NYU New York

Below are official updates from the Benefits Office related to certain NYU New York benefits due to COVID-19. Plan and program changes are emerging and subject to change. You may not be eligible for all benefits below; please consult your Benefits Guide or NYU PeopleLink if you have questions regarding your benefits or eligibility.

COVID-19 Vaccine

Posted December 17, 2020. NYU COVID-19 Prevention and Response Team statement added on December 23, 2020. Updated January 12, 2021.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized two COVID-19 vaccines for emergency use. These vaccines were developed to protect you from COVID-19 and require two doses.

Several trials from multiple companies are continuing with promising results. It is also helpful to know that the FDA has a review process for safety and effectiveness that it completes before it will authorize vaccines for emergency use by the general public. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is your best resource for the latest information on COVID-19 vaccines.

  • FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines are covered by UnitedHealthcare at $0 cost-share (copayments, deductibles and co-insurance) during the national public health emergency period. What to know about COVID-19 vaccines.

Agencies Provide COVID-Related Extensions for Certain Benefit Plan Deadlines

Posted June 3, 2020.

On April 28, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor issued guidance that extends numerous deadlines that apply to group health plans and participants in those plans (“Extension Guidance”). Highlights of the Extension Guidance:

All benefit plan deadlines that are identified in the Extension Guidance are effectively tolled during the “Outbreak Period” defined in the guidance. The Outbreak Period starts March 1, 2020, and ends 60 days after the announced end of the COVID-19 National Emergency, or such other date announced by the agencies. For example, if the National Emergency ends on May 25, 2020, the Outbreak Period will end on July 24, 2020. The deadline extensions vary based on the actions taken. Benefit Plan deadlines for the following plan actions are impacted by the Extension Guidance:

Special Enrollment Rights
Employees have until 30 days following the end of the Outbreak Period to request special enrollment in the NYU group health plan for themselves or their eligible dependents if:

  • Employee or the employee’s dependent loses eligibility under another group health plan or health insurance coverage (including Medicaid or CHIP)
  • Employee or the employee’s dependent was covered under COBRA and the COBRA period is exhausted, or
  • Employee obtains a dependent through marriage/domestic partnership, birth, adoption or placement for adoption

You will receive information from the Plan’s COBRA administrator or its health plan or disability plan administrator, as applicable, about deadline extensions for the following events:


  • Electing COBRA coverage
  • Making COBRA payments
  • Notifying the plan of a COBRA-qualifying event or a determination of Social Security disability for COBRA purposes

Claims Procedures

  • Filing a benefit claim or an appeal of an adverse benefit determination under the plan’s claims and appeals procedures

External Reviews

  • Requesting an external review of an adverse benefit determination or final internal adverse benefit determination under a medical plan
  • Filing information to perfect a request for external review

UHC Medical Plan Co-Pays for COVID-19 Testing and Virtual Visits

Posted March 18, 2020 for participants in UnitedHealthcare (UHC) medical plans. Updated December 21, 2020 to reflect the testing waiver deadline extension.

Co-Pays for COVID-19 Testing Waived: If you meet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for testing and you have a prescription from a doctor, your co-pay for the cost of testing will be waived until the end of the national health emergency period. The IRS has issued relief that allows High Deductible Health Plans to cover COVID-19 testing without member cost sharing, without jeopardizing eligibility for a Health Savings Account. Therefore, this cost share waiver applies to all NYU UHC medical plans.

Co-Pays for COVID-19 Serological Antibody Testing Waived: If you have a prescription from a physician for an FDA-approved antibody test, your cost share for the testing will be waived until the end of the national health emergency period.

Co-Pays for Virtual Visits Waived Through January 20, 2021: NYU will waive co-pays for COVID-related virtual visits through Amwell, Doctors on Demand, Teladoc (PDF), and NYU Langone virtual urgent care (PDF) through January 21, 2021 for participants in the UHC HMO Plan and the UHC Value, Advantage, and Choice Plus Plans.

Participants in the UHC High Deductible Health Plan will receive a waiver of co-insurance for COVID-related virtual visits through Amwell, Doctors on Demand, Teladoc (PDF), and NYU Langone virtual urgent care (PDF) through January 20, 2021.

Aetna International Resources

Posted March 24, 2020 for faculty and employees on international assignment with Aetna International coverage. Added summary with updated FAQs on December 21, 2020.

View Aetna International's summary of COVID-19 resources and FAQs (PDF).

Outside of the U.S., members have access to Aetna International's Employee Assistance Program by calling the number on the back of your member ID card. You can also connect via iConnectYou (PDF), which provides access to clinical counselors at any time for personalized, telephonic counseling support for stress and anxiety. Download the app, enter your country code, and you will be able to connect via toll-free local phone numbers, video, online chat, or SMS. Review the member guide (PDF) to learn your country code information.

Aetna International is providing free access to myStrength, our highly interactive, personalized tool that helps address depression, anxiety, stress, and more:

  • Personalized daily activities to support your mental health
  • Inspiration and encouragement from our community of users
  • Progress check-ins and wellness assessments to see how you’re doing
  • Advice from leading clinicians to help improve your emotional health

Article: Coping with anxiety around COVID-19 (PDF)

HealthEquity WageWorks Commuter Benefit

Emailed and posted March 19, 2020 for plan participants.

Transit Pass Elections: The various transit agencies HealthEquity WageWorks partners with have differing refund policies and requirements which they can help you navigate or you may contact your transit agency directly. Plan participants are advised to modify future orders accordingly on http://www.wageworks.com while working remotely so that any recurring orders are cancelled as needed. If you have any questions, please contact member services at 866-735-8195.

Reminder: The fourth of each month is the deadline to make changes for the following benefit month.

FSA, HSA CARES Act Provisions

Emailed and posted on April 20, 2020 to Flexible Spending Account (FSA) and Health Savings Account (HSA) participants. Updated on December 21, 2020 to reflect extended claims submission deadlines.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act recently signed into law provides for the expansion of eligible expenses for reimbursement from FSAs and HSAs to include:

  • Over-the-counter (OTC) drugs and medicines without a doctor’s prescription purchased on or after January 1, 2020
  • Menstrual care products purchased on or after January 1, 2020

Debit Card Purchases

  • WageWorks FSA: Menstrual care items will be programed in the WageWorks system for debit card purchases by May 15, 2020. In the interim, plan participants may need to submit manual claims with receipts to HealthEquity WageWorks for reimbursement.
  • Optum HSA: You may use your HSA debit card as you normally would for the purchase of OTC or menstrual products as no claim reimbursement process is required. Please retain copies of your receipts for tax purposes.
Reminder: Update your Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account election in the Benefits Resource Center if there is a qualifying event such as a change in childcare provider or cost of coverage. The updated election must be consistent with the change.
2019 Health Care and Dependent Care FSAs Claims Submission Deadline Extension
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, NYU will extend the previously communicated December 31, 2020 claims submission deadline for the 2019 Health Care FSA and Dependent Care FSA plans. The new 2019 FSA claims submission deadline will be March 1, 2021 (unless further extended by law). Notwithstanding this extension, we encourage 2019 FSA plan participants with plan balances to submit claims to HealthEquity WageWorks as soon as possible to ensure timely reimbursement.

Vision Service Plan

Posted May 4, 2020 for participants in the Vision Service Plan (VSP). Updated December 22, 2020 with deadline extension and updated flyer.

Effective through June 30, 2021, VSP has expanded access (PDF) to medical eye care services for members and their covered dependents, who have access to supplemental medical eye care for the detection, treatment, and management of ocular and visual conditions including conjunctivitis, eye trauma, or sudden changes in vision.

Employee Assistance Program, UHC, MetLife, Local Support

Posted March 18, 2020 for eligible faculty and employees. Updated March 25, 2020 with April webinars. Updated March 26, 2020 with new UnitedHealthcare (UHC) mental health support for all faculty and employees. Updated June 15, 2020 with new MetLife emotional support for U.S. faculty and employees. Updated August 17, 2020 with additional support in the tri-state area. Updated October 8, 2020 with Optum contact information and resources.

Optum, the free, confidential, professional link to guidance and counseling, is available and at your service as NYU's employee assistance program benefit. Call 888-980-8740 to consult with a board-certified counselor at any time. In addition, dedicated Coronavirus resources provided by Optum are available.

Additional Support from UHC:
Additionally, UHC now offers supplemental support services for those who have been affected by Coronavirus. Regardless of your current medical plan provider, UHC is extending a free emotional support helpline (866-342-6892) so that all impacted faculty and employees may speak with trained mental health specialists at any time. The specialists can help you manage stress and anxiety so you may continue to address everyday needs. Callers may also receive referrals to community resources to address specific concerns, including financial and legal matters.
Additional Support from MetLife:
MetLife has extended the LifeWorks crisis support helpline (877-757-7587) to U.S. faculty and employees and their families. Available 24 hours a day, you can receive professional emotional support and referrals to community resources.
Additional Support in the Tri-State Area:

TIAA One-on-One Phone or Online Financial Consultations

Posted March 18, 2020 for eligible faculty and employees. Resources flyers added June 16, 2020.

Although all in-person sessions of the one-on-one financial planning consultations with the financial experts of TIAA are cancelled, personalized consultations by phone or virtually continue at this time. Arrange a telephone meeting as you normally would schedule an in-person meeting by visiting https://tiaa.org/schedulenow; the confirmed meeting will then be converted to a phone meeting. Or, learn how to schedule a video conference session (PDF). Additional resources provided by TIAA include:

Bright Horizons Back-Up Care

Posted March 18, 2020 for eligible full-time faculty, administrators, and professional research staff.

Bright Horizons is continuing to add to their in-home back-up care network of providers and arrange quality care options within Bright Horizons centers as well as dedicated back-up care centers. Schedule back-up care through Bright Horizons (username: NYU / password: Benefits4You).