‘Modest’ rate bump expected on health benefits; enrollment set May 11-29


Open enrollment for benefits will be extended to May 11 to 29 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, John Kozar, assistant vice chancellor for University benefits, said in the April 7 Senate Benefits and Welfare committee meeting.

In his  report to the committee, Kozar said the University will not have benefit fairs because of social distancing guidelines. However, plans for webinars about benefits are in the works, he said.

The benefits themselves haven’t changed, Kozar said, and the Pitt community can expect “a modest bump” in their rates. Dental and vision benefits and life insurance rates will remain the same.

Retirement plan changes under CARES

Additionally, with the passing of the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act, Pitt faculty and staff will see changes to their defined retirement contribution plans, Kozar said.

If someone faces hardships because of the pandemic, a loan up to $100,000 or 100 percent of the vested account balance can be taken out of their retirement savings account and not incur a penalty within 180 days of enactment of the CARES Act on March 27, 2020. The previous limit was $50,000 or 50 percent of vested account balances.

Also, Pitt faculty and staff under the age of 59 and a half who meet the hardship criteria can take distributions of up to $100,000 across qualified retirement plans, including the University’s 403(b) Plan and 457(b) Plan and IRAs through Dec. 31, 2020, without incurring a 10 percent penalty. Distributions will be subject to taxation, and you will have the option to pay taxes due over a three-year period.

For more information on retirement account changes, including suspension of the required minimum distribution, go to the Human Resources website.

Donovan Harrell is a writer for the University Times. Reach him at dharrell@pitt.edu or 412-383-9905.


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