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April 9, 2020

Dear faculty and staff colleagues,

The University has provided many support mechanisms to enable online learning, telecommuting and pay continuity provisions for staff, and social distancing for those required to report to work.  The government recently enacted legislation to provide support to employees who are impacted by COVID-19, either directly or through an eligible family member.  The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law on March 27, 2020. The CARES Act provides more flexibility for 403(b) distributions and repayments and waives certain medical costs related to COVID-19 as outlined below.

Retirement – 403(b) Plans

The distributions and loan extensions described below are available to 403 (b) plan participants if they, their spouses, or their dependents have been diagnosed with COVID-19 by a test approved by the CDC, or if they experience adverse financial consequences as a result of COVID-19 including:

  • being quarantined, furloughed, laid off, or having work hours reduced
  • being unable to work due to lack of childcare
  • closing or reduced hours of a business owned or operated by an individual who has COVID-19

Coronavirus-related 403(b) distribution

  • Eligible participants may take an early distribution on vested account balances up to a maximum of $100,000 during the 2020 calendar year. The distribution will not be subject to the 10 percent early distribution tax that would otherwise apply to withdrawals taken by employees under the age of 59 ½. The distributions will be taxed over a three-year period and participants may repay the distribution during that time without regard to contribution limits, or portions thereof, within three years to lower or fully remove the taxability of the distribution.

Delay in 403(b) loan repayments

  • The CARES Act provides a one-year extension for any 403(b) loan payment due between now and December 31, 2020, for eligible participants.

Temporary waiver of 403(b) minimum distribution requirement

  • The required minimum distributions (RMDs) from most retirement plans and IRAs in the 2020 calendar year are waived.

For questions of eligibility or for additional details, please contact Fidelity at 1-800-642-7131 or visit NetBenefits

Note: The CARES Act does not apply to the Employees' Retirement Plan (ERP) defined benefit plan. Participants in the ERP will continue to receive any required minimum distributions scheduled for payment in 2020.

Medical and prescriptions plans

No-cost COVID-19 testing

Medical plans must cover the cost of COVID-19 testing without member cost sharing. The UM-Aetna plan is waiving all member copays, coinsurance, and deductibles associated with COVID-19 testing in any approved laboratory consistent with the CDC guidelines for testing

In addition to the provisions established under the CARES Act, the University’s medical and prescription plans are providing additional benefits for COVID-19, as outlined below:

No-cost telemedicine

Through June 30, 2020, UM-Aetna member copays and deductibles will be waived for all telemedicine visits. We encourage you to use telemedicine as your first line of defense in limiting potential exposure to the virus in physicians’ offices and hospitals. UHealth’s 24/7  MyCareConnection telemedicine is available for free by using your email address and the code  Cane2020 on the checkout screen.

Advance Rx refill

OptumRx is temporarily allowing refills for most medications to be filled before the 30- and 90-day refill due date. In addition, members with 90-day prescriptions may receive their Rx via home delivery and save half a month’s copay by contacting Optum at 1-855-438-4509 or visit

Additional Resources

There are a host of additional resources on mental health, Short-Term Disability (STD), and free legal assistance that our Total Rewards team has partnered with various vendors to provide during this time. For more information click here

Please visit the UM Total Rewards page for updates, resources, and additional information as it becomes available.

Thank you.


Mary Harper Hagan

Vice President

Human Resources