Annual Benefits Enrollment Dates Announced: October 2 - 27, 2017

The 2017 Annual Benefits Enrollment (ABE) period will be held October 2 – 27.  This is the only opportunity each year for eligible UW employees to make changes to many benefits unless they have an eligible family status or employment change during the year.

More information about the Annual Benefit Enrollment period will be posted as it becomes available. All changes made during the enrollment period are effective January 1, 2018.

Source: UW Service Center

Human Resources System Outage Weekend of June 2-4 Will Affect Employee Access

Employees will not have access to their online timesheet, earnings statements and other related documents and services during a UW Human Resources System (HRS) outage that will begin at 4:30 p.m. Friday, June 2, 2017. The outage is due to HRS System maintenance and is scheduled to end Sunday evening, June 4.  

The following self-service features that employees access through the MyUW portals, UW System institutions and UW-Madison, will be unavailable during this outage:

  • Online timesheet
  • Absence reporting
  • Benefits Self Service (eBenefits)
  • Updates to personal information
  • Access to electronic earnings statements, tax statements (W-2, 1042-S, etc.), leave statements and other HR, Payroll and Benefits documents
  • Access to TAM job application service

The rest of the MyUW portal, with the exception of the HRS System related features and documents, will be available during the HRS outage.

Source: UW Service Center

WRS News Online, May 2017

External link: http://www.etf.wi.gov/news/WRS_news_05012017/WRS_News_05012017.asp

WRS Annual Statement of Benefits Now Available in the Portal

If you were covered by the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) in 2016, your WRS Annual Statement of Benefits is now available in the MyUW portal for UW System institutions or for UW-Madison.

Log in to the portal. Go to the Benefit Information module and click on the Statements tab. Choose “2016 ETF Annual Statement of Benefits (WRS) Issued 2017” to view or print your statement.  The WRS Annual Statement of Benefits provides you with information about your WRS account as of January 1, 2016.

Understanding Your Statement

The Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) has published an introductory letter which highlights important information on the statement that you need to know.

The Explanation of Annual Statement of Benefits provides detailed information about each section of the statement. It is recommended that you review and verify each section of your statement using the explanation as a guide. The ETF Statement of Benefits web page provides additional resources including a Benefits Statement FAQ.

Sections of the statement include 2016 earnings and service, years of creditable service as of January 1, 2017, retirement benefit projections, separation benefit, death benefit and primary Beneficiary Designation(s) for your WRS account.

It is very important that you review your WRS account primary beneficiary(ies) on your statement.  Beneficiaries added before 1998 are not listed on your statement. Death benefits are always paid according to the most recent valid beneficiary designation form on file with ETF prior to an individual’s death. Your beneficiary information does not automatically change when a significant life event occurs, such as a divorce or a remarriage. You may add, change or remove beneficiaries by completing a Beneficiary Designation form(ET-2320) or Beneficiary Designation-Alternate form(ET-2321).  Mail your completed Beneficiary Designation directly to EFT at the address listed at the top of the form.

Questions?

If you have questions about your statement, contact your human resources office.  The following webinar may also be helpful in understanding your statement and answering any questions you may have.

ETF 2017 Live Webinar: Understanding Your Annual WRS Statement of Benefits

Featured topics include WRS contributions, vesting status, years of service, and what happens to your account if you die before taking a benefit.  You should have your statement in hand while attending this webinar. The webinar is offered on the dates below. Register here.

  • April 21, 11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
  • April 25, 12:00 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.
  • April 26, 11:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
  • May 2, 6:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
  • May 16, 11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
  • May 18, 12:30 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
  • May 22, 11:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Source: UW Service Center

Review/Update Your Personal Information Before the Semester Ends

As the academic year winds down, many UW employees will leave for summer break, permanently leave UW employment, or begin summer session/summer service duties.  As you finish the year, you are encouraged to review your Personal Information module in the MyUW portal for UW System institutions or UW-Madison and make changes as needed.

Your personal information includes your home and office addresses, phone numbers, legal and preferred name, and other information such as disability and veteran status.  It is especially important to update your address information if you will be moving over the summer.  All employees are also strongly encouraged to update their emergency contact information if needed.

Why is This Important?

Even if you’re leaving the UW permanently, or you will not be working at a UW institution for a few months, it is important to have your current personal information on file for many reasons:

  • Your employer may need to contact you.
  • Your home address will be used at the end of the calendar year for Form W-2 Wage and Tax Statement distribution.
  • Having current information on file ensures that you will receive important information concerning your benefits, paychecks, or UW employment.

Questions?

If you have questions, review the instructions on how to update your personal information: https://uwservice.wisc.edu/help/personal-information/, or contact your human resources office

Source: UW Service Center

Inflation Options and Cash Benefit Long-term Care Insurance Available to UW Employees, Annuitants and Family Members

Each year, long term insurance plans authorized by the Department of Employee Trust Funds may send out one piece of advertisement to employees and annuitants. The HealthChoice notice is shown below.

In addition to offering long term care insurance, HealthChoice also provides CareOptions services to all State, University of Wisconsin and UW Hospitals & Clinics Employees, Annuitants and their family members at no charge and with no insurance purchase required. To use this service, simply click on the button in the email to request an information packet.  HealthChoice will then send you a confirmation email that will contain a CareOptions access code. The CareOptions Program can assist you and your family members with issues related to wellness, illness, disability or aging. The CareOptions service can help you create Living Wills (advance directives for health care), conduct health care provider searches, medical information research and long-term care planning.

HealthChoice Notification about Long Term Care Insurance Plans 

The MutualCare Custom Solution®, underwritten by Mutual of Omaha Insurance Company, is along-term care insurance policy available to UW employees, annuitants and their family members (spouse, domestic partner, parents and in-laws are all eligible to apply). In 2015, the Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) authorized the release of lower-cost inflation protection options for the MutualCare Custom Solution ®.

Each year, many Americans lose income, savings and assets because of long-term care expenses. Long-term care insurance is designed to help protect against the high costs of long-term care services if you or a family member can no longer perform activities of daily living without the need for assistance. For many, long-term care insurance is an important part of planning for long-term financial security.

The MutualCare Custom Solution® policy offers additional built-in benefits that include:

  • Cash benefit can be used to pay for services to support your plan of care. You simply receive the full monthly cash benefit you select to pay for anything at all including family travel expenses, lost income, housekeeping services or other out-of-pocket expenses. There’s no need to collect or submit bills.
  • Cash benefits paid on the first day of need with no waiting period allowing you to receive care in the environment you’re most comfortable in with the choice of who can be your caregiver, including spouse/partner, family members or friends. The immediate cash benefit also gives you total control of how you’re spending your benefit dollars.
  • Lower cost inflation options that give you more flexibility in policy benefit choices.

To receive an information packet regarding your long-term care Insurance options simply click here. You may also call HealthChoice toll-free at 1-800-833-5823 or in the Madison area at 833-5823. Email at info@healthchoice.com. Direct information link; click or paste in your web browser’s address line: http://www.healthchoice.com/request.php

Long-term care insurance is underwritten by Mutual of Omaha Insurance Company, 3300 Mutual of Omaha Plaza, Omaha, NE, 68175 1-800-775-6000. Policy form: ICC13-LTC13. This policy has exclusions, limitations and reductions and terms under which the policy may be continued in force or discontinued. Benefits may be provided by a combination of the policy and riders and are subject to underwriting. Premiums will vary depending on the benefits selected. Premium rates may be subject to change. A medical exam may be required for coverage. Not endorsed by or connected with Medicare, Social Security or any other governmental agency. The individual coverage provided contains options only available for State of Wisconsin employees and annuitants. An insurance agent/producer may contact you. Mutual of Omaha Insurance Company is solely responsible for all insurance and business decisions.


HealthChoice provides CareOptions services at no charge to UW employees, annuitants and their family members:

HealthChoicealso provides CareOptions services to UW employees, annuitants and their family members at no charge and with no insurance purchase required. To use this service, simply click here to request an information packet– the information and confirmation email you receive will contain your CareOptions access code.

The CareOptions program can assist you or family members with issues related to wellness, illness, disability or aging. As an additional convenience, the CareOptions service can help you and your family members create Living Wills (advance directives for health care) as well as allow you to conduct health care provider searches, medical information research and long-term care planning, 24 hours a day.

To contact HealthChoice, email at info@healthchoice.com.  Visit the website at www.healthchoice.com. Call (800) 833-5823 or Fax (608) 833-7540.

This insurance plan has been authorized by the Group Insurance Board for the purpose of offering long-term care insurance to eligible State of Wisconsin employees and retirees under authority granted by Wis. Stats. § 40.55. The criteria the Board uses includes, but is not limited to: documentation of financial stability, demonstration of a reasonable ratio of claims paid to the premium level, authority to conduct business in the State of Wisconsin, agreeing to conditions for the rate-making process and other administrative conditions. ETF staff and the Board’s actuary review proposals for participation prior to Board approval. However, the Board does not require competitive bids nor a benefit comparison with similar products from other vendors. This insurance has exceptions, limitations and reductions. 

Source: UW Service Center

Income Continuation Insurance Deferred Enrollment Elections Effective April 1, 2017

Employees who enrolled in Income Continuation Insurance (ICI) or added supplemental coverage during the ICI Deferred enrollment period, January – March 1, 2017, will have newly elected ICI coverage effective April 1, 2017.

For Faculty/Academic Staff/Limited Appointees (paid monthly), the premium update will be reflected on the May 1, 2017 paycheck. For University Staff (paid bi-weekly), the premium update will be reflected on the April 13, 2017 paycheck.

For more information about the ICI program, visit the ICI plan page. If you have questions, contact your human resources office.

Source: UW Service Center

2017 State Group Life Insurance Annual Update

Employees participating in the State Group Life insurance program will have their coverage level and premium updated effective April 1, 2017.

For Faculty/Academic Staff/Limited Appointees (paid monthly), the premium update will be reflected on the March 31, 2017 paycheck. For University Staff (paid bi-weekly), the premium update will be reflected on the March 30, 2017 paycheck.

State Group Life Insurance coverage level and premium are based on a participant's age as of April 1 each year, and their highest calendar year of Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) earnings. The 2017 premiums are available at: https://www.wisconsin.edu/ohrwd/benefits/life/sgl/.

If you have questions, contact your human resources office.

Source: UW Service Center

Summer Prepay Insurance Premium Deduction Schedule for 2017

Summer prepay insurance premiums will be deducted from March 31, May 1, and/or June 1 paychecks for the following employee groups:

  • Academic (9-month) employee who will be returning to UW employment in the fall of 2017
  • Academic (9-month) employee with a summer service/summer session appointment

Why are Summer Prepay Insurance Premiums Deducted in the Spring?

The additional summer prepay insurance premium deductions are taken to continue an employee’s insurance coverage through the summer (contract break) months. These additional premium deductions must be taken in the spring, along with regular monthly premium deductions, since insurance premiums cannot be deducted from summer service/summer session earnings. 

What if an Employee’s Employment Status Changes?

If an employee’s summer 2017 or fall 2017 employment status changes after they have already had summer prepay deductions, they may receive refunds for the summer prepay deductions. If an employee will be terminating employment, and will not return in the fall, they should contact their human resources office immediately for assistance in determining their employment termination date and the date their insurance coverage will end.

Employees who anticipate that they will experience any other status change; marriage, adoption, divorce, etc., should contact their human resources office immediately so they understand the impacts to their insurance benefits.

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. 

2017 Summer Prepay Deduction Schedule

Important: This schedule outlines premium deductions for an employee scheduled to return to fall 2017 UW employment, or who has a summer appointment and is then terminating. Most employees will have deductions taken according to this schedule. Human resources offices can assist employees whose deduction schedule may vary from the schedule below based on appointment, summer employment, fall return date, or termination date.

Paychecks on Which Premiums will be Taken

Insurance

Premiums to be Taken

March 31, May 1, June 1

Health and other insurance deductions for programs in which you are enrolled.*

Regular premium deduction PLUS one summer premium deduction.

May 1

Income Continuation Insurance

Regular premium deduction PLUS two summer premium deductions.

June 1

Income Continuation Insurance

Regular premium deduction PLUS one summer premium deduction.

*Does not include Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA) deductions. These deductions are calculated based on a 9-month schedule for academic (9-month) employees so no additional premiums are taken for these programs. 
*Does not include Tax-Sheltered Annuity (TSA) and Wisconsin Deferred Compensation (WDC) deductions. These deductions are based on an employee’s earnings. Since the employee will not have earnings during the summer months, there are no additional premiums taken for these programs.
*Opt-Out Incentive and Health Savings Account (HSA) employer contribution will continue to be processed during the summer months for these programs.

How Will Summer Prepay Appear on Earnings Statements?

Summer prepay will appear as a lump sum amount on earnings statements. All deductions taken pre-tax (most medical-related premiums and a portion of State Group Life Insurance premiums) will be added together under the name ‘Prebtx’ and all deductions taken post-tax (most life insurance premiums) will be added together under the name ‘Preatx.’ NOTE: ‘Prebtx’ stands for before tax or pre-tax and ‘Preatx’ stands for after tax or post-tax.

Regular benefit deductions for the month will continue to be listed under the plan name. These deductions are typically taken on a pre-tax basis. If an employee has one extra deduction for each plan, there will be a total listed under Prebtx or Preatx on each earnings statement impacted by the additional deductions. 

IMPORTANT: To verify accuracy, employees should review their earnings statements to ensure that their insurance deductions are accurate for their situation. If insurance premiums are not collected through the summer prepay deductions process, employees will be billed for premiums. In this case, employees must remit timely premium payments to continue their insurance coverage.

For questions, please contact your human resources office.

Source: UW Service Center

GIB Moves to Self-insurance Model for State Group Health Insurance Pending Legislative Approval

On February 8, 2016, the Group Insurance Board (GIB) approved a motion to move to a self-insurance funding model for the State Group Health Insurance program effective January, 2018.   In addition, a move to a regional service model was approved.

According to the GIB, the move to self-insurance seeks to maintain benefits, contain costs and improve quality of the State Group Health Insurance program. The proposed change requires approval by the state legislature.  This approval has not yet occurred.

What is a Self-Insurance Funding Model?

Self-insurance is a way to finance employer health insurance programs. Currently in 2017, the state pays health insurance companies a fixed amount for employee health insurance coverage, and the health insurance companies pay all medical claims.  In the proposed model, the state pays medical claims directly to providers through third-party administrators. 

What is a Regional Service Model?

The GIB approved dividing the state into four regions, with one statewide health plan and additional health plans offering coverage in each region.  The GIB expects that regionalization will streamline program administration, control costs and simplify program information for participants.

To view a map of the proposed regions and which health plans will be offered in each region for 2018, visit the Department of Employee Trust Funds (EFT) Frequently Asked Questions about the proposed health insurance program changes.

How Will These Changes Affect an Employees’ Choice of Doctors?
The proposed change to a self-insurance funding model with a regional service model is not expected to impact employee provider choices (physicians, hospitals, clinics) as 98% of current providers will be available under the new program structure. 

It is expected that many of the health plans' provider networks will overlap. This means that many members can continue to see the providers they see today, even if they have to choose a different health plan.

Will Employees Pay More for Health Insurance in 2018 in a Self-insured Model?

The employee costs for premiums are unknown at this time.  Premiums will be available in the fall, and all employees will have time to review premiums, plan offerings and make any changes to their current coverage during the Annual Benefits Enrollment period.

As more details about the proposed self-insurance program become available, updates will be provided.  In the meantime, employees may find the following resources informative: 

Source: UW Service Center

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