CMS – FY2021 Annual Benefit Choice Period, May 1, 2020 – June 1, 2020

Distributed to: Benefits-eligible employees

The FY2021 Benefit Choice period will run from May 1, 2020, through June 1, 2020, with benefit elections effective July 1, 2020. Employees are encouraged to visit the State of Illinois MyBenefits website and review the FY21 Benefit Choice Booklet for detailed information. The NIU HRS website has also been updated as a resource for employees.

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 opt out or opt in to the group insurance program. 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 the information in the FY21 Benefit Choice Booklet, below is a list of changes that may impact you:

  • Introduction of a Consumer Driven Health Plan and Health Savings Account.
  • New benefit offerings with existing plans (Telemedicine, Pharmacy, and Hearing Instruments).
  • Premium contribution increases for all Health and Dental plans.
  • Changes to Health plan designs (copayments, deductibles, out-of-pocket maximums).
  • Increase to the Medical Care Assistant Plan (MCAP) maximum contribution limit.

Online Enrollment Platform

All FY2021 Benefit Choice changes and elections will be processed through the MyBenefits website. Although the MyBenefits website is also accessible via smartphone or tablet, employees without computer access can also contact the MyBenefits Service Center for assistance with processing Benefit Choice changes and elections.

 MyBenefits Service Center

Customer Service toll free number:  1-844-251-1777

TTY/TTD toll free number:  1-844-251-1778

Monday – Friday 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. CST


Employees will have from May 1, 2020, to June 1, 2020, to process their enrollments or make changes. The Benefit Choice event can be accessed multiple times throughout the month and will ultimately be processed at midnight on June 1, 2020. Whatever changes have been entered at that time will be processed.

Any required documentation must be uploaded to the online system by June 10, 2020, to ensure timely transmission to the carriers. However, any documentation received after May 31, 2020, may result in a delay of ID cards. 

State of Illinois Benefit Fairs

The back of the Benefit Choice booklet lists dates and locations for in person Benefit Fairs.  Given the current restrictions on large group gatherings due to COVID-19, these events will not take place in person. The event scheduled at NIU on May 14, 2020 has been canceled. The State of Illinois will be hosting virtual fairs on the following dates as times:

  • May 4, 2020 at 3 p.m.
  • May 6, 2020 at 12 p.m.
  • May 8, 2020 at 10 a.m.
  • May 12, 2020 at 3 p.m.
  • May 14, 2020 at 10 a.m.
  • May 20, 2020 at 12 p.m.
  • May 22, 2020 at 10 a.m.

During these virtual sessions, representatives from the State of Illinois Department of Central Management Services will present information on the changes for the coming year as well as answer general questions from employees.

Please continue to monitor the NIU HRS website for information on how to attend these virtual sessions.  This information will be updated as soon as it is provided by the State of Illinois.

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, 2020 through June 1, 2020.  Employees interested in joining should visit the NIU HRS website for more information and to complete the sick leave bank online enrollment form.

For FY21, 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.

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, 2020.  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 for assistance with Benefit Choice changes and elections. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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.

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