (annually, bi-annually, or quarterly), and the date you want those changes to occur. Get started now. Log in to your account and select Change your contribution under the MY ACCOUNT.
TIAA Available Financial Webinars: TIAA offers a wide range of webinars that are available to all employees along with their dependents!
More information on the Amherst College Define Contribution Retirement Plan.
Retiree Health Program
Through this defined contribution plan, starting at age 40 the College sets aside a percentage of the current Medicare supplement for each eligible employee. Vesting of a participant’s account occurs with retirement from the College at age 62 or older and 10 years of service. At retirement funds are contributed to a health reimbursement account from which a retiree may receive reimbursement for eligible expenses. (Employees hired before July 1, 2003, please contact the Office of Human Resources for information about your retiree health program.)
|1 — 5 years
|5 — 10 years
|10 — 20 years
|1 — 10 years
Time is available as accrued. A maximum of one year’s accrual may be carried over each year. Time off should be arranged in advance with the approval of the employee’s supervisor. Vacation time is tracked and paid out at termination of employment. Accrued time will appear on the paycheck of non-exempt employees. Exempt employees, along with their supervisors, are responsible for the tracking of vacation time.
Exempt Staff Leave Accruals Forms
4.5 days are available at the start of each fiscal year. These days may be used for personal, religious, or government holidays that are not observed as regular College Holidays. Floating Holidays do not roll over to subsequent years and are forfeited if unused. Use of Floating Holidays should be arranged in advance. They are not paid out at termination of employment.
Time equal to two workdays per year is available for personal emergencies or scheduled business such as a mortgage closing that cannot be conducted during regular business hours. If the reason is not an emergency, the employee should give the reason and advance notice for the use of excused time to his or her supervisor. Excused days are not carried over and are not paid out at termination.
Family and Medical Leave Act
The Family and Medical leave Act (FMLA) entitles eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave in a 12 month period for specified family and medical reasons. The National Defense Authorization Act of 2008 (NDAA) provides up to 26 weeks of combined FMLA leave in a 12 month period to care for specified service members, and up to 12 weeks to attend to a qualified exigency. Please use this link for detailed information on FMLA rights and responsibilities. Effective 11-1-2018, Amherst College will be contracting with Prudential to provide claim review and case management services for the College's absence programs. Prudential will help assist Amherst College employees in obtaining both the initial and ongoing documentation needed to support a Family Medical Leave, Extended Family Leave or Military Duty absences, as well as utilizing clinical resources/expertise to manage these submissions on Amherst College's behalf. The partnership with Prudential will help to streamline the employee experience.
- Prudential's Telephonic Absence Process: First, report your absence for leave to your Supervisor/Chair and then contact Prudential directly at 877-FOR-PRU1 (877-367-7781)
Sick/Family Care Leave Days
Each fiscal year each employee receives one day of sick/family care leave for each month worked in that fiscal year. Sick/family care leave days may be used for the employee’s illness, ill family member, birth or adoption of a child, or to supplement Short Term Disability (STD). For this policy, "family member" includes a spouse/same-sex domestic partner, child, parent or other family members for whom the employee is the primary caregiver. Medical/family leave days may accumulate to 130 days with no replenishment (if used, they must be re-accrued). They may accrue, with carryover to following years, to a total of 130 days. The use of sick/family care leave days should be arranged in advance when possible for FMLA tracking. The balance of any unused sick/family care leave days is not paid out at termination.
Massachusetts Family and Medical Leave Benefit
In 2018, Massachusetts signed into law a statute that provides paid family and medical leave (PFML) benefits to all employees. The PFML benefits are not scheduled to start until January 1, 2021, and will provide all eligible employees, including casual employees, with up to 20 weeks of paid medical leave and 12 weeks of paid family leave. The new benefit will be funded by a Massachusetts wage tax that is shared by the College along with all Faculty and Staff, but the College has the option to file for an exemption by providing family and medical leave benefits that are as generous as the new PFML provision.
We are pleased to announce that the College has filed and received approval for an exemption and we will enhance our current Family and Leave benefits to match the new state provisions. The College will also absorb the cost of the new MA wage tax! The new Family and Medical leave benefits will go into effect on January 1, 2021.
Massachusetts Earned Sick Time
The Massachusetts Earned Sick Leave program affords up to 40 hours of paid earned sick leave that can be used for a number of reasons. The current Sick/Family Care leave program for regular employees provides accrual rates that exceed those provided under the Massachusetts policy. Please review the provisions of the Medical/Family Care leave program for details.
Short Term Disability (STD)
After one year of service working a minimum of 20 hours per week, employees are eligible for paid time off due to the employee’s own disability. Short term disability pay begins after a two-week waiting period at the following schedule:
|Length of Service
||Percentage of Pay
|1 — 3 years
|4 — 6 years
|7 — 9 years
Amherst College contracted with Prudential to provide claim review and case management services for the College's Short Term Disability program. Prudential will help assist claimants in obtaining both the initial and ongoing medical documentation needed to support a Short Term Disability claim, as well as utilizing clinical resources/expertise to manage Short Term Disability submissions on Amherst College's behalf. The partnership with Prudential helps to streamline the employee claim experience.
- Prudential's Telephonic Short Term Disability Process: First, report your absence for disability to your Supervisor/Chair, then call 877-FOR-PRU1 (877-367-7781)
There is no accumulation of short term disability pay as the time is paid according to the schedule. Proper medical certification must accompany the request for use of STD. Payments continue until the staff member is: no longer disabled, eligible for long term disability benefits, and/or has been unable to work for six months. Health, dental and long term disability insurance continue as if the employee was receiving 100% pay but contributions to retirement and Social Security are based on actual pay. If the employee is released to return to reduced hour work, the STD will be offset by actual wages. Reserve bank (available only to staff and administrators employed before July 1, 2001) and medical/family leave days may be used to supplement wages if receiving less than full pay.
Extended Family Leave
After one consecutive year of employment, four weeks at 100% pay are available after a two-week waiting period. One extended family leave may be taken within a rolling calendar year. Extended family leave may be used when the employee is needed to provide care as the primary caregiver for more than 10 consecutive workdays. It may be used for the care of a newborn child, adoption, or serious illness of a family member. Family member includes spouse/domestic partner as defined by the College’s policies, child, parent or other family members for whom the employee is the primary caregiver. When a spouse and partner are both employed by the College, combined paid leave under this policy will not exceed 4 weeks for any one reason. If one partner for any one reason has met the two-week wait, the second partner does not need to serve the waiting period.
Effective 11-1-2018, Amherst College will be contracting with Prudential to provide claim review and case management services for the College's absence programs. Prudential will help assist Amherst College employees in obtaining both the initial and ongoing documentation needed to support a Family Medical Leave, Extended Family Leave or Military Duty absences, as well as utilizing clinical resources/expertise to manage these submissions on Amherst College's behalf. The partnership with Prudential will help to streamline the employee experience.
- Prudential's Telephonic Absence Process: First, report your absence for leave to your Supervisor/Chair, then call 877-FOR-PRU1 (877-367-7781)
Regular full-time, and part-time staff and faculty, are eligible to receive reimbursement for tuition, certificate programs, registration and lab fees for approved courses, which are either job-related or non-job-related, but directly related to future career opportunities at the College. The maximum reimbursement per fiscal year is $3,000 after one year of continuous employment for job-related courses, or certificate programs, and 50% of the costs to a maximum of $1,500, for non-job-related courses after three years of continuous employment.
Upon prior approval, an advance payment of 75% of eligible course costs is available. Courses for credit may be taken at Amherst College after one year of continuous employment. Total reimbursements for all courses and programs may not exceed $3,000 per fiscal year.
For more information about the program, please visit the following links:
After the full time equivalent of five years of continuous regular status employment, an employee's dependent child may receive up to $12,500 (effective 7-01-2019) per fiscal year of tuition cost for full-time, matriculated, undergraduate study at a two or four-year institution. The benefit is payable in equal installments for each semester, based on the semester structure of the institution. No more than $6,250 may be paid in a semester (less if the school has more than a two semester structure.) The benefit is also extended for attendance at accredited programs of training in a recognized occupation such as vocational or culinary schools. Employees with a full-time or part-time, regular appointment are eligible with the benefit being prorated for less than full-time appointment, based on the schedule in effect at the time of the semester's grant application. Additional details on this benefit.
Employee Assistance Program
New Directions (formally E4Health) is a comprehensive resource available to the Amherst College community to help and support you with life services for everyday living. Some of the resources and services available include:
- Family and Caregiving - Parenting, Prenatal/Fertility, Adoption, and Eldercare Services
- Daily Living - Legal, Financial, and Convenience Consultations and Referrals
- Emotional Well-Being - Addiction and Substance Abuse, Mental Health and Stress Support
- Health and Wellness - Referrals to Gyms, Holistic Health Resources and Support groups
Members of the Amherst College community can access these services at any time, either through the New Directions website or by calling the toll-free phone number, (800) 624-5544. Accessing and using these services is confidential.
Medical family leave days can be used by an employee for EAP appointments.
E4Health has become New Directions
The prior username, now called ‘company code’ remains the same: Amherst College, and there is no longer a need for a password.
The URL: helloe4.com will automatically redirect users to the new URL; eap.ndbh.com for at least a year, if not longer.
There is also an update phone number, 800-624-5544. We are excited to have one phone number for all services. Again the old numbers will automatically redirect callers for at least a year.
Death in Service Benefit
In case of death of a regular employee, in addition to TIAA-CREF Retirement benefits, if applicable, and life insurance benefits, the College will give to his or her spouse or partner, or if none, his or her dependent(s), a sum equal to one month's pay, if the deceased was employed by the College for less than five years; three months' pay, if employed between five and ten years; and six months' pay, if employed ten years or longer. Only time in regular employment at the College will be counted towards this benefit
Caring for your family while you are at work can often be a challenge. Whether it's after-school care, tuitors, caring for a child who is home ill or the responsibility for aging parents, sometimes you need additional support, even at a moment's notice. We know that life can be unpredictable, so to help alleviate life’s unexpected challenges, we have added a new benefit to support a productive work-life balance for all faculty and staff.
Care.com is a family care service that can help you find caregivers for your whole family, including your child, parents/grandparents and/or pet.
Amherst College covers the monthly membership fee for all benefits eligible staff and faculty. The membership provides access to a search database of providers for their family care needs, including care for children, tutoring, elderly adults and pets.
New Enhancements to Care.com - Effective September 1, 2020
- Up to 10 days of back-up child care per fiscal year when back-up and short notice care is required, such as the illness of your caregiver, stay at home spouse/partner, child, or when your current child care center is closed. This benefit should not be used as a replacement for routine child care arrangements.
- Back-up Childcare includes tutors
- The College will subsidize a portion of the back-up care and the employee will pay a small portion of the cost: $6.00 per hour for in-home care or tutoring, and $15 per day at an in-center location, if applicable, for caregivers within the care.com network.
- Employees can submit for personal care outside of care.com network. Employees are eligible to receive reimbursement of up to $125 per day after either a $15 co-pay at a facility or $6.00 per hour co-pay for in-home care or tutoring. For example, if an employee has a neighbor or friend watch or tutor their child, they can submit the receipt and receive up to $125 (minus the co-pay). Care.com also has a receipt template to help expedite the process for those situations when a caregiver doesn't have a receipt or the option to produce one.
Expert Assistance/Concierge Services
- This enhancement to our current membership includes direct support from Care.com specialists to help employees find child care, tutoring, pet care and other services.
- Employees will submit a request and complete a needs assessment. Care.com specialists will prescreen caregivers and conduct initial interviews. Staff and faculty save time in the pre-screening process and speak with a final selection of candidates. The final candidate chosen by the employee receives a background check before providing the service.
Here is some additional information about this benefit and ways you can take advantage of it:
Who is eligible for Care.com?
- All benefit eligible faculty and staff are eligible for the Care.com benefit.
What services are offered through Care.com?
- Self Service search for care needs: access to a search database of providers for your family care needs including care for an elderly adult, child, home, pet or tutoring.
How do I sign up for the Care.com benefit?
- To activate your benefit, go to amherstcollege.care.com and select “Enroll Now” or call 855.781.1303.
- You must enter your Amherst employee ID number to validate your employment. Care.com uses the seven-digit College ID number -- the number on your ID card without the two leading zeroes.
Is there a cost to use the Care.com benefit?
- There is no cost to find care providers on the self-service site. Once you hire a caregiver, the cost of care should be discussed with your caregiver.
Is there a limit to the number of times I can use the Care.com benefit
- There is no limit to the number of times you can use the self-service website
What will occur if I have a current Care.com account outside of Amherst College
- Visit amherstcollege.care.com
- Click “Enroll Now”
- When asked if you are new to care.com? Click “No”
- The prompts will ask you to enter in your credentials for your current account and may ask additional questions to validate as an employee
- Need help? Dial our member care team at 855-781-1303
How do I learn more about the Care.com benefit?
Who do I contact if I have questions about Care.com?
- If you have questions about this benefit, please contact Care.com at 855.781.1303.
BenefitHub is available to all Amherst College Staff and Faculty!
BenefitHub is a reward portal that allows for discounted pricing on merchandise. Computers, cars and movie tickets are just a few of the many services that can be purchased through this platform.
You can also receive preferred pricing through Nationwide Pet Insurance, which includes fixed premiums and no age limits or age based premium increases.
GET STARTED NOW:
- Go to: Amherst.benefithub.com
- Enter Referral Code: J2AUOK
- Complete Registration
You can also review the BenefitHub video for more information: https://benefithub.wistia.com/medias/mo6lxk95m5