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Open Enrollment Frequently Asked Questions

Open Enrollment
How do I decide which health care plan is best for me?

You have many resources available to prepare for Open Enrollment, as listed below.


Attend an Open Enrollment Information Session.

Due to the pandemic we are not able to hold our usual onsite vendor benefit fairs. Please check the Open enrollment site frequently for updates on dates and times for vendor meetings. 

Open Enrollment Guide

Download the Open Enrollment Guide here.

Pre-Enrollment Hotline

Cigna has set up a special phone number just for University of Richmond employees during this transition. Call 1-888-806-5042 to speak with a knowledgeable enrollment specialist about the Cigna plans, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

When calling the hotline, please follow the steps below:

1. Call 1-888-806-5042.

2. When asked if calling about medical or dental insurance, select "Medical" or press 1.

4. You will then be transferred to an enrollment specialist.

Which benefit plans may I change during Open Enrollment?

You are able to add, terminate, or make changes to your medical, dental, and vision coverage; flexible spending accounts (FSAs) and healthcare spending accounts (HSAs); legal plan; and Voluntary Life, Accident, and Hospital Insurance policies during Open Enrollment. This will be your only opportunity to make changes until the next annual open enrollment, unless you experience a qualifying event (marriage, birth, adoption of a child, etc.) during the plan year and provide notice to Human Resources within 31 days. The only exception is you may cancel your Legal Resources plan during the plan year as long as you have been enrolled for at least 12 months.

Why can't we make changes to these plans at any time during the year?

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulates plans that allow pre-tax contributions for benefits. In exchange for this tax advantage, the IRS permits you to make changes to your coverage only during open enrollment or when you experience certain qualifying events (marriage, birth, adoption of a child, etc.) and notify Human Resources within 31 days of the event.

How can I view my current benefit elections?

To view your current 2021 benefits, visit BannerWeb. To make your 2022 elections, log into Benefit Express.

What if I make an open enrollment election and then decide that another choice would be better?

Just log back into the Benefit Express portal and make your change! You will not be able to make changes after November 12 unless you experience a qualifying status change during the year.

Will I receive notice that my elections have been received?

Yes, you will receive an email confirmation that you have completed Open Enrollment. You can also print your confirmation statement in the Benefit Express portal.

What's the difference between a deductible, a copayment, and coinsurance?

All three are medical charges you must pay out of your own pocket, even if you have insurance.

A deductible is a fixed dollar amount that the covered employee must pay out of pocket each calendar year before the plan will begin reimbursing for non-preventative health expenses. Plans usually require separate limits per person and per family.

A copayment is the fixed dollar amount that the covered employee pays for medical services. The $25 for a primary care doctor visit is an example of a copay.

A coinsurance is a percentage of a health care cost that the covered employee pays after meeting their deductible. For example, employees in the traditional plan must pay 30 percent in coinsurance (30 percent of the cost of the procedure) after meeting the $1,000 deductible.

If I do nothing this year during Open Enrollment will my benefits roll over to 2022?

You must log into the Benefit Express portal during the enrollment period to review and confirm your elections. Reviewing and confirming your Basic Life Insurance benefit beneficiaries and, if applicable, your Voluntary Life Insurance beneficiaries is mandatory this year.

My spouse and I both work for the University of Richmond. How should we cover each other and/or our dependent child/ren under the plans?

It will depend on your situation and number of dependents. Check the insurance rates page and compare the cost of the "Employee/Family" option versus each employee covering a child with the "Employee/Child" option. If each employee has a separate High Deductible Health plans you can only have one Health Savings Account (HSA) for the family. 

Do I need to submit verification for my dependents if I don't cover them on medical, dental and or vision?

Yes, if you want your dependent to be eligible for other benefits like, tuition remission, summer camps, Weinstein Center, or University sponsored events like Employee Day at the basketball game, complete the dependent verification form and the appropriate documentation and send to

Do I need to provide documentation if adding a dependent to my medical, vision or dental plan?

If you are adding a dependent, not previously verified, to a medical, vision, or dental insurance plan during open enrollment, documentation proving eligibility is required. Enrollment in the insurance plans will not be processed without required documentation. Please submit the appropriate documentation in the Benefit Express portal.

Medical Insurance
What is the difference between an embedded and non-embedded plan?

These terms refer to the accumulation method for your health plan. The accumulation method is important if you cover anyone other than yourself.

  • An embedded plan means that after each eligible family member meets his or her individual deductible and individual out of pocket maximum, covered expenses for that family member will be paid based on the coinsurance level specified by the plan. Or, after the family deductible has been met, covered expenses for each eligible family member will be paid based on the coinsurance level specificed by the plan.
  • A non-embedded plan means that all eligible family members contribute towards the family plan deductible and out of pocket maximum. The family deductible and family out of pocket maximum must be met before the plan will pay each eligible family member's covered expenses based on the coinsurance level specified by the plan.
Health Savings Accounts
What is a Health Savings Account and how does it benefit me?

A health savings account (HSA) is a tax-exempt account established for the purpose of paying or reimbursing qualified medical expenses for an individual, spouse, or family.

To be eligible to open an HSA, you must first choose a HSA-qualified high deductible health plan (HDHP).

An HSA provides triple tax savings. Funds are deposited on a pre-tax or tax-deductible basis, earnings grow tax free, and withdrawals for qualified medical expenses are tax free.

HSA funds roll over from year-to-year and you may use or keep your funds depending on your financial needs.

You must be:

  • Covered under a qualified high deductible health plan (HDHP) on the first day of the month

You must not be:

  • Covered by any other health plan, including your spouse’s health insurance
  • Covered by your own or your spouse’s medical flexible spending account (FSA)
  • Enrolled in any part of Medicare or Tricare
  • Receiving veteran’s health benefits now or in the past 90 days for a non-service connected disability
  • Claimed as a dependent on another person’s tax return

Learn more about Health Savings Accounts.

Can I participate in a medical flexible spending account and a Health Savings Account if I am participating in the High Deductible Health Plan?

No, federal regulations stipulate that you cannot be covered by your own or your spouse’s medical flexible spending account (FSA) and open a Health Savings Account. You may enroll in the dependent care flexible spending account and have a Health Saving Account.

Learn more about flexible spending and health savings accounts.

Are there advantages to enrolling in a high-deductible health plan versus a traditional health plan?

In many cases, yes. But it depends on your expected medical expense. The most significant and potentially longest lasting benefit is the ability to participate in the Health Saving Account. With an HSA:

  • You are vested immediately.
  • Your money, including University contributions, is portable.
  • It's your account and you can build it over time.
  • There is no “use it or lose it” provision.
  • You can invest your funds in mutual funds.
  • Money in the account will pass on to your spouse or beneficiary.
  • You can save money on premiums. 

The traditional plan also has separate out-of-pocket (OOP) maximums  for medical and pharmacy. In the high deductible plans, the individual OOP max is combined for medical and pharmacy.

Learn more about health saving accounts.

Am I eligible for an HSA account?

Employees enrolled in the High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) are eligible as long as they are NOT:

  • Enrolled in Medicare Part A and/or Part B (NOTE: HSA funds can be used once enrolled in Medicare for qualifying expenses not covered by Medicare.)
  • Covered by another medical insurance plan.
  • Enrolled in TriCare, or have had VA benefits in the last 90 days for non-service related injury or disease.
  • Eligible to be claimed as a dependent on another’s tax return (does not apply to joint filing).
  • Have a spouse/partner enrolled in a medical Flexible Spending Account (FSA).
If I am enrolled in Medicare Part A and/or Part B, am I eligible for an HSA account?

No, employees enrolled in Medicare Part A and/or Part B are NOT eligible to contribute to an HSA. (NOTE: HSA funds can be used once enrolled in Medicare for qualifying expenses not covered by Medicare.)

How do I enroll in an HSA for the first time?

To enroll in an HSA for the first time, you must complete your enrollment in the Benefit Express portal.

Once HSA Administrators receives your application, they may request further information from you to set up your account. You could be requested to provide two forms of identification, or to login and answer questions to complete your enrollment. If you receive an email from HSA Administrators please work with them to provide the information required in a timely manner otherwise you may not be able to open your account. If you do not have an active account the University will not be able to make a contribution.

Learn more.

If my spouse has an FSA, can I have/contribute to an HSA?

Under IRS regulations, if your spouse has an FSA, you may not contribute to or open an HSA. If you already have an HSA when your spouse opens an FSA, you must stop contributing to your HSA, but you may continue to use your available funds.

Flexible Spending Accounts
What are Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs)?

FSAs are accounts you fund with pre-tax money withheld from your paycheck to pay for eligible health and dependent care expenses that are not reimbursed from any other source. The University offers two accounts: the health care flexible spending account and the dependent care reimbursement account.

I currently participate in an FSA and want to continue my contribution amounts next year. Do I need to make open enrollment elections?

Yes, if you would like to continue your FSA nexty year, you must re-enroll through the Benefit Express portal.

How do the deductions come out of my paycheck?

The deductions come out on a pre-tax basis distributed evenly among your paychecks. You are not able to change your contribution after Open Enrollment unless you experience certain qualifying events (marriage, birth, adoption of a child, etc.) and notify Human Resources within 31 days of the event.

How do I get reimbursed for my out of pocket expenses?

You can file a request for reimbursement of your eligible out-of-pocket cost or use the new debit card for medical expenses.

Please visit for a guide to allowable expenses.

What happens when I terminate employment?

If you terminate employment during the plan year, the FSA card will be turned off at that time. Only expenses incurred while you are an active participant will be considered reimbursable. Learn more about FSAs.

What is the Flores Benefit Card?

All FSA participants receive a debit card that allows direct access to health care FSA funds for eligible health care expenses. This means no waiting period for reimbursements. When you use your card, available funds are deducted from your health care FSA account to pay for services or supplies. 

Do I have to use my benefits card?

No. Use of the card is optional. You may also pay out of pocket and submit claim forms to be reimbursed.

What do I do if my card is lost or stolen?

Contact customer service at 1-800-532-3327.

Voluntary Life Insurance
Can I enroll in or increase my Voluntary Life Insurance coverage without completing an application?

You must complete a life insurance application during Open Enrollment in the Benefit Express portal. The University will not charge you for the additional coverage until you have been approved through Cigna.

Why do I have to confirm my life insurance beneficiaries?

This year, we have introduced the new Benefit Express portal. Due to the change, all employees must add and confirm their beneficiaries for their Basic Life Insurance benefit and, if applicable, their Voluntary Life Insurance policy.

Spousal Surcharge
Is the spousal surcharge pre-tax?

The surcharge is considered a premium so is treated like your “regular” medical deductions (before income taxes).

Does the spousal surcharge apply to retirees and COBRA participants?

Yes, the spousal surcharge applies to spouses of retirees who are on the active plan, as well as participants on the COBRA plan.

I currently cover my spouse on UR's plan because they were laid off from their job. They were offered COBRA coverage when they were laid off. Does that count as an employer sponsored medical plan and will I have to pay the surcharge?

No, you would not have to pay the surcharge in this situation. The University does not consider your spouse being offered COBRA coverage through their employer as active health insurance plan.

If my spouse is a veteran do I have to pay the surcharge?

If your spouse has medical benefits available from the military you will need to pay the surcharge as long as your spouse is on the University’s plan. 

What if my spouse's Open Enrollment period is at a different time of year?

If your spouse's open enrollment occurs at a different time of the year and your spouse chose not to enroll in their employer coverage, they may contact their employer and request to enroll in their employer’s medical plan due to our Open Enrollment. Open enrollment for you or your spouse is considered a reason to make a mid‐year change of status.

Legal Resources
How do I sign up for a Legal Resources plan?

You may enroll in a Legal Resources plan during Open Enrollment in the Benefit Express portal.