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Frequently Asked Questions about Open Enrollment

Benefits Open Enrollment is the time of year that all benefits-eligible faculty and staff have an opportunity to evaluate their health care needs for the upcoming plan year (July 1 - June 30). 

  • Staff, fixed term faculty, medical faculty & post-doctoral research fellows:  You can make appropriate changes to your medical/prescription, dental, vision (if eligible), Flexible Spending Account (FSA), Health Savings Account (HSA), employee and dependent life/AD&D insurance, and short-term disability (if eligible). 
  • Regular faculty: You can make appropriate changes to your dental, vision, Flexible Spending Account (FSA), Health Savings Account (HSA), employee and dependent life/AD&D insurance and short-term disability.  Note: Open enrollment for the MESSA medical/prescription is held in the fall with elections effective Jan. 1.

Additionally, you may add or remove eligible dependents from coverage as appropriate and verify your beneficiaries are up to date.  You will be required to provide proof of eligibility for any new dependents you enroll in coverage.  Examples of proof documents can be found here.  Employees with dependents requiring verification will be contacted by BMI Audit Services.

Open Enrollment begins Monday, April 15, 2024, and ends on Friday, April 26 at 5:00 p.m. EST.  Coverage and employee premium cost share are effective July 1, 2024.

You can log into CMU Choices to access your current year benefit elections.  

All changes are made through the CMU Choices online enrollment system.  You can access CMU Choices on CentralLink using your global ID and password on any computer with internet access.

*Google Chrome is the preferred browser to use

CMU Choices

Medical/Rx (for Staff, Fixed-Term Faculty, Medical Faculty and Postdoctoral Research Fellows):

  • Employee contributions, plan deductibles, and out-of-pocket maximums
  • Both seasonal and non-seasonal vaccines will be covered through CVS Caremark when received at a participating pharmacy

Health Care FSA:

  • Maximum contribution will increase to $3,200
  • Rollover limit will increase to $640

Life & Disability:

  • Unum will now administer Life & Disability benefits
  • Special opportunity this Open Enrolment only! Evidence of insurability (EOI) is NOT required for:
    • New elections or increases for Short Term Disability coverage
    • New elections or increases for Life Insurance coverage, up to the guaranteed issue amounts

YESif you wish to re-elect a Health Savings Account (HSA) or a Flexible
Spending Account (FSA), either Health Care FSA or Dependent Care FSA.

For all other benefits your current elections will automatically be re-enrolled in
the same plan and coverage level. Covered dependents will continue with
coverage, if still eligible. No coverage elections will remain no coverage.

Remember: This is the once per year opportunity
to add/remove dependents or change plan elections if you wish. Be sure to
review all your options before open enrollment ends!

Legally, the terms of University's benefit plans prohibit them from making exceptions for those employees who do not make benefit elections within the allotted time. 

BE PREPARED. The open enrollment process relies on you, the employee, to take action.

Health care options can be very confusing and understanding them is important. 

Health Advocate is here to help you take control over how you spend your health care dollars.  You can contact a Health Advocate expert about your enrollment questions by:

  • Phone: (866) 799-2691
  • Email:
  • Web:

Advocates are available to talk to you Monday - Friday, 8am to 10pm

ALEX is also a virtual decision tool that helps you find the best plan by analyzing data you provide to predict your medical costs and risks.  Be sure to check out ALEX!

The CMU open enrollment website is another option to review coverage comparison grids, presentations, and other helpful information.

Yes. You may add or remove eligible dependents during open enrollment.  The effective date of any change is July 1, 2024.  Please review dependent eligibility criteria prior to adding a new dependent.

You will be required to provide proof of eligibility for any new dependents you enroll in coverage.  Examples of proof documents can be found here. Employees with dependents requiring verification will be contacted by BMI Audit Services.

Important Reminder:  The Working Spouse/Other Eligible Individual Rule applies to staff, fixed term faculty, medical faculty and post-doctoral research fellows.

Working Spouse/OEI Rule

Dependent children are eligible for coverage through the end of the calendar year they turn age 26.  CMU Benefits & Wellness office will automatically end medical/prescription, dental, and/or vision (based on enrollment) at 11:59pm on December 31.  Your children will be eligible to elect COBRA continuation coverage. 

Yes.  All new employees hired after April 1st must enroll in benefits twice: once during their 30 day new hire window and once during the annual open enrollment period.

Follow these simple steps to make your elections:

  • Access the CMU Choices online enrollment system
  • Make your New Hire benefit elections under Current Year (if not already completed)
    • You can enter and exit the enrollment system as many times as needed up to your new hire enrollment deadline (30 calendar days from date of hire).  At that point, your elections are binding for the remainder of the plan year (June 30).
    • When you have completed your New Hire elections, review your Current Year Summary for accuracy and keep a copy for your records.
    • End Session

  • Return to CMU Choices and make your Open Enrollment elections under Next Year

NO.  The Open Enrollment period deadline is Friday, April 26, 2024 at 5:00 p.m. EST, so all elections must be made by then.  CMU Choices is available on any computer or mobile device with internet access.

Paid LOA:

Yes, you are required to complete the CMU Choices online enrollment process if you wish to enroll in, make changes to, or cancel any coverage; the same as an active employee would.

Unpaid LOA:

There is a status change opportunity upon your return to work if you wish to make changes.

Being covered by more than one medical or dental plan may or may not be advantageous.  CMU's plans DO NOT offer additional coverage if the benefits paid by a primary plan are equal to or higher than the amount the CMU plan would have paid.  If you are currently enrolled in both CMU and an alternative plan (e.g. your spouse/OEI's medical plan), the CMU plan is considered primary for yourself and will pay benefits first.  You (or the health care provider) can then submit amounts not paid by CMU's plan to your alternate plan for possible additional payments.  For your spouse/OEI, their coverage will be primary, and CMU's plan is their secondary.  You should understand both CMU's and your alternative plan's coordination of benefits rules to see if it will pay additional benefits.

Yes.  If you are enrolled in the BCBS Advantage or Advantage Plus HDHP, or the MESSA ABC/Rx HDHP, you can prospectively start, stop, or change your HSA contribution amount at any time during the plan year.  To request a change to your HSA outside of the open enrollment period, submit an online HSA Change Form

Note: Benefit deductions for academic-year faculty members are withheld from the August 31 through May 15 paychecks, including HSA contributions.

Yes, but only until 5:00pm EST on Friday, April 26, 2024.

If you make additional changes, be sure to print/save a new copy of your summary.


  • Employees enrolling for the first time will receive new ID cards before the start of the plan year (July 1)
    • Those enrolling in a HDHP (such as Advantage or Advantage Plus) for the first time will also receive an HSA debit card.


  • When there is a plan design change to the deductible or out-of-pocket maximum, employees will also receive new medical cards with the updated information printed on the card before the start of the plan year.



  • Employees enrolling for the first time will receive new ID cards before the start of the plan year (July 1). An ID card is not required to use Guardian dental benefits, however. Employees can simply provide their dental office with the Group ID number (00560625) or provide a copy of the CMU group dental plan reference card.


  • An ID card is not required for members to receive vision services or care. Simply contact a VSP provider to schedule an appointment and tell them you're a VSP member, the provider and VSP handle the rest. If you wish to have an ID card, you may use the CMU group vision plan reference card.

Flexible Spending Account

  • Employees enrolling for the first time will receive a new benefits debit card from WEX prior to the start of the plan year (July 1)


You should contact the customer service phone number or login to your portal of the insurance carrier directly.  CMU does not have the ability to order cards on your behalf.  You may use this Vendor Contact Information reference to find appropriate contact information.

A qualifying event that allows someone to make benefit changes outside of the open enrollment period include life events such as marriage, birth or adoption of a child, divorce, dependent gaining employment, etc.  Please refer to the the Status Change Events webpage for more information. 

If you experience a Qualifying Status Change Event during the plan year, you must submit a Status Change Request Form to the Benefits & Wellness Office within 30 calendar days of the qualifying event and provide supporting documentation.  Otherwise, changes will need to wait until the next open enrollment period.