Human Resources
Finance & Administration

Changes to 2020 Flexible Benefits Due to COVID-19 Pandemic

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In response to the COVID-19 pandemic numerous government agencies have worked together to create flexibility and relaxed guidelines affecting employer-based benefits. Some of these changes impact Lehigh’s benefits for Faculty and Staff. In addition, Lehigh has made some temporary changes to benefits. This page will be updated as federal regulations change or are expanded.

Medical Plans
  • Please click on this link to read about relaxed mid year changes to healthcare elections 

  • As part of the CARES Act the cost for testing/diagnosis of COVID-19 in most cases is covered when performed at a participating provider 

  • Telemedicine: Member share is waived for visits through the Capital Blue Cross Virtual Care app through October 23, 2020.

Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA)
  • Health Care FSA (HCFSA): Run-out period has been extended to 12/31/2020.  If you missed the 2019 deadline to submit claims to your Healthcare FSA you may still submit claims incurred in 2019.

  • Dependent Care FSA (DCFSA): Run-out period has been extended to 12/31/2020.  If you missed the deadline to submit claims incurred in 2019 to your Dependent Care FSA you may submit these claims through 12/31/2020

  • HCFSA: Additional flexibility in eligible expenses.  You can submit expenses incurred in 2020 for certain medications purchased over the counter without a doctor’s prescription and for menstrual care products.

  • DCFSA: You have increased flexibility to reduce, temporarily cease, or restart contributions to a Dependent Care FSA due to changing day care needs

  • HCFSA: You have increased flexibility to enroll in, change contributions (increase or decrease) or terminate participation in a Health care FSA with certain limitations. 

  • Please click this link for additional information

Lehigh University Retirement Plan

President Simon’s email, "University Actions in Response to COVID-19,  dated June 1, 2020 stated:

The University will temporarily suspend both the automatic and matching University contributions to the University’s retirement plan. Faculty and staff may still continue their individual contributions. While we don’t make this decision lightly, the impact on our operating budget is substantial, and this action obviates the necessity for other significant reductions elsewhere. This benefit is one of several factors that helps us reward, support and retain the talent that is integral to our mission, and it is a priority to reinstate this benefit as soon as the financial situation allows.

All University base and matching contributions have been suspended effective July 1, 2020.  This suspension does not affect employees of Ben Franklin Technologies and Manufacturers Resource Center.


The CARES Act signed into law on March 27, 2020 contains provisions that also impact the Lehigh University Retirement Plan.

  • Penalties and withholding are waived for qualified distributions from retirement plan accounts

  • Retirement plan loan limits have been increased and payment periods have been extended

  • Optional suspension of required minimum distributions (RMDs) for 2020

  • Please click here for more information


Tuition Remission Benefits

Tuition remission for courses at Lehigh will include tuition for online courses in the Fall 2020 semester, however, the employee/spouse will be responsible for any additional fees associated with an online course.