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A Culture of Care

Read Smith’s UPDATED plans as of November 23, 2020,
for the spring 2021 semester.

COVID-19 Benefits

As Smith navigates the growing challenge of COVID-19, a critical priority remains the health and well-being of our employees and their families. Below is information and updates to our benefits as they relate to COVID-19.

Employee Assistance Fund for Critical Needs

The college has created a dedicated Smith College Employee Assistance Fund to support employees and their families with critical needs. All requests will be kept confidential. If you have any questions about the application process, please contact


DISCLAIMER: The following information is not a plan document and subject to change at any time at the discretion of the vendor.

Health Insurance

To facilitate your ability to receive necessary testing for suspected COVID-19 exposure, and until further notice, Smith’s health plans through Harvard Pilgrim will waive cost sharing for:

  • The COVID-19 test
  • Doctors office, urgent care and ER services for COVID-19 testing
  • Telemedicine services
COVID-19 testing* Covered in full (no copays, deductibles, or coinsurance)
COVID-19 treatment* Covered in full (no copays, deductibles, or coinsurance)
All telemedicine services Covered in full (no copays, deductibles, or coinsurance)
Prior authorizations and referrals (where applicable) Not required for COVID-19 testing and treatment

Please note:

  • You can receive initial COVID-19 testing and treatment from out-of-network providers when in-network providers are not available.
  • Cost sharing is also waived for High Deductible Health Plans. 
  • Deductible and coinsurance is waived only for COVID-19 testing and treatments. All other services unrelated to COVID-19 are still subject to the annual deductible.


Smith’s health plans through Harvard Pilgrim will waive cost sharing for all telemedicine services (including behavioral health), in order to limit exposure in doctor’s offices, ER, etc.

Telemedicine services, such as video visits with Doctor On Demand, are available. If you have concerns related to COVID-19, you can check in with a health care provider from home (via smartphone, tablet or computer) to determine whether you need to take further action and to avoid long emergency room waits. Telehealth visits may help limit the spread of the disease. It may also be an option for individuals in self-imposed quarantine to check in with a health care provider.

Doctor On Demand - Urgent Care Virtual Visit

With Doctor on Demand, you can have a virtual doctor visit without leaving home using live video on your smartphone, tablet or computer. Doctor On Demand connects you to a board-certified physician in minutes (availability is more limited during overnight hours) to receive treatment for illnesses or injuries that require immediate attention, but are not life threatening. Download the Doctor on Demand app or visit to get started.

Behavioral Health Care Options Through Harvard Pilgrim

  • Behavioral Health Access Center: Call 888-777-4742 to speak with a licensed care advocate. They answer member calls 24/7 and can direct you to resources, including tele-mental health and virtual care options. 
  • Virtual visits: If you are currently in treatment, speak with your behavioral health provider about having virtual visits either by secure video or telephone. Harvard Pilgrim covers outpatient virtual visits (telemedicine) using HIPAA-compliant platforms.
  • Find a Provider: You can use Harvard Pilgrim’s online provider directory, Find a Provider, to find behavioral health providers who offer virtual visits. Choose your plan, then select “Behavioral Health Providers” under “Search By Provider Type.” Under “Narrow Your Results,” click the arrow on the right for the option to show just those providers that offer virtual visits. Behavioral health virtual visits are also available through Doctor on Demand.
  • United Behavioral Health/Optum’s Public Crisis Line: Call (866) 342-6892. Open 24/7, this is an emotional support helpline that is free of charge and available to anyone.

Online Wellness Classes

Harvard Pilgrim Health Care has created a number of virtual programming options through Living Well at Home with Virtual Wellness Classes. Sessions are hosted via Zoom by live instructors. Past mindfulness sessions can be found on the Mind the Moment YouTube Channel.

Health Insurance Questions

Harvard Pilgrim members with specific questions can call 888-333-4742. TTY: 711

Hours of operation:
  • Monday, Tuesday and Thursday 8 a.m.–6 p.m.
  • Wednesday 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
  • Friday 8 a.m.–5:30 p.m.

Health plan support and clinical coordination: Call 866-750-2068 to speak to a nurse care manager. Available Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m–5 p.m.

NOTE: Given the high telephone call volume experienced by all healthcare offices at this time, we strongly encourage you to email any questions to Harvard Pilgrim’s Member Services team through the secure Member Portal. A confidential reply will be delivered to your secure email inbox in the member portal.

OptumRx - Prescription Drug Benefits

To ensure members have access to the treatments they need in the days and weeks ahead, OptumRx has instituted several measures in response to a multitude of federal and state directives:

  • They have lifted refill-too-soon restrictions, allowing your members taking maintenance medications to obtain early refills of their prescription medications if they have refills remaining on-file at a participating retail or mail-order pharmacy. 
  • Existing prior authorizations that are set to expire on or before May 1, 2020have been extended for an additional 90 days past May 1, 2020.
  • As of the week of March 23, members who utilize Optum Specialty Pharmacy are able to receive a one-time 90-day supply of key chronic specialty medications versus the traditional 30-day supply. 
  • Through OptumRx’s website and via the phone, they are making it easier for members to utilize home delivery.

Flex Spending Accounts


Effective March 27, 2020, Over The Counter (OTC) drugs and medicines are considered eligible expenses in FSA plans. 

With this law, the drugs and medicines will no longer require participants to have a prescription to prove eligibility. In addition to the reinstatement of OTC eligibility, the bill expands the eligible OTC definition to include menstrual care products (i.e. tampons, pads, etc.).

This change is retroactive and effective for expenses incurred on or after January 1, 2020.

Participants who are unable to use their FSA debit cards to purchase the OTC drugs, medicines, or menstrual care products are encouraged to use another form of payment and submit for reimbursement to Benefit Strategies through the online portal, mobile application or a claim form.

Extended Deadline to Submit 2019 FSA Claims

Any employees who elected a healthcare or dependent care flexible spending account (FSA) for the calendar year 2019 now have until June 30, 2020 to submit claims to their FSA for reimbursement. Receipts dated prior to March 1, 2020 are eligible for reimbursement. Employees should log into to submit a receipt. Further questions about 2019 FSA claims should be directed to Benefits Strategies at 888-401-3539.

Temporary Change in FSA Regulations for 2020

The IRS has temporarily changed the regulations for flexible spending accounts for plan year 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This change allows employees to make a change on a prospective basis to a healthcare or dependent care flexible spending account (FSA) without a qualifying event. You can increase, reduce or stop your current FSA election in Workday. Reductions in elections will not be allowed below the amount of any claims already reimbursed or amounts already deducted from payroll. Instructions for completing the task in Workday can be found on the Workday help site. If you have any questions, please email

Dependent Care FSA: Elections for Dependent Care FSAs can be changed when your daycare needs change (ex. daycare center closes). If this applies to you, you can submit your changes through Workday. Please direct all questions related to Dependent Care FSAs to

Delta Dental

Delta Dental has added a COVID-19 Response section to the Delta Dental of Massachusetts website. Information and resources on this page will be updated as the pandemic unfolds.

The American Dental Association, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has asked dentists to postpone elective, non-essential dental procedures and limit treatment of patients to emergency care. Members should not assume that their dentist is unable to treat their critical needs and should continue to call their regular dentist first. If the regular dentist is not able to treat the member, the dentist should be able to refer the member to another dentist in the area that is available for emergency care.

As a guideline, the American Dental Association has described dental emergencies as potentially life threatening and requiring immediate treatment to stop ongoing tissue bleeding or alleviate severe pain or infection.

EyeMed Vision

Should you need glasses or contacts while respecting the call for social distancing, please remember you can use your in-network benefits from home at participating online providers. It is possible to order and glasses will be delivered to your home. Your vision benefits are applied automatically.  Understanding the circumstances, many online providers are offering free expedited shipping and no-cost returns for extra convenience.

If you do choose to visit a provider in person, please call your provider directly to verify amended store hours or closing. You have 24-hour access to provider contact information via the EyeMed Provider Locator. You may also call the Customer Care Center directly at 866-939-3633.

Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

During this unprecedented crisis, you can turn to Smith’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to seek guidance and resources for you and your family. Smith has increased the number of sessions for the remainder of 2020.  See below for details.

Eligibility: Employees and their family and household members are each eligible for services. This has been extended to include casual workers.

We have greatly expanded access to the EAP, a confidential and voluntary counseling referral service, provided free of charge to employees and members of their family/household. Every employee—and every member of their family— is eligible for twelve sessions per topic at no cost; note that there are no limits on topics. The EAP also offers legal and financial consultation and referrals.

To use the benefit, call 800-828-6025 and identify yourself as a Smith employee or household/family member of a Smith employee.

The EAP also offers a comprehensive website, including:

  • 24/7/365 non-clinical chat so you can ask benefit questions or get referrals to people and places that reduce your stress at any time.
  • Webinar center where you can register for live events and revisit past ones on your own time.

Smith receives no information on who uses the EAP service or how it's used. All of your personal information and activity will remain private between you and the EAP.

Retirement Plan

If you are a participant in the Smith College Defined Contribution Retirement Plan, and you qualify for a coronavirus-related distribution or loan, the college wants to make you aware of the options available to you as a result of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. As always, the college recommends that you contact your financial consultant and your tax advisor to review your current situation–along with short- and long-term financial goals–before making any decisions.

Smith College has adopted the following CARES Act provisions for the retirement plan:

Coronavirus-Related Distributions Available Until December 31, 2020

  • Waived the 10% early withdrawal penalty and made the 20% tax withholding optional for coronavirus-related distributions from accounts with Voya, TIAA, and Fidelity; 
  • Distributions are subject to taxes, which are payable over 3 years;
  • You may reinvest the withdrawn funds within 3 years, regardless of contribution limits, to avoid paying taxes;
  • Limited up to $100,000 across all your qualified retirement plans and IRAs;
  • Spousal consent is required if you are married;
  • You must self-certify that you meet at least one of the eligibility requirements (listed below)


  • Limits have been increased to $100,000 or 100% of the vested account balance (to be reduced by the outstanding balance of all other loans taken from the retirement plan);
  • Loans are only available through Voya;
  • Deadline for a loan is September 23, 2020;
  • Having one outstanding loan does not limit the number of CARES Act loans available to you;
  • Spousal consent is required if you are married;
  • You must self-certify that you meet at least one of the eligibility requirements (listed below);
  • Existing loan payments may be deferred for one year, the term of your loan extended by one year, and the delay of the loan repayment will not cause the loan to fail to meet the Internal Revenue Code requirements for the maximum five-year loan term for nonresidential loans or substantially level re-amortized payment schedule. Once repayments recommence, they will be adjusted to reflect the delay, including accrued interest

Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) For Calendar Year 2020

If you already have an RMD payment scheduled for this year, you may cancel your 2020 RMD payments and restart them in 2021.

If you have already started receiving your RMD this year, you have the option to repay it as a rollover. If checks have already been sent, you have 60 days to roll over those funds into a plan that accepts rollovers or into an IRA.

If you have not set up your RMD yet this year, you may wait and set up your RMD for 2021.

Eligibility Requirements

  • You, your spouse or your dependent have been diagnosed with the virus SARS-CoV-2 or with COVID-19 disease by a test approved from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention;
  • You have suffered financial consequences as a result of quarantine, employment furlough, layoffs, reduced work hours, or you cannot work due to a lack of child-care as a result of the coronavirus pandemic;
  • You experienced a financial loss due to closing or the reduction of hours of a business you owned or operated due to such virus or disease;
  • You meet some other circumstance that may be issued in Treasury guidance

Contact Information

Voya: 1-800-584-6001

TIAA: 1-800-842-2776 

Fidelity: 1-800-343-0860

EAP: 1-800-624-5544 or Financial Resources

You may also send questions or set up a phone appointment with Mary Ellen Gordon by email at

Mary Ellen Gordon, CRPC, CIS, CEBS, CFS
Financial Adviser
Voya Financial Advisors, Inc.