HR, Payroll and Benefits News

Health Savings Account: Why is this the right account for you?

With Annual Benefits Enrollment (ABE) just around the corner, you may be wondering why a Health Savings Account (HSA) is right for you.

Take a look at this ninety second video to help you understand why you should consider an HSA for 2021. Or use ALEX, your personalized benefits counselor, to help you determine why the HSA may be right for you. Remember, you must be enrolled in a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) in order to be enrolled in the HSA. Check your HDHP/HSA eligibility too!

If you’re already enrolled in the HDHP/HSA, this may be an appropriate time to make sure you’re getting the most out of your HSA. Review the series of HSA articles released within the last several months to help you make this determination:

Note: Annual Benefits Enrollment will occur September 28 through October 23, 2020.

Source: UW System Human Resources

Life Insurance Benefits

The UW System offers several life insurance plans to help protect you and your family in the event of death. You may enroll in one or more of the following plans if you are eligible:

  • State Group Life Insurance – Provides coverage of up to five times your eligible earnings. You may also elect up to $20,000 coverage for your spouse and up to $10,000 for dependent child(ren).
  • Individual & Family Life Insurance – Provides coverage of up to $20,000 for you, up to $10,000 for your spouse/domestic partner and up to $5,000 for dependent child(ren). If enrolled, you have an annual opportunity to increase coverage without providing proof of good health. Coverage levels can be increased in $5,000 increments up to $300,000 for employee coverage, $150,000 for spouse/domestic partner coverage and $25,000 for child(ren) coverage.
  • UW Employees Inc. Life Insurance – Provides decreasing term life insurance ranging from $7,000 to $33,000 based on your age. Coverage is not available for family members.
  • University Insurance Association Life Insurance – Provides decreasing life insurance from $3,400 to $101,000 based on your age. Coverage is not available for family members.

See the UW System Life Insurance Comparison chart for more information about who is eligible, the amount of available coverage and additional plan features.

How much life insurance do you need?

Life insurance needs vary based on your unique situation. To estimate the amount of coverage you might need, check out the Life Insurance Needs Calculator.

When can you enroll in coverage?

You may enroll within 30 days from your date of employment or newly benefits-eligible job. This is considered your initial enrollment period. If you do not enroll during your initial enrollment period, you may apply for coverage at any time through evidence of insurability by providing proof of good health (approval is not guaranteed). You may also apply for coverage within 30 days of a qualifying life event. Refer to the Life Events webpage for more details.

How to enroll in coverage.

To enroll or make changes following a qualifying life event, complete the life insurance plan’s paper application and return it to your human resources office within 30 days of the event. To apply for coverage through evidence of insurability, complete the applicable evidence of insurability form and forward it to Securian Financial. The applications and evidence of insurability forms can be found in the Forms & Resources section on each Life Insurance Plan webpage.

No application is required for enrollment in the University Insurance Association Life Insurance. Coverage is a condition of employment (for eligible employees) and you are automatically enrolled in the plan.

How much do I pay for life insurance?

Life insurance premiums vary by plan and depend on your age and the amount of coverage you elect. UW System contributes towards the cost of State Group Life Insurance and you pay the total cost of the premium for any other life insurance plan you may be enrolled in. To review the premiums for each plan, visit the Benefit Premiums webpage.

How do I pay for life insurance?

Most life insurance premiums are deducted from your pay once a month and are for coverage for the upcoming month. See the payroll deduction schedule for more information.

Source: UW System Human Resources

Are You Enrolled In A Health Care Flexible Spending Account (FSA)?

The Health Care Flexible Spending Account (FSA) and the Limited Purpose Health Care FSA provide you with an opportunity to pay certain out-of-pocket expenses with tax-free dollars. Since these are spending accounts, the funds in the accounts are intended to be spent on eligible expenses. This article is a reminder for you to use your FSA funds.

Health Care FSA Eligible Expenses include:

  • Medical
  • Dental
  • Vision

Limited Purpose Health Care FSA Eligible Expenses include:

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

Once you have incurred your eligible expenses, determine how to pay for them. In most situations, your Health Care FSA payment card (from the Health Care FSA administrator, CYC) will suffice at the point of sale or service. However, there are a few options if you need to submit your FSA claims manually or substantiate a claim made using your Health Care payment card:

  • 2020 Mobile App Flyer: Allows you to access your account information wherever you are, 24/7/365. To download, visit the Apple App Store or Android Marketplace and search for "myCYC mobile app."
  • CYC Portal: Follow the instructions on the main page to file your claim.
  • Complete the 2020 FSA Reimbursement Claim Form and submit it with substantiation to:
    • Mail: CYC Claims Department, PO Box 622317, Orlando, FL 32862-2317
    • Fax: (443) 681-4602

For efficient processing, remember to include the appropriate IRS required supporting documentation with your claim(s) submission. If CYC needs more information to substantiate your claim(s), CYC will contact you directly.

Carry Over Reminder: Up to $550 of unused funds in your 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 $550 on March 31 will be forfeited. Note: A change in the carryover amount from $500 to $550 was approved by the Group Insurance Board effective January 1, 2021.

For questions, contact CYC at 1-833-881-8158 or
Additional resources may also be found on the UW System Employee Benefits website.

Source: UW System Human Resources

Benefits Resources during COVID-19

Many UW System employees and their families are working through change to their daily routines due to COVID-19. Watch these brief videos to help you understand why this change is necessary:

If you are covered by the State Group Health Insurance Program, you may have questions on if or how your doctor’s visit will be covered if you or a covered dependent shows symptoms of COVID-19. To answer your questions regarding testing, telehealth, biometric screening cancellations and more, visit the Department of Employee Trust Fund’s (ETF) COVID-19 webpage. ETF’s webpage includes information about using telehealth and nurse line services as an alternative to an office visit.

We realize that the current situation may cause stress and worry for you and your family. Our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available to UW System employees, their spouses or significant others, and their dependents. Services available may include a consultation on legal or financial concerns or help with how to handle an unexpected day care situation (e.g., child day care or adult/elder care). Visit the EAP webpage to determine how to contact the EAP provided at your institution.

For additional information see: Benefits during the COVID-19 Pandemic. This document provides a summary of benefit plan changes you may be able to make during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as links to valuable pandemic-related resources.

Source: UW System Human Resources

What is an Explanation of Benefits (EOB)?

An Explanation of Benefits (EOB) is a statement that provides details about your health and dental insurance claim(s). An EOB is created by your insurance carrier to show you how much services cost, what portion of your claim was paid by insurance, any amount(s) “written off” as a discount for obtaining services within an approved network of providers and the amount that is your responsibility to pay. Your EOB will also show how much of your deductible and out-of-pocket has been met for the calendar year.

Review the following samples for what to expect on an EOB:

When should I expect an EOB?

You should expect an EOB every time you visit your doctor or dentist. It’s important that you show your health or dental insurance ID card at each visit. It may take a few weeks for your doctor or dentist to send your claim to your insurance carrier. It typically then takes a few weeks for your insurance carrier to process your claim(s) and send you your EOB.

Do I need to submit payment to my doctor’s office or dentist’s office when I receive my EOB?

No. You should not submit payment when you receive an EOB. An EOB is not a bill. Your doctor or dentist will send you an invoice after they have receive payment from your insurance.

What should I do with my EOB?

Review your EOB upon receipt for accuracy and save it in a secure place as it contains personal health information. Additionally, EOBs may be used as follows:

  • If you are enrolled in a Health Savings Account (HSA), your EOB is an ideal document to:
    • Estimate how much to contribute to your HSA from your paycheck. Since an HSA is a component of your High Deductible Health Plan, it is important to be financially prepared to pay 100% of most services* before you meet your deductible. If unforeseen circumstances arise, you may increase or decrease your HSA contribution at any time.
      * Preventive and telehealth services are covered at 100% by your insurance even if you have not met your deductible.
  • If you are enrolled in a Flexible Spending Account (FSA), a copy your EOB is an ideal document to use to:
    • Substantiate your claims. An EOB may be submitted to the FSA administrator to show the money is being used for eligible expenses per IRS regulations.
    • Estimate how much to put into your FSA on an annual basis. Since the FSA is a “use it or lose it” account** it’s important that what you put into your FSA, you plan to use.
      **The Health Care FSA allows for up to $550 to carryover from 2020 to 2021.

How do I access my EOBs?

You may access your EOBs by logging into your account online. The website information is provided on your health or dental insurance ID card.

Who should I call with questions regarding my EOBs?

You should contact your health or dental insurance plan carrier if you have questions regarding the information on your EOBs. Contact information may be found on your EOBs and on your insurance ID card(s).

Source: UW System Human Resources

Changes: Flexible Spending Accounts and Dependent Day Care Accounts

Mid-Year Changes

Typically, outside of Annual Benefits Enrollment, the IRS requires a qualifying life event (e.g. marriage, birth of a child, etc.) to make a change to Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) and Dependent Day Care Accounts.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Group Insurance Board has approved the flexibility granted by the IRS to allow a mid-year change to either of these accounts without a qualifying life event.

From July 1, 2020 until August 31, 2020, if you are currently enrolled in a FSA and/or Dependent Day Care Account, you have a one-time opportunity to increase or decrease your annual contribution.

    • Increases: Allowed up to the maximum of $2,700 for health care FSA and $5,000 for dependent day care. The increased amount may be used for any eligible expense(s) incurred in 2020, even those that occurred prior to your new election.
    • Decreases: You may only decrease your annual contribution amount to no less than what you have already contributed or spent year-to-date, whichever is greater.

Any change made is effective the first of the month following receipt of your change request form.

Increased Healthcare FSA Carryover

Additionally, the Group Insurance Board approved a $50 increase to the amount you may carryover for healthcare FSA effective January 1, 2021. You may carryover up to $550 from the 2020 plan year to the 2021 plan year. No action is necessary on your part to take advantage of the increased healthcare FSA carryover amount.

How to Make a Mid-Year Change

To make a change to your FSA and/or Dependent Day Care Account, complete an Election Change Request Form. On the form, in step 3, check “COVID-19” as the reason for your change. Then, submit the form by September 1, 2020 to UW-Shared Services, Service Operations:

Fax: (608) 890-2327
Mail: 660 W. Washington Ave, Ste 201, Madison, WI 53703

Additional Information

There were items discussed during the June 29, 2020 Group Insurance Board meeting that allowed additional flexibility for benefit plans offered through the Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF). Some of these items are:

    • health plan enrollment changes,
    • an extended timeframe to submit 2019 FSA claims and
    • extended timeframes for COBRA continuation administration.

ETF did not recommend proceeding with these additional items due to low interest and the administrative challenges and complexities with the vendor change from TASC to ConnectYourCare.

Source: UW System Human Resources

ALEX and Annual Benefits Enrollment Dates

Have you used ALEX, your personalized benefits counselor to help you make the most of your benefits?

ALEX is an interactive benefits decision support tool that helps you understand the benefit plans offered to you and your family. Whether you are a new employee or have worked for the UW System for many years, ALEX is available to you at any time!

ALEX includes all benefit plans available to eligible employees:

  • Health Insurance
  • Well-being Resources
  • Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
  • Dental Insurance
  • Vision Insurance
  • Life Insurance
  • Accidental Death & Dismemberment Insurance (AD&D)
  • Accident Insurance
  • Income Continuation Insurance (ICI)
  • Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA)
  • Health Savings Accounts (HSA)
  • Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS)
  • Tax-Sheltered Annuity (TSA) 403(b)
  • Wisconsin Deferred Compensation (WDC) 457

ALEX currently reflects the 2020 benefit plans and premiums. The tool will be updated this fall to reflect any benefit changes for 2021.

The 2021 Annual Benefits Enrollment (ABE) period will be September 28, 2020 – October 23, 2020. As we get closer to the ABE additional information will be provided.

We hope you will make it a habit to visit ALEX with your benefit questions!

Source: UW System Human Resources

Vacation/Personal Holiday Carryover Extended

Due to the disruptive effect of COVID-19 on employee’s schedules, an interim policy was approved that allows all leave eligible Faculty, Academic Staff and Limited Appointees to extend the carryover of unused vacation from fiscal year 2019 (July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019) for one additional year. Unused Personal Holiday from fiscal year 2020 (July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2020) may also be carried forward.

All Vacation and Personal Holiday hours carried over under this temporary extension must be used by June 30, 2021. You are encouraged to plan ahead and schedule your paid leave in advance to avoid losing any vacation and/or personal holiday hours.

Employees who extend vacation and/or personal holiday carry over are still required to submit monthly leave reports.

For more detailed information:

Source: UW System Human Resources

WRS Contribution Rates for 2021 to Remain Stable

The Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) recently announced the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) employee and employer contribution rates effective January 1, 2021. WRS rates are evaluated and adjusted annually.

Positive investment returns in 2019 were offset by the effect of salary and demographic experience resulting in no change in rates for the general, executive, and elected category. There will be a small increase in rates for the protective categories.

Contribution increase and decrease fluctuations are considered normal for retirement systems like the WRS that pre-fund retirement benefits.

UW System employee contribution rates are determined by employment category. Most UW System employees are in the General/Teacher/Executive category. Employees with law enforcement or public protection duties (police officers, fire fighters) are in the Protective category.

WRS Contribution Rates
Employee Category General, Teacher and Executive Protectives with Social Security
Year 2020 2021 2020 2021
Employer Contribution 6.75% 6.75% 11.75% 11.65%
Employee Contribution 6.75% 6.75% 6.75% 6.75%
Total Contribution 13.5% 13.5% 18.5% 18.4%

The 2021 rates will apply to all paychecks paid in 2021; beginning January 4, 2021 for Faculty/Academic Staff and Limited Appointees paid monthly, and January 14, 2021 for University Staff paid bi-weekly. As a reminder, WRS contributions are taken on a pre-tax basis for state and federal tax purposes.

For more information visit the WRS webpage on the UW System Employee Benefits website.

Source: UW System Human Resources

Well Wisconsin Program

How are you progressing with the completion of the three requirements to earn your $150 incentive through the Well Wisconsin Program administered by StayWell?

Remember, the following must be completed by October 9, 2020:

  • Answer the health assessment and
  • Complete one of StayWell’s well-being activities and
  • Complete one of the following:
    • Get a biometric screening (modified option to include at-home test kits),
    • Submit a health care provider form,
    • Get your preventive dental exam (new option if you are enrolled in State Group Health with Uniform Dental),
    • Talk with a health coach (new option)!

Health Assessment*: Log into the StayWell portal and answer the health assessment questions online. The assessment will take approximately 10-15 minutes.

Well-being Activities: Review the well-being activities, select the one that interests you and get it done! If you want some friendly competition and motivation to help you get your steps in, you may enjoy the Million Steps Challenge. This activity allows you to report your activity through the StayWell portal and requires you to obtain one million steps (e.g. biking, yoga, walking, running). UW-Whitewater took the lead for the 1st quarter of 2020! Which institution will take the lead for future quarters?

Screening, Provider Form, Dental Exam or Health Coach: This requirement gives you options since many onsite biometric screening clinics have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Biometric Screening: Screenings may be held depending on how the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve. Check the StayWell portal for future clinics located near you. Or, request an at-home screening test kit by logging into the StayWell portal or contacting StayWell via phone. Test kits must be requested by September 25, 2020.
  • Health Care Provider Form*: This form requires you to report your height, weight and blood pressure from a visit with your health care provider. Your health care provider does not need to sign this form.
  • Preventive Dental Exam: Get a dental cleaning between January 1, 2020 and September 25, 2020 to meet this requirement.
  • Health Coach Call: Discuss your current health with a health coach at StayWell, set well-being goals and explore solutions to help you attain your goals.

*Note: To request a paper copy of the Health Assessment or Health Care Provider Form, contact StayWell at 1-800-821-6591.

To learn more, review the Well Wisconsin Program page.

Source: UW System Human Resources

Long-Term Care Insurance

Effective July 8, 2020, all WRS eligible employees, an employee’s spouse, an employee’s parents and an employee’s spouse’s parents are eligible for long-term care insurance. Participants must live in Wisconsin to be eligible. This insurance plan is offered by Mutual of Omaha through HealthChoice (the designated agent for State employees).

What is long-term care insurance?

Long-term care insurance typically covers care not covered by health insurance (or Medicare/Medicaid). It may include coverage for assisted living, adult day care, hospice care, nursing homes, Alzheimer’s facilities and/or home modification to accommodate disabilities.

How much does long-term care insurance cost?

Each policy is individually underwritten with premiums based on age, gender and your individual health at the time of enrollment. Your premiums are also based on the length of your selected waiting period, policy limit and other components of your customized plan. Each policy may include various discounts for the life of the policy.

How do I pay the premiums for long-term care insurance?

Since this is an individually underwritten insurance policy, you are responsible for paying your premiums directly to HealthChoice. Payroll deduction is not an option.

When can I enroll in long-term care insurance?

You may enroll in long-term care insurance at any time. Your premiums will be partially based on your health at the time of your enrollment.

How do I enroll in long-term care insurance?

To enroll in long-term care insurance, contact HealthChoice directly at 1-800-833-5823 or Or visit for additional information.

Source: UW System Human Resources

Health Savings Account: Growth Estimator Tool

What could your Health Savings Account (HSA) amount to over time?

An HSA is a savings account that allows individuals enrolled in a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) to pay for qualifying health care expenses with pre-tax money. Your HSA can provide you a triple tax advantage by allowing:

    • Tax-free contributions
    • Tax-free distributions
    • Investment earnings

Try the HSA Growth Estimator to help you determine the potential value of your HSA over time.

A few items to keep in mind:

    • You may change your per paycheck contributions at any time throughout the year.
    • Money remaining in your account at the end of the year will automatically rollover into the next calendar year.
    • Your HSA is portable. If you leave the UW System, you take your account with you.

Reminder: In case you missed it, review the HSA Contributions and Investment Options article.

Source: UW System Human Resources

Protect Yourself from Phishing Attempts

Phishing is the use of email and fraudulent websites to lure people into disclosing personal identity information such as user names, passwords, Social Security numbers credit card and other financial information.

Although most “phishes” arrive via email, phishing attempts can also be in the form of phone calls, text messages and even in-person, such as in the case of someone engaging in face-to-face impersonation.

There are many ways that you can protect yourself from phishing attempts. It starts with awareness and following some simple strategies:

  1. Never disclose personal information, especially your usernames and passwords.
  2. Hover your cursor over hyperlinks to check the URL. Do not click a hyperlink until you verify that the URL is legitimate.
  3. Verify organizations, addresses and phone numbers by doing an internet search to confirm the validity of the sender.
  4. Look for these common signs of phishing attempts:
    • The message is unsolicited and asks you to take action revealing personal information.
    • The message has a “from” address that you don’t recognize.
    • The message has misspelled words or grammatical errors.
    • Messages that present a sense of urgency for your response should alert you.
    • A web site doesn’t have an “s” after “http//:” indicating it is not a secure site.

What to do if you Suspect a Phishing Attempt
If you suspect that you are on the receiving end of a phishing attempt, do not respond, open any links, or forward the message. Contact your local IT staff or Help Desk immediately for assistance.

Source: UW-Shared Services, Service Operations

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

Twelve-month Faculty, Academic Staff and Limited Appointees (FAASLI) are eligible to bank unused vacation after they have completed 10 fiscal years (July 1 through June 30) of employment.

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 retained in Banked Leave and the hours do not expire.

As of June 30th, any remaining vacation or vacation carryover is eligible to convert to banked leave. HRS will convert the vacation carryover first then convert the remaining vacation.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Due to COVID-19, an interim policy allows leave eligible FAASLI to extend the carryover of unused vacation from fiscal year 2019 (July 1, 2018 - June 30, 2019) for one additional year. Unused Personal Holiday from fiscal year 2020 (July 1, 2019 - June 30, 2020) may also be carried forward. All Vacation and Personal Holiday hours carried over under this temporary extension must be used by June 30, 2021. Read More.

When Can I Use my Banked Leave?
With your supervisor's approval, you may use the Banked Leave Balance 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 Banked Leave Hours
If you have a Banked Leave balance, you may view your balance:

To Review the Vacation Policies

If you have questions, contact your human resources office.

Source: UW System Human Resources and UW-Shared Services, Service Operations

Summer Prepay Deductions: Continuing Insurance Coverage While on Summer Break

This spring, summer prepay insurance premium deductions were deducted from paychecks along with regular monthly insurance premium deductions for the following employees:

  • Academic (9-month) employees who will return to UW System employment in the fall of 2020
  • Academic (9-month) employees with a summer service/summer session appointment
  • Academic (non-exempt employees paid biweekly)

Summer prepay deductions were taken to continue insurance coverage through the summer months. Eligible employees were sent an email prior to these paychecks with an estimated summer prepay deduction amount. Deductions were taken for State Group Health Insurance and any other insurance programs in which the employee is enrolled.

Opt-Out Incentive and Health Savings Account (HSA) employer contributions will continue during the summer months. Summer prepay deductions are not taken for the following:

  • Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA) deductions which are calculated based on a 9-month schedule for academic (9-month) employees.
  • UW Tax-Sheltered Annuity (TSA) (403b) or Wisconsin Deferred Compensation (WDC) 457 program deductions.

Confirming Summer Prepay Deductions
Employees should check their spring 2020 earnings statements to verify if they had summer prepay deductions taken from their paychecks. Summer prepay deductions appeared as a lump sum on earnings statements on the following paychecks:

  • Monthly paychecks: April 1, May 1 and June 1
  • Bi-weekly paychecks: March 26, April 9, April 23, May 7, May 21, June 4

Deductions taken pre-tax (most medical-related premiums and a portion of State Group Life Insurance premiums) will be added together under ‘Prebtx.’ Deductions taken post-tax (most life insurance premiums) will be added together under ‘Preatx.’ Regular benefit deductions for the month will continue to be listed under the plan name.

In the fall, 9-month employees’ regular insurance premium deductions will resume on the October 1, 2020 paycheck. Regular insurance premium deductions for 12-month employees will resume upon return from their summer work break.

What if an Employee does not Have Summer Prepay Insurance Premiums Deducted?
If an employee does not have summer prepay deductions taken in the spring, and then has a summer session/summer service appointment, they will be billed directly for payment of the additional premiums due to provide them with insurance coverage during the summer months.

Payment must be made by the billing invoice due date to ensure that insurance benefits are not canceled due to non-payment. If benefits are canceled due to nonpayment, the next opportunity to add insurance benefits may be during the fall Annual Benefits Enrollment period with an effective insurance coverage date of January 1, 2021. Some insurances can be applied for through evidence of insurability.

What if an Employee’s Employment Status Changes?
If an employee’s summer 2020 or fall 2020 employment status changes after they have had summer prepay deductions, they may receive deduction refunds. If an employee will not be returning in the fall, they should contact their human resources office to determine their insurance coverage ending dates.

Employees who anticipate any other status change; marriage, adoption, birth, divorce, etc., should contact their human resources office to understand the impacts to their insurance benefits.

If you have questions, contact your human resources office.

Source: UW-Shared Services, Service Operations

Health Savings Account: Contributions and Investment Options

Your Contributions
If you are enrolled in a high deductible health plan (HDHP) through the UW System, your annual maximum contribution amount* to your Health Savings Account (HSA) differs based on your level of coverage (single vs. family), your age (younger or older than age 55) and how many months of the year you are eligible for the HSA.

Reminder: You may change your per paycheck contributions at any time throughout the year!

*If you are unsure what your annual maximum contribution amount is, contact your tax advisor. Penalties may apply if you contribute more than the calendar year maximum to your HSA.

Your Investment Options
Once you have a minimum balance of $1,000 in your HSA, you can invest contributions above that minimum balance. There are several investment options available. Take advantage of the investment options to use your HSA as another vehicle to save for retirement and earn a higher rate of return. The minimum balance of $1,000 ensures that you always have access to a cash balance to pay for qualifying medical, dental and/or vision out-of-pocket expenses.

To get started, log into your myCYC mobile app or online portal and indicate how much you would like to transfer to the available investment options.

Note: You may set-up your account so that money greater than the minimum balance requirement will automatically transfer into your investment account. You determine the amount that you would like to invest vs the amount that you have access to with your HSA debit card.

Reminder: Review the HSA frequently asked questions to help you get the most out of your account!

Source: UW System Human Resources

Reminder: Submit Leave Reports

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

Employees on a consecutive day furlough are required to enter leave reports while they are on furlough. If no leave was taken for a month a “No Leave Taken” entry should be made.

With the fiscal year-end quickly approaching (June 30), now is the time to make sure you have submitted all your leave reports since July 1, 2019. To check if you are missing any 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 and click Launch full app.
  3. Click on Leave Reports.
  4. Review the “Missing Leave Report Between July 2019 and May 2020.
  5. To submit any missing leave reports, click on Request Absence and follow the prompts.

If you are missing any leave reports, you will receive a reminder email indicating the month(s) you are missing. Failure to submit any leave report(s) by the September 30 deadline following the fiscal year end (July – June) will result in a reduction of your sick leave hours. If possible, submit your leave reports monthly to avoid any issues.

For more detailed information on the sick leave policies review:

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.


  • Consecutive Day Furlough – For employees who may be on a consecutive day furlough, leave reports are still required. If no leave is taken during the month, you are required to submit a No Leave Taken entry.
  • Intermittent Day Furlough – For weeks in which intermittent furlough is taken, the entry of furlough time taken does not satisfy the monthly leave reporting requirement. If no leave is taken during the month, you are required to submit a No Leave Taken entry.

Source: UW System Human Resources

Health Savings Account: Frequently Asked Questions

A Health Savings Account (HSA) is a savings account that allows individuals enrolled in a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) to pay for qualifying health, dental and vision expenses with pre-tax money. An HSA can provide you a triple tax advantage by allowing:

  • tax-free contributions
  • tax-free distributions
  • investment earnings

There is a lot to know about your HSA, such as account basics, eligible expenses, contributions, investment options and how you can use your HSA once you retire. Take some time today to review the HSA frequently asked questions provided by ConnectYourCare (CYC), the administrator of your HSA.

Important: Have you assigned a beneficiary to your HSA? If not, login to the CYC portal to do so online or complete the 2020 HSA Beneficiary Form and send it directly to CYC.

Reminder: Use the CYC resources (myCYC mobile app and account portal) to access your account information anytime anywhere!

Source: UW System Human Resources

Well Wisconsin: 2019 Statistics and 2020 Program Information

UW System Employee 2019 Program Participation
In 2019, 36.7% of UW System employees (and/or their Spouse's) eligible for the Well Wisconsin Program completed a health assessment, biometric screening and well-being activity to earn their $150 incentive. Over 10,000 employees took the necessary steps to become more aware of their current health. The UW System had the highest program participation compared to all other State agencies.

Identified Health Risk in 2019 for UW System Employees
Based on the employees that completed the program, the 2019 health risk report identified weight and its biological consequences (high cholesterol and blood pressure) as the primary risk area for UW System employees. The health risk report provides aggregate data to allow StayWell to further develop well-being activities for future program years.

Program Information for 2020
Visit the UW System Well Wisconsin page for program information. Check out the well-being activity options for 2020 and start earning your $150 incentive today!

To get started, visit the StayWell portal. If you have questions about using or setting up a portal, contact the StayWell HelpLine at 1-800-821-6591, email, or download the My StayWell mobile app (search for "My StayWell" in the App Store or on Google Play).

Health information is protected by federal law and will never be shared with the WI Dept. of Employee Trust Funds, the group health insurance program or employers. Review StayWell's Privacy Statement or view this short video for additional information.

Source: UW System Human Resources

Reviewing Your Beneficiary Designations

When was the last time you reviewed your beneficiary designations?

Naming a beneficiary allows you to pass a financial interest on after you have passed away. If you do not recall who you have listed as your beneficiary, or you have experienced a life event such as a marriage, divorce or birth of a child, review your designations and submit new forms if necessary. The most recently dated form on file at the time of your death is binding for the payment of all proceeds.

Here is a list of the plans that have benefits payable to beneficiaries:

  • State Group Life Insurance,
  • Individual & Family Life Insurance,
  • UW Employees, Inc. Life Insurance,
  • University Insurance Association Life Insurance,
  • Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D) Insurance,
  • Accident Insurance,
  • Health Savings Account (HSA),
  • Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS),
  • UW Tax-Sheltered (TSA) Annuity 403(b),
  • Wisconsin Deferred Compensation (WDC) 457.

To see which benefit plans you are enrolled in, log into the portal for UW System institutions or for UW-Madison and follow these steps:

  1. Go to the Benefit Information module and click Launch full app.
  2. On the Summary page, review the Coverage column to see which plans you’re enrolled in (Waive indicates you are not enrolled).
  3. Click Next to see additional plans.
  4. Compare the plans you are enrolled in to the plans that have benefits payable to beneficiaries.

Some plans allow you to update your beneficiary designations online while others require a signed designation form. The UW System Beneficiary Information page provides information on how to designate a beneficiary for each benefit plan. If a plan you are enrolled in requires a paper form, you may print the applicable beneficiary form(s) from the Beneficiary Information page.

Once you have completed the appropriate forms, mail them directly to the address listed on the form (not to your human resources office).

Source: UW System Human Resources

WRS News Online, May 2020

External link:

How To Get Medical Care When You Need It Fast

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.

Take these steps now to prepare for the unexpected:

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 recommend treatment, prescribe medication, refer you to a specialist or tell you, based on your symptoms, if you should see a doctor in-person.

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 the State Group Health Insurance plan?
Due to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, effective March 27 through December 31, 2020, telemedicine services are covered at 100%. Any follow-up care may be subject to the copayment, deductible and/or coinsurance as described on the Comparison of Health and Pharmacy Benefits.

How can you obtain additional information regarding telemedicine services?
Generally, health plans offer telemedicine services through their online portals and/or through a mobile app. If you’re unable to find telemedicine information through your health insurance plans online portal, contact your health insurance plan directly by calling the toll-free number on your health insurance ID card. Otherwise, go to ETF's Telehealth Options web page for more information.

Source: UW System Human Resources

CARES Act Offers Financial Relief/Flexibility to Retirement Plan Participants

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act ("CARES Act" or "Act") was signed into law on March 27, 2020. The CARES Act includes provisions related to retirement plans that offer both financial relief and flexibility to plan participants. The UW Tax-Sheltered Annuity (TSA) 403(b) Program has adopted the following CARES Act provisions.

Coronavirus Related Distributions
The CARES Act allows for distributions of up to $100,000 (aggregated across all plans and IRAs) for an individual who has a COVID-19 event, defined as a person:

  • who is diagnosed with COVID-19;
  • whose spouse or dependent is diagnosed with COVID-19;
  • who experiences adverse financial consequences resulting from COVID-19, including being quarantined, furloughed, laid off, having work hours reduced, experiencing COVID-19-related child care issues that impede one’s ability to work, or the closing or reduction of hours of a business owned or operated by an individual impacted by COVID-19.

Participants self-certify that they qualify for the distribution as an "affected individual." Distributions must be made before December 31, 2020. These distributions are not subject to early withdrawal penalties or mandatory withholding when taken.

The legislation permits participants to:

  • Spread out the income taxes that would be due on the distribution ratably over 3-years
  • Repay the amounts back into the retirement plan or IRA over next 3-year period if that plan accepts roll-in contributions (the repayments are not subject to retirement plan contribution limits). The repayment does not need to be made to the same plan or IRA from which the distribution was made.

Participant Loan Changes
The Act includes specific relief for participant loans from retirement accounts. A participant must have a COVID-19 related event (as noted above) to be eligible.

  • Plan Loan Dollar Limits Increased. The Act temporarily increases the maximum amount available that participants can borrow from $50,000 to $100,000 (less any outstanding loan amounts) from their plan account balance. The Act also allows participants to borrow up to the lesser of $100,000 or 100 percent of their account balance (subject to provider requirements), rather than the 50 percent limit under current rules. These loan limit increases are in effect for 180 days following the signing of the bill into law (March 27, 2020).

    The participant is still limited to only having two open loans across all providers at one time. If the participant already has two open loans, one loan must be paid off before applying for a new loan.
  • Extension for Loan Due Dates. The Act provides a one-year extension for any loan payment due between March 27 and December 31, 2020. Remaining payments, plus applicable interest, can be re-amortized over the extended period.

Temporary Waiver of Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) Rules

  • The CARES Act waives required minimum distributions (RMDs) for calendar year 2020 for defined contribution plans, including 401(k), 403(b), 457(b), as well as IRAs, allowing individuals to keep funds in their retirement plans. This includes payments to beneficiaries required under RMD rules. Participants who have already taken a 2020 RMD may now transfer the distribution amount back into the account within a 60-day rollover period of taking the withdrawal.
  • The waiver applies to 2019 RMDs due by April 1, 2020 and for 2020 RMDs due by December 31, 2020.

Contact your TSA provider for more information. TSA provider contact information can be accessed on the TSA Program web page.

Please remember that taking a loan or distribution from your retirement account could have a long-term negative effect on your account.

Source: UW System Human Resources

Technology Offers One-on-One Meetings with TSA Providers During Covid-19 Crisis

Participants in the UW Tax-Sheltered Annuity (TSA) 403(b) Program can still meet one-on-one with TSA providers even during the Covid-19 crisis. TSA providers are available via telephone calls and through video conferencing to answer questions, review investments, discuss the market, and more.

To schedule an appointment, contact your provider as you normally would. Providers will facilitate meetings with the type of technology they are using and the technology available to participants.

Source: UW System Human Resources

WRS Annual Statement of Benefits Available in the MyUW Portal

UW employees covered by the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) in 2019 can now view their January 1, 2020 WRS Annual Statement of Benefits on the MyUW portal.

To access your statement, Log into the portal for UW System institutions or for UW-Madison. Launch the Benefit Information module and click on the Statements tab. Choose “ETF Annual Statement of Benefits (WRS) Issued 2020”.

Understanding Your Statement

Your Statement includes your:

    • 2019 earnings and service
    • Years of creditable service as of January 1, 2020
    • Retirement benefit projections, separation benefit, death benefit
    • Primary beneficiary designation(s) for your WRS account

The UW System contributes to your WRS. For the 2019 plan year, the UW System contributed 6.55% of your eligible earnings (for Protectives w/ Social Security the UW System contributes 10.55%). Your WRS Annual Statement of Benefits shows your contributions as well as the UW System contributions to the plan. For the 2020 plan year the UW System contributes 6.75% of your eligible earnings (for Protectives w/ Social Security the UW System contributes 11.65%).


The Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) has resources available to assist you in understanding your Statement of Benefits. Review and verify each section of your statement using these resources as a guide.

    • An Introductory Letter which highlights important information on the statement.
    • The Explanation of Annual Statement of Benefits.
    • The ETF Statement of Benefits web page which includes many resources including a sample statement.
    • Live Webinar: Topics include WRS contributions, vesting status, years of service, and what happens to your account if you die before taking a benefit. Registration is required for the webinar dates below:
      • Tuesday, June 16, 2020, 6:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. CDT
      • Thursday, June 25, 2020, 12:30 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. CDT
      • Wednesday, July 8, 2020, 11:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. CDT

Review Your Beneficiaries

It is important to review the primary beneficiary(ies) listed on your WRS statement. If there are no beneficiaries listed, you either don’t have a beneficiary designation on file, or your designation was made before 1998 (beneficiaries added before 1998 are not listed on your statement). It is recommended that you complete a Beneficiary Designation Form if a beneficiary is not listed on your statement.

Death benefits are paid according to the most recent valid beneficiary designation form on file with ETF prior to your death. If no beneficiary designation is on file, death benefits will be paid according to the statutory standard sequence in effect on the date of death. Your beneficiary information does not automatically change when a significant life event occurs, such as a divorce or a marriage. To add, change or remove beneficiaries complete a Beneficiary Designation form (ET-2320) or Beneficiary Designation-Alternate form (ET-2321). Mail your completed beneficiary designation directly to ETF at the address listed at the top of the form.


If you have questions about your statement, contact your institution’s human resources office.

General information on the WRS can be found on the UW System Employee Benefits WRS web page.

Source: UW-Shared Services, Service Operations

Employee Assistance Program Offers Resources and Webinars

The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) 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. FEI is the administrator of the EAP program for most institutions. Click here to verify if FEI is your EAP administrator.

2020 Monthly Webinar Series
The FEI monthly webinar series is open for registration for eligible employees. Registration is required. Note: Employees must attend a webinar on their own time or consult with their supervisor for approval to attend.

Click here for webinar information and registration. Follow the individual links on each webinar for registration.

August 2020 Webinar: The Secret Life of (Having) Pets

Time: Wednesday, August 19, 2020 - 11:00am to 12:00pm CDT

Description:It's no secret that pets bring an abundance of joy and companionship into our lives. But what isn't as well known is their many health benefits - to our physical, emotional and social well-being. We'll discuss how pets can influence our brain chemistry. Plus, we'll offer recommendations, tips and resources for selecting and caring for the right pet for you.

September 2020 Webinar: The ABCs of CBD

Time: Wednesday, September 16, 2020 - 11:00am to 12:00pm CDT

Description:With all the buzz about CBD and cannabis, what's the straight dope? Here in the U.S., more than half of all states have legalized medical cannabis, and many have decriminalized recreational marijuana. But what does the research say? Join us as we look at the impact of these substances - good, bad or otherwise.

Source: UW System Human Resources