Dear Colleagues –

I’m writing with COVID19-related updates regarding two MBL benefits—TIAA Retirement Plans and Blue Cross Blue Shield Medical Plans.

As you are likely aware, last month Congress passed a stimulus package called the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act to help Americans during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Listed below are some of the key highlights that affect the MBL 403(b) Tax Deferred Retirement Plan under CARES Act. Please note, these do not apply to the MBL’s Employer Defined Contribution Retirement Plan.

Retirement plan withdrawals expanded with penalties waived
The CARES Act waives the 10% early withdrawal penalty and 20% withholding for coronavirus related distributions. Distributions will be subject to taxation and you will have the option to pay taxes due over a three-year period.  The Act also allows you to recontribute within three years regardless of that year’s contribution limit.  This will make it easier for you to replace the amount of your distribution in your retirement account.

Retirement plan loan limits increased
If you qualify based on coronavirus-related eligibility below, maximum loan limits are increase from $50,000 or 50% of account balances to $100,000 or 100% the account balance. If you have existing retirement plan loan payments, you may be able to defer payments for one year.

Who is eligible?

You are considered eligible to take distributions/loans if any of the below conditions are met:

  • You have been diagnosed with COVID-19 by a test approved from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • You have a spouse or dependent who has been diagnosed with COVID-19
  • You suffer financial consequences as a result of quarantine, employment furlough, layoffs, reduced work hours or cannot work due to lack of childcare as a result of coronavirus
  • You experience a financial loss to an individually owned or operated business that is caused by a closing or reduction of hours due to coronavirus
  • Other factors as determined by the Secretary of the Treasury or his delegate

For more information, visit the TIAA website or call Customer Service call 800-842-2252. For a free session with a TIAA Financial Consultant call 800-732-8353. Information will also be posted in the Coronavirus Resources for Employees Intranet page.

Blue Cross Blue Shield

Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) has taken the following steps to expedite access to care for the duration of the Massachusetts COVID-19 public health emergency.

  • BCBS is waiving copayments for all outpatient, medically necessary COVID-19 testing, counseling, supportive care, and treatment, including supportive care at doctor’s offices, urgent care centers, and emergency departments.
  • BCBS will also waive the cost share for COVID-19 related inpatient care at both in-network and out-of-network acute care facilities.
  • BCBS has waived copayment for medical and behavioral health covered services via phone or video.  With Telehealth, all BCBS members can talk with a doctor from the comfort of home. Download the Well Connection App, or visit for more information.
  • BCBS 24/7 nurse hotline 1-888-247-2583 is available free to all members and offers a safe and convenient clinical resource for minor ailments or questions.
  • BCBS is allowing early prescription refills by lifting limits on refills of prescription medication, allowing members to obtain one additional fill of the existing prescription.  BCBS also has a mail order program 
  • BCBS will also cover Dental virtual consultations, by phone or video, between Dental Blue members and their participating dental providers with no member cost share (copayment, coinsurance deductible).

Additional Resources
Commonwealth of Massachusetts COVID-19 Online Symptom Tracker
BCBS Coronavirus Help Line: 1-888-372-1970
BCBS Coronavirus Resources Center

For specific questions, concerns, or clarifications regarding these changes to your benefits, please contact the Human Resources team at

Ann Egan
Director, Human Resources