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The Empire Plan is a unique health insurance plan designed especially for public employees in New York State. Empire Plan benefits include inpatient and outpatient hospital coverage, medical/surgical coverage, Centers of Excellence for transplants, infertility and cancer, home care services, equipment and supplies, mental health and substance abuse coverage and prescription drug coverage.

New York State of Opportunity

Acting Commissioner


TO: New York State Health Benefits Administrators
FROM: Employee Benefits Division
SUBJECT: October 2019 Empire Plan Special Reports for UCS-COBANC and PIA
DATE: November 7, 2019

The October 2019 Empire Plan Special Reports for UCS-COBANC and PIA are now available online and will soon be mailed to enrollee homes and agencies. These publications describe 2020 Empire Plan benefit changes as a result of collective bargaining agreements between the Unified Court System (UCS) and the Court Officers Benevolent Association of Nassau County (COBANC) and the State and the Police Investigators Association (PIA). These publications apply only to nonjudicial employees represented by COBANC of the Unified Court System and to employees in the BCI Unit of the New York State Police represented by PIA.

Since these changes are effective January 1, 2020, health insurance option changes may be made during the regular Option Transfer Period, which will be announced when rates are approved. Refer to HBA memo NY 19-29 for additional information about the 2020 Option Transfer Period.

The mailings also include updated 2020 copayment cards and the Reporting On Mental Health and Substance Abuse Program publication, the newest addition in the Reporting On series. The publication describes the benefits of choosing mental health and substance use care from a network provider or at a network facility. See HBA memo NY 19-33 for additional information about this publication.

The October 2019 Empire Plan Special Reports for UCS-COBANC and PIA include:
Copayment changes, 2020 formulary change, out-of-network deductible and coinsurance amounts and infertility benefits.

The copayment cards for UCS (CT0177) and PIA (NY1303) include:
New Empire Plan copayments for each group as a result of negotiated changes effective January 1, 2020.

These publications will begin to mail to enrollees’ homes in late October. The mail file was pulled  from NYBEAS on October 21, 2019, so any enrollee who was not on the file on that date should be provided with a copy. We will send you two copies of each publication, and Reporting On Mental Health and Substance Abuse Program will be shipped separately.

Publications Available on NYSHIP Online:
You can also access the Reports online under Using Your Benefits from the NYSHIP Online home page.

Ordering Publications
You may order additional copies of the Reports, Reporting On Mental Health and Substance Abuse Program and copayment cards on HBA Online under Publications & Forms. Please do not order copies until you have received your shipment.

If you need help accessing HBA Online, contact the ITS Service Desk at 844-891-1786, or via chat at If you are unsure of how to order publications or have questions about this distribution, please call the EBD Communications Unit at 518-457-7577.