HR, Payroll and Benefits News

Individual & Family Life Insurance Enrollees can Increase Coverage, September 30 - October 25, 2019

If you are enrolled in the Individual & Family Life Insurance plan as of September 30, 2019, you may increase your coverage during the Annual Increase Option (AIO) period from September 30 - October 25, 2019. Coverage increases are effective January 1, 2020 with new premiums deducted from December earnings.

Making the Decision to Increase Your Coverage
To review your current coverage and your 2020 premiums if you decide to increase your coverage, use the personalized Individual & Family Annual Increase calculator:

You may increase your current coverage during the AIO period by the following amounts:

  • Employee coverage: $5,000; $10,000; $15,000 or $20,000
  • Spouse/Domestic Partner coverage: $5,000 or $10,000
  • Child(ren) coverage: $2,500

As you consider increasing your coverage, note the 2020 maximum coverage levels:

  • Employee coverage: $300,000
  • Spouse/Domestic Partner coverage: $150,000
  • Child(ren) coverage: $25,000

Reminder: Spouse/Domestic Partner or Child(ren) life insurance coverage may not exceed your total (employee amount) coverage.

Application Information and Deadline
To increase your coverage during the AIO period, submit your election via Self Service:

  1. Log into the MyUW portal for UW System institutions or for UW-Madison.
  2. Go to the 'Benefit Information' module.
  3. Click on the 'Enroll' link.

You will receive a Confirmation Statement via email after you have submitted your election.

All elections to increase coverage must be submitted online or received by your human resources office by 4:30 p.m. on October 25, 2019. If you mail your Annual Increase Option Form, it must be received by October 25, 2019. For more information: Individual & Family Life insurance.

Decreasing or Canceling Coverage
If you decide to decrease or cancel your coverage, you must complete the Individual & Family Life Insurance application. You may decrease or cancel coverage any time during the year. Coverage decreases or cancellations are effective the first of the month following the receipt of the application.

Visit the Annual Benefits Enrollment website for more information about the Individual & Family Life Insurance plan and other benefits enrollment opportunities available this year. If you have questions, please contact your human resources office.

Source: UW System Human Resources

Annual Benefits Enrollment: September 30 - October 25, 2019

The Annual Benefits Enrollment (ABE) period, September 30 - October 25, 2019, is your annual opportunity to make changes to most of your benefits unless you have an eligible life event (family status or employment change) during the year. Watch for emails in September and October regarding benefits changes, premiums and your enrollment opportunities. Changes made during ABE are effective January 1, 2020.

Benefit Plan Changes Effective January 1, 2020
The main benefits changes for 2020 are listed below. Visit the Annual Benefits Enrollment website for more information. These changes may impact your coverage and action may be required. It is important to understand the changes so you can make informed decisions.

    • Preventive Dental Insurance (new plan)
    • Accident Insurance (new plan)
    • Vendor Change (TASC to ConnectYourCare)
    • Security Health Plan (no longer available)

Preventive Dental Insurance
Currently, preventive dental services are only offered under the State Group Health Insurance Plan with Uniform Dental. For 2020, a standalone Preventive Dental Insurance Plan through Delta Dental will be available to employees who either waive the State Group Health Insurance Plan or choose the State Group Health Insurance Opt-Out Incentive. This means all benefits eligible employees will have access to preventive dental services in 2020.

Note: The Supplemental Dental Plans will continue to be available in 2020. These plans provide coverage for major services such as crowns and implants.

Accident Insurance
In 2020, an Accident Insurance Plan will be available to eligible employees. The plan provides a cash payment directly to you in the event of an accident. Covered accidents may include injuries, emergency care, hospital care, surgery and an accidental death & dismemberment* benefit. The cash payment amount differs based on the severity of the accident. You may use the cash for anything you’d like to help provide some financial protection when the unexpected happens.

*The Accident Insurance Plan includes an accidental death & dismemberment benefit. You may enroll in both, the Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D) Plan and the new Accident Insurance Plan.

Vendor Change (TASC to ConnectYourCare)
The Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs), Dependent Day Care Account and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) will be administered by ConnectYourCare (CYC). TASC will no longer be the administrator as of December 31, 2019.

How Will the Vendor Change Affect Current Participants?
Communications to current participants started in August of 2019 to explain the transition from TASC to CYC. Additionally, the 2020 Vendor Change page is updated to keep current participants informed of communications, key dates and who to contact with questions.

Note: Employees currently enrolled in an FSA and/or HSA that want to participate in 2020 are required to re-enroll during the ABE period, September 30 - October 25, 2019.

Security Health Plan (no longer available)
Security Health Plan–Central and Security Health Plan–Valley will no longer be available effective January 1, 2020. Employees should use the Health Plan Search to find a health insurance carrier that has doctors, clinics and/or hospitals in the county you would like to seek services in.

How You Can Prepare Now for ABE:

  1. Review your current benefits and visit the ABE website for 2020 benefits changes.
  2. ALEX, the interactive benefits decision tool is available. Use ALEX to help you determine which benefits plans may best suit your needs.
  3. Attend a campus benefits fair to meet with health plan representatives and other benefits vendors. For a list of fairs throughout the UW System: UW System Benefits Fair.
  4. Plan ahead if you currently participate in a plan that requires re-enrollment each year to continue participation. Plans include:
    • Flexible Spending Account (FSA) including Health Care FSA, Limited Purpose FSA, Dependent Day Care FSA
    • Health Savings Account (HSA) requires that you enroll every year you are enrolled in a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP)
    • State Group Health Insurance Opt-Out Incentive

For questions, contact your human resources office.

Source: UW System Human Resources

ALEX can help with Benefits Decisions during Annual Benefits Enrollment, September 30 - October 25, 2019

The 2020 version of ALEX is now available!

ALEX is an interactive benefits decision tool that can help you learn about UW System benefit plans and options. ALEX can assist you in making decisions during Annual Benefits Enrollment (ABE), September 30 – October 25, 2019. The benefit plan elections made during ABE will be effective January 1, 2020.

The 2020 version of ALEX is similar to the 2019 version. Additionally, it includes the new benefits plans for 2020:

  • Preventive Dental Insurance Plan
  • Accident Insurance Plan

The 2020 version of ALEX also includes a separate module for Wellness Resources which has information on the Well Wisconsin Incentive.

Note: Although the Income Continuation Insurance and Life Insurance modules appear in the 2020 version of ALEX, these plans do not allow for an enrollment opportunity during ABE (except with evidence of insurability for some plans).

Visit the ABE website to find a link to ALEX and other important information about the upcoming ABE period.

Source: UW System Human Resources

Which Health Insurance Plan is Right for You?

During the Annual Benefits Enrollment (ABE) period (September 30 - October 25, 2019), you will have an opportunity to select your health insurance plan for coverage effective January 1, 2020. It is important to select the plan design and health insurance carrier that best fits the needs of you and your family. To help you prepare for ABE, this article highlights what is the same and what is different between High-Deductible Health Plans and Non-HDHP health plans.

What is the same for the HDHP and the Non-HDHP Health Plans?

  • In-network preventive services are covered at 100%.
  • Coverage for federally required preventive drugs at 100%.
  • Both have a deductible (this is the amount you pay before the plan pays).
  • In-network coinsurance is 10% (this is the amount you pay for specific services; the plan pays the remaining 90%).
  • In-network providers will provide lower out-of-pocket expenses than out-of-network providers.
  • Both allow participation in the Well Wisconsin program to earn $150 wellness incentive.
  • Both provide an opportunity to enroll in Uniform Dental Benefits.
  • Both offer out-of-network coverage through the Access HDHP and Access Non-HDHP Health Plans. Due to out-of-network coverage, Access plans are more expensive.

What is different between the HDHP and the Non-HDHP Health Plans?

  • HDHPs have lower premiums (the amount deducted from your paycheck).
    • Premiums are required regardless of whether you use your health insurance.
  • HDHPs include a Health Savings Account (HSA) to help you prepare for out-of-pocket expenses. An HSA provides three separate tax benefits:
    • Contributions are tax-deductible.
    • HSA assets grow tax-free (through interest or investing).
    • Withdrawals for qualified medical, dental and/or vision expenses are not taxed.
  • HDHPs include an employer contribution to the HSA (up to $750 for single coverage, $1,500 for family) which remains in your HSA until you use it.
  • Non-HDHP Health Plans have a deductible for medical services and a separate deductible for pharmacy benefits; HDHPs have a deductible that includes medical services and pharmacy benefits.
  • Non-HDHP Health Plans have lower deductibles and out-of-pocket limits (the most you pay per calendar year for covered services; includes copayments, deductible and coinsurance).
    • You only pay out-of-pocket costs when you use your health insurance

How prepared are you and your family for expected/unexpected out-of-pocket expenses? 

Review the expenses you have incurred so far in 2019 for health, dental and vision services to help you prepare for 2020. Some of the ways you can save for expected and/or unexpected health, dental and vision out-of-pocket expenses include:

  • With a HDHP you may use the HSA (medical, dental and/or vision expenses) or Limited Purpose FSA (dental, vision and post-medical deductible expenses) to set aside pre-tax earnings to help pay for qualifying out-of-pocket expenses.
  • With a Non-HDHP Health Plan you may set aside earnings in a Health Care Flexible Spending Account (pre-tax) for out-of-pocket expenses.


Source: UW System Human Resources

University Insurance Association (UIA) Life Insurance Annual Premium Deduction

The University Insurance Association (UIA) Life Insurance annual premium of $24.00 will be deducted from October monthly earnings, paid November 1, 2019.

Participation in the UIA Life Insurance plan is a condition of employment for UW System Faculty/Academic Staff/Limited Appointment (FA/AS/LI) employees. Additionally, eligible employees must meet the minimum monthly salary threshold which is $2,734.00 for the 2019-2020 plan year, October 1, 2019 through September 30, 2020. The minimum monthly salary threshold is determined each year and is based on 45% of the average instructor's salary for the previous year.

Once an employee becomes eligible for coverage, eligibility will continue for the full plan year. Employees must re-qualify for eligibility each year.

For more information about the plan, including coverage levels, visit the UW System Employee Benefits website.

Source: UW System Human Resources

Take Action Now: Submit Missing Leave Reports to Avoid Sick Leave Reduction

Faculty, Academic Staff and Limited appointees (who have or had an active leave-eligible appointment) are required to submit a leave report for each appointment, each month, whether or not leave is used.

Failure to submit any leave report(s) will result in a reduction of your sick leave hours.

For the July 1, 2018 - June 30, 2019 fiscal year leave reports were due June 30, 2019. While June 30, 2019 is the preferred submission date, failure to submit all leave for the July 2018 through June 2019 fiscal year by September 30, 2019 will result in a reduction of employee sick leave hours. Even one unsubmitted leave report may reduce an employee’s sick leave balance.

Leave reports may be submitted electronically via the MyUW portal. To check for missing leave reports, follow these steps:

  1. Log into the MyUW portal for UW System institutions or for UW-Madison 
  2. Go to the "Time and Absence" module 
  3. Click on the "Leave Reports" link

Paper leave reports may also be submitted.

Employees with missing leave reports receive monthly email reminders that lists their missing reports.

Visit the Time and Absence Help Pages for assistance with reporting leave. If you have questions or are unable to report your leave at the link above, contact your Institutional Leave Administrator.

To review the sick leave policies, see:

Source: UW System Human Resources

Reminders for Health Care Flexible Spending Account Participants

The Health Care Flexible Spending Account (FSA) and Limited Purpose Health Care FSA allow participants to pay certain out-of-pocket expenses with tax-free dollars. Since these are spending accounts, the money must be spent on eligible expenses. This article is a reminder for participants to use their FSA money and to substantiate claims timely.

Eligible Expenses
Health Care FSA eligible expenses include:

  • Medical
  • Dental
  • Vision

Limited Purpose Health Care FSA eligible expenses include:

  • Medical (post-deductible only)
  • Dental
  • Vision

How to Pay for Eligible Expenses
Once eligible expenses have been incurred, determine how to pay for them. In most situations, the Health Care FSA debit card (from the Health Care FSA administrator, TASC) will work at the point of sale or service. However, there are other options to submit FSA claims manually or to substantiate a claim after the debit card has been used:

Provide Information Timely to Substantiate Claims
For efficient processing, remember to include appropriate IRS required supporting documentation with claim(s) submission. TASC will contact participants directly when additional information is needed to substantiate claim(s).

Review your account at to see if you have claims that require documentation.

Failure to provide documentation to the Health Care FSA administrator (TASC) when requested may require repayment by the employee. Repayment is done by deducting money from the employee's paycheck on an after-tax basis. Claims should be substantiated timely to avoid repayment.

Carry Over Reminder
Up to $500 of unused funds in a Health Care or Limited Purpose FSA will carry over into the following year (even if you do not enroll in the FSA for the following year). Unused funds greater than $500 on March 31 will be forfeited.

FSA Administrator Change
Effective January 1, 2020, the FSA administrator will change from TASC to ConnectYourCare (CYC). Claims incurred January 1 – December 31, 2019 should be submitted to TASC by December 31, 2019. Claims incurred January 1, 2020 and after should be submitted to ConnectYourCare.

For more information on this change see the Flexible Spending Account – 2020 Vendor Change.

For additional resourcesresources: UW System Employee Benefits website.

For questions, contact TASC at (844) 786-3947 or

Source: UW System Human Resources

The Wisconsin Retirement System - A Strong Foundation for Retirement

You may know that as a Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS)-eligible UW System employee, you have been automatically enrolled in the WRS, but maybe you don’t know exactly what that means for you.

It’s important to be adequately prepared for retirement, and the WRS helps ensure UW System employees have a good start towards that goal. Under the WRS, both you and the UW System contribute a percentage of your eligible earnings towards your retirement. The WRS is a strong public pension plan because of its stable funding, unique plan design and robust governance. These factors set the WRS apart from the majority of other public retirement plans in the United States.

How is the WRS designed?
The WRS has the elements of both a defined benefit plan and a defined contribution plan. In WRS terminology:

  • A defined benefit plan is a benefit that is based on your earnings and years of service and is referred to as a formula benefit.
  • A defined contribution plan is a benefit based on the dollar value of your account and is referred to as a money purchase benefit.

Although many of us focus on the dollar value of our account, at retirement time it could be that the formula benefit provides a much higher monthly annuity.

How is the formula benefit calculated?
A formula benefit is calculated using your final average earnings (a monthly average of your three highest years of WRS covered earnings) multiplied by your years of service multiplied by a formula factor. If you retire before normal retirement age (generally 65), your benefits are reduced to compensate for the longer length of time you would be receiving the benefit.

For those working in a WRS-covered position after 1999, the formula multiplier is .016. This means that for every 10 years you work, your WRS annuity will replace roughly 16% of your pre-retirement income. If you work 20 years, 32% of your pre-retirement income will be replaced.

What will your annuity be based on?
Your WRS annuity is based on whatever method - formula or money purchase - gives you the higher monthly payment. But remember, you will receive at least 16% of your final average earnings for every 10 years of work. This information may be helpful when planning for retirement and may help you determine whether you should supplement your WRS benefit by investing with a supplemental retirement plan like the UW Tax-Sheltered Annuity (TSA) 403(b) Program or the Wisconsin Deferred Compensation (WDC) 457 Program.

Considerations for employees who first began WRS employment on or after July 1, 2011:

  • If you leave the UW System (or WRS-covered employment) before you retire but as long as you are vested with five years of creditable WRS service, you can leave your WRS account until you reach retirement age to get the value of both your contributions and the employer contributions.
  • If you leave the UW System (or WRS-covered employment) before you have five years of creditable WRS service, you’ll still get the benefit of your contributions, but you will not be eligible for the value of UW System’s employer contributions. You may want to consider leaving your contributions in the plan if you think you may return to WRS-covered employment in the future.

For information on the WRS and the supplemental retirement savings plans available to you, visit the Retirement Plans page on the UW System Employee Benefits website.

Source: UW System Human Resources

Enroll Today with the UW Tax-Sheltered Annuity (TSA) 403(b) Program

Saving for retirement is important. The Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) provides participants with a strong retirement foundation. Most people will need additional savings to supplement their WRS pension.

You can save for your long-term retirement goals through the UW Tax-Sheltered Annuity (TSA) 403(b) Program - a voluntary supplemental retirement savings plan. An extra savings cushion can help cover major expenses in retirement - like healthcare. It may also provide resources so you can do the things you enjoy, like travel or pursue your favorite hobbies.

Why should you save with the UW TSA 403(b) Program?

  • You can choose to contribute on a pre-tax and/or Roth (after-tax) basis.
  • The TSA Program is flexible - you can start, stop, or change your contribution amount and your investments at any time, as often as you wish.
  • It's automatic - once you sign up, your deferrals continue until you stop them.
  • It's inexpensive - there is no participant fee, and you have access to low-cost institutional share class funds with Fidelity, TIAA, and T. Rowe Price.
  • It's portable - you can take your savings with you if you move to a different employer.
  • It’s easy - you can use EZ enrollment with Fidelity, TIAA, and T. Rowe Price and invest in Target Date funds.

Don’t hesitate. Use EZ Enrollment to sign up, or visit UW TSA 403(b) Program enrollment to find out more about the program and enroll online. Start today to save for tomorrow!

Source: UW System Human Resources

WRS News Online, September 2019

External link:

Employee Assistance Program Webinars

The Employee Assistance Program (EAP), administered by FEI, provides UW employees and members of their household with confidential resources to address personal and/or work-related concerns. EAP services are offered at no cost to employees.

The 2019 Monthly Webinar Series is open for registration. Click here for webinar information and registration.

October 2019 Webinar: Workplace Bullying: What, Who and How

Date and Time: Wednesday, October 16, 2019 - 11:00am to 12:00pm Central Daylight Time

Description: From the playground to the workplace, it seems that every bad behavior is considered bullying. By answering the "What, Who and How" questions that often go along with bullying, we will challenge common misconceptions about bullying behaviors and break related myths.

November 2019 Webinar: Effective Communication and Why You Want It

Date and Time: Wednesday, November 20, 2019 - 11:00am to 12:00pm Central Standard Time

Description: We spend 75% of our time communicating in one way or another, and some even say we're always communicating. Many of the problems we have in both our personal and professional lives are traced back to communication. Join us for an engaging discussion on effective communication and walk away with tips and tools you'll need to become a better communicator.

Webinar Registration: Registration is required. Click here to register. Follow the individual links on each webinar for registration.  Note: Employees must attend a webinar on their own time or consult with their supervisor for approval to attend.

Source: UW System Human Resources

What You Need to Know About Telemedicine

Would you like the ability to seek basic medical care from the comfort of your own home?

If so, the telemedicine services in the State Group Health Insurance Program may allow you to do so. With flu season just around the corner, now may be a good time to learn about telemedicine.

What is telemedicine/telehealth (used interchangeably)?

The remote diagnosis and treatment of patients by means of electronic communication. This means that for non-urgent medical care, you may be able to access care through video chat or a virtual house call. Through telemedicine, a doctor may be able to recommend treatment, prescribe medication, refer you to a specialist or tell you, based on your symptoms, if you should see a doctor in-person.

Note: These services vary among insurance carriers in the State Group Health Insurance Program.

Why should you consider telemedicine services?

You may receive care quicker and it may be more convenient than going to your doctor’s office or to urgent care. They are also typically less expensive than an office visit or urgent care visit.

How will your telemedicine service be covered by your State Group Health Insurance?

This will depend on which plan design you are enrolled in.

  • Health Plan: Telemedicine services are covered at 100%.
  • High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP): Telemedicine services are covered at 100% after you meet your deductible. This is necessary to comply with Health Savings Account (HSA) eligibility requirements as well as coverage mandates per the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

How can you obtain additional information regarding telemedicine services?

Generally, health plans offer telemedicine services through their online portals. If you’re unable to find telemedicine information through your health insurance plans online portal, contact your health insurance plan directly by calling the tollfree number on your health insurance ID card.

Source: UW System Human Resources

Where Do I Find Flu Shot Information?

Are you looking for information regarding the effectiveness of a flu vaccine or flu shot clinics close to home? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website is a great resource for information about the effectiveness and benefits of a flu vaccine.

If you are enrolled in State Group Health Insurance, login to the StayWell portal to locate flu shot clinics near you. Many institutions schedule them onsite between September and December.

Source: UW System Human Resources

ETF Launches New Website

The Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) has launched a new website. ETF is the administrator of the Wisconsin Retirement System program and some of the other benefits programs available to UW System employees.

For more information, see the ETF news article regarding their new website.

Source: UW System Human Resources

Faculty, Academic Staff and Limited Appointees May Bank Unused Vacation for Future Use

Faculty, Academic Staff and Limited Appointees (FAASLI), with a 12-month appointment, are eligible to bank unused vacation after they have completed 10 fiscal years (July 1 through June 30) of employment. The Paid Leave Bank is also refer to as Banked Leave and is formerly known as Annual Leave Reserve Account (ALRA).

Twelve-month FAASLI are allocated vacation on a fiscal year basis. While they can carry unused vacation into the following fiscal year, the vacation must be used by the end of that fiscal year, or it will be lost. The option to bank unused vacation is a way to save vacation for future use.

How Much Vacation Can I Bank?
Twelve-month FAASLI are eligible to bank up to 40 hours of vacation per fiscal year after completing 10 fiscal years of employment, and up to 80 hours of vacation per fiscal year after completing 25 years of employment. The amount of vacation that can be banked is prorated for part-time employees.

There is no limit to the total number of hours (balance) that can be saved in the Paid Leave Bank and the hours do not expire.

When banking unused vacation, first the unused vacation allocation will come from any vacation carryover balance that you might have at the end of the fiscal year (June 30). If you bank more unused vacation than you had as vacation carryover, the additional hours to be banked will come from your vacation balance as of June 30.

When Can I Use The Vacation In My Paid Leave Bank?
With your supervisor's approval, you may use the vacation in your Paid Leave Bank at any time and it can be used in any circumstance in which you are allowed to use paid leave.

What If I Terminate Employment?
If you terminate employment any unused banked leave will be paid to you at your current wage rate.

To View Eligible Paid Leave Bank Hours
If you have a Paid Leave Bank account, you may view your balance by logging in to the MyUW portal for UW System institutions or for UW-Madison. Launch the Time and Absence app and click on the Leave Balances tab.

To review the vacation policies, see:

If you have questions, please contact your human resources office.

Source: UW Service Center

New Summer Leave Reporting Process Implemented June 2, 2019

A new, simplified summer leave reporting process was implemented June 2 for 9-month Faculty, Academic Staff and Limited Appointees (FAASLI) who have a Summer Session or Summer Service position.

Nine-month FAASLI who are employed over the summer months are required to complete monthly summer leave reports even if no leave was taken during this time period. Failure to report leave during the summer will result in a sick leave reduction. Refer to UPS Operational Policy: BN 3 Sick Leave (section 4.G.(3) and (7) for additional information.

To access the new leave reporting process, Log into the MyUW System portal. Launch the Time and Absence app and click on the new tab: Summer Appointment Leave Reporting. Note: All monthly employees will see the new tab even if they do not have a Summer Session or Summer Service position. If an employee without a summer appointment clicks on the new tab, it will simply indicate that no Summer Session/Service found. Twelve month FAASLI should continue to report all of their leave via the Request Absence tab.

Highlights of the simplified summer leave reporting process include:

  • One screen to record either sick leave taken or no leave was taken
  • Elimination of the need to select a specific job for entry purposes
  • Ability to enter summer leave beyond the summer period

Reference the tipsheet, Enter Summer Leave, for instructions on how to enter leave for the summer. If you have questions, contact your Institution Leave Administrator.

Source: UW Service Center