UW Tax-Sheltered Annuity Program Offers Savings Options to Employees

The America Saves Week campaign, February 2 - March 3, 2018, is a great opportunity to commit—or recommit—to saving for today and for your retirement.

The University of Wisconsin System is promoting America Saves Week by encouraging individuals and families to assess their savings and take financial action. Visit the UW System’s America Saves Week website for information on in-person workshops and interactive webinars, videos, handy tips and information on saving and financial wellness.

One easy and effective way to save is automatically. The UW Tax-Sheltered Annuity (TSA) 403(b) Program can help you do this and invest for your long-term goals. If you already participate in the program, consider increasing your contributions. If you are not a TSA Program participant, sign up today. Through the TSA Program you can invest a portion of your income for retirement on either a pre-tax basis, an after-tax basis (Roth), or a combination of both.

UW TSA 403(b) Program investment options include a wide array of mutual funds and fixed and variable annuities managed by five providers: Ameriprise, Fidelity, Lincoln, TIAA, T. Rowe Price. For more information, visit the UW Tax-Sheltered Annuity (TSA) 403(b) Program or contact your institution’s human resources office.

Saving early is one of the best things you can do to ensure that you set aside enough to fund a comfortable retirement. Read Save Smart–Save Early! to learn about the advantages of putting time on your side to accomplish your savings goals.

Don’t let the prospect of having to decide how to invest your retirement money scare you off. Just participating is more important than selecting the perfect investments. If you need help understanding the investment options available in the program contact the provider(s) you choose to contribute to.

Start Small, Think Big. Remember, when you are getting started, no contribution is too small. Even if you only set aside one percent of your salary in the UW TSA 403(b) Plan, that’s an important start. You can start with only $8 per pay period if you’re paid bi-weekly or $20 per month if you are paid monthly. Over time, your contributions will add up. Even small amounts of savings can help you in the future. Save automatically in the UW TSA 403(b) Program.

Source: UW System Human Resources

2017 Tax Reform Bill Affects Employee Federal Tax Withholding

As a result of the 2017 Federal Tax Reform bill passed in late December 2017, most employees will see a change in their federal income tax withholding on their paychecks beginning in early 2018.

The change was implemented for both University staff (paid bi-weekly) and for Faculty/Academic Staff/Limited Appointees (paid monthly) on the February 1, 2018 paycheck.

To see your federal withholding amount, log into the MyUW portal for UW System institutions or for UW-Madison. Launch the Payroll Information module and click on the Earnings Statements tab. Find the Taxes section of your earnings statement where Fed Withholding will be listed. You may choose to review several recent earnings statements to compare your federal withholding, and see how your amount has changed.

If you would like more information, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has prepared an IRS Withholding Tables Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) to help employees understand how the new federal tax withholding may affect their paychecks.
If you have questions, contact your human resources office.

Source: UW Service Center

Employee Assistance Program Vendor Change Effective March 1, 2018

The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) vendor for many of the UW System institutions will change effective March 1, 2018 from Empathia (LifeMatters) to FEI.

Employees affected by this transition will not see a change in the Employee Assistance Program services offered to them. Employees who are currently participating in a treatment plan through LifeMatters will be contacted directly regarding a transition plan for their care.

UW System institutions that currently offer Employee Assistance Program services through LifeMatters that will change to FEI March 1, 2018 include: UW-Colleges and Extension, UW-Eau Claire, UW-Milwaukee, UW-Oshkosh, UW-Parkside, UW-Platteville, UW- River Falls, UW-Stevens Point, UW-Stout and UW System Administration.

UW Institutions that currently use an in-house administrator or vendor other than LifeMatters are not affected by the March 1 vendor change. These institutions include: UW-Green Bay, UW-La Crosse, UW-Madison, UW-Superior and UW-Whitewater.

The Employee Assistance Program provides UW employees and members of their household with free and confidential resources to address personal and work-related issues.

Some of the concerns that can be addressed by the program include emotional issues, interpersonal relationships, substance abuse, grief and loss, elder and dependent care, adoption, legal and financial issues, separation or divorce, and managing expenses and debt.

Visit the UW System Employee Benefits website for more information about the Employee Assistance Program. If you have questions, contact your human resources office.

Source: UW System Human Resources

America Saves Week, February 26 - March 3, 2018: Resources and Events for UW Employees

America Saves Week, a national campaign encouraging savings and financial planning, is February 26 – March 3, 2018. The University of Wisconsin System is promoting the national America Saves Week campaign and has many resources and events planned to help UW employees expand their financial knowledge and set new savings goals.

Visit the UW System’s America Saves Week website which lists all of the events planned at UW institutions. Find dates and times for events at your institution or an institution near you.

Events include in-person workshops on financial wellness topics presented by the Tax-Sheltered Annuity (TSA) 403(b) providers – Ameriprise, Fidelity, Lincoln, TIAA and T. Rowe Price. The TSA providers will also have individual counseling sessions available. Additionally, UW Credit Union and Summit Credit Union will be presenting workshops and will have credit report consultations available. All events are at no cost to you!

The UW System America Saves Week website also has interactive webinars, videos, handy tips and information on savings and financial wellness. Visit the website often in the coming weeks as more information and events may be added.

America Saves Week will keep you motivated to reach your savings goals. The campaign is an opportunity to commit—or recommit—to saving for today and for the future. Saving is more than just a good idea. It’s possible!

Source: UW System Human Resources

Updated Income Continuation Insurance Premiums Effective February 1, 2018

Income Continuation Insurance (ICI) premiums are updated annually on February 1. Updated premiums for University Staff (paid bi-weekly) will be reflected on the February 15, 2018 paycheck. Updated ICI premiums for Faculty/Academic Staff/Limited Appointees (paid monthly) will be reflected on the March 1, 2018 paycheck.

If you are currently enrolled in the ICI program, visit the ICI Premium Notice web page for your personalized updated premium amount. Current enrollees were sent an email February 1 directing them to this customized web page.

Several factors determine your premium amount:

  • For University Staff: the ICI premium is based on 2017 earnings reported to the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS), sick leave balance/usage as of December 23, 2017 and current ICI category.
  • For Faculty/Academic Staff/Limited Appointees: the ICI premium is based on 2017 WRS-reported earnings and the selected ICI elimination period.

Please note: The ICI annual premium update effective February 1 is based on 2017 earnings and does not reflect any enrollments made during the ICI Deferred Enrollment period which began in January and ends March 1, 2018. Employees who are eligible to participate in the ICI Deferred Enrollment period received notification about their opportunity via an email sent January 19.

A complete list of ICI premiums and plan information is available on the ICI plan page. If you have questions, contact your human resources office.

Source: UW Service Center

Keep Your Beneficiary Designations Up-to-Date

What is a beneficiary?

A beneficiary is someone you designate to receive insurance benefits that are payable upon your death. Naming beneficiaries ensures that your assets are distributed according to your wishes.

Keep your beneficiary designations up-to-date

You may change your beneficiary designations at any time. It is important to review your beneficiary designations regularly, especially when you have experienced a life event; birth or adoption of a child, marriage, divorce, etc.

Your assets are distributed according to the beneficiary designations that you have on file at the time of your death. If you are unsure of your current beneficiary designation for any of your current insurance plans, complete a new beneficiary designation form to ensure that your designations are current.

How do I know what benefits I have?

To make sure that you review and update the beneficiaries for all of your insurance plans, confirm your current plan enrollments. Log in to the MyUW portal for UW System institutions or for UW-Madison. Go to the Benefit Information module, choose the View Benefits Summary Detail tab at the bottom of the page to see your current benefit enrollments. Contact your human resources office to confirm your coverage.

Beneficiary designation forms

To change a beneficiary designation, complete a beneficiary form for each plan in which you are enrolled. Keep a copy of each completed beneficiary form for your records. Return completed forms to the address on the form, not to your human resources office.

The plans that have a beneficiary designation form are listed below. Beneficiary Designation forms are also available on the UW System Employee Benefits website.

Source: UW System Human Resources

Well Wisconsin Program Incentive Updates

Employees and spouses currently enrolled in the State Group Health Insurance plan are eligible for an annual $150 wellness incentive (administered by StayWell). Below are updates to the 2018 Well Wisconsin program as well as an update on previously communicated changes to the 2019 program.

2018: In addition to completing the health screening and health assessment, a Well Wisconsin Well-Being activity will also be required in 2018 to earn the $150 wellness incentive. A few examples of well-being activities are: Million Steps Challenge, 21 Day Meditation Experience and Self-Directed Coaching. More information about the Well Wisconsin Well-Being activities is available on the StayWell website. To earn the 2018 incentive, one Well Wisconsin Well-Being activity, the health screening and health assessment must be completed and submitted to StayWell by October 19, 2018.

2019: Changes to the wellness incentive structure were considered in 2017. One consideration was to provide a premium differential instead of the current wellness incentive $150 gift card. It has been decided that a change to a premium differential will not take place for 2019. This option will continue to be explored by the Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF).

For additional information on the Well Wisconsin program and how to receive your $150 incentive in 2018, visit https://wellwisconsin.staywell.com or contact the StayWell HelpLine at 800-821-6591. Throughout 2018, StayWell will send emails and home mailers to employees with information about the program.

Source: UW System Human Resources

Income Continuation Insurance Deferred Enrollment Available Through March 1, 2018 for Eligible Employees

The Income Continuation Insurance (ICI) program is an ‘income replacement’ benefit plan that replaces up to 75% of your gross salary if you are unable to work due to a short or long-term disability.

If you are not currently enrolled in ICI, you may be able to enroll during the Annual ICI Deferred Enrollment opportunity through March 1, 2018. If you are currently enrolled in the ICI plan and have Standard ICI coverage, you may be eligible for Supplemental ICI coverage. Eligible employees were notified by email on January 19 from the UW System HR (uwsystemhr@uwsa.edu) email address.

Please see the Income Continuation Insurance section of the UW System Employee Benefits website for more information regarding eligibility and income continuation insurance benefits.

To apply for coverage through the Deferred Enrollment opportunity, you must complete an Income Continuation Insurance Application (ET-2307) and return it to your human resources office on or before March 1, 2018. ICI coverage elected through deferred enrollment will be effective April 1, 2018.

If you have questions, contact your human resources office.

Source: UW Service Center

W-2 (Wage and Tax Statements) Now Available Online; to be Mailed by January 31, 2018

W-2 Now Available Online; to be Mailed by January 31.
Additional Tax Forms to be Distributed in February and March

The 2017 W-2 Wage and Tax Statements are now available online in the MyUW portal. Log into the portal for UW System institutions or for UW-Madison. Launch the Payroll Information module and click on the Tax Statements tab. Paper copies of the W-2 will be mailed via U.S. mail by January 31, 2018.

A printed W-2 from the portal is a valid document for tax filing. However, employees filing a W-2 printed from the portal, must write their Social Security or Individual Tax Payer Identification number in the "a" field at the top of each Form W-2 section. Social Security and Tax Payer Identification numbers were removed from the online W-2 statements to increase the security of sensitive online information.

Some employees will also receive additional tax forms from the University (Examples: 1095-C, 1042-S, Fellowship/Scholarship Letter).

  • The 1095-C Form will be mailed via U.S. mail to employees in early February and available on the portal by mid-February. All UW employees who were full-time for some or all months of 2017 will have a 1095-C to document that health insurance coverage was offered to them. Employees will need the 1095-C as part of their documentation requirement when filing 2017 taxes.
  • The 1042-S Forms will be available by March 1, 2018 in the Glacier Online Tax Compliance System for those who chose the option of electronic delivery; others will have them mailed to their home address. The 1042-S Forms will be posted on the portal after March 17. 
  • The Fellowship/Scholarship Letter will be mailed to the employee\'s home address.

Filing Your Taxes

Employees should use their W-2 Form, not their final 2017 earnings statement, to file taxes. Some employees have had adjustments made to their 2017 taxable earnings since the last 2017 payroll was paid. These employees may have an additional earnings statement generated reflecting these adjustments. These adjustments will already be reflected on the W-2 Form that the employee receives.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will begin accepting returns on January 29, 2018 for the 2017 tax filing season. Employees may want to consider filing their return as soon as all necessary tax forms are received to minimize the chance of a fraudulent return being processed using their Social Security number, or Individual Tax Payer Identification number. More information is available on the IRS website.

Additional Resources: W-2 ExplanationW-2 Overview and Earnings Statement Comparison

Source: UW Service Center

WRS News Online, January 2018

External link: http://etf.wi.gov/news/WRS_news_01182018/WRS_News_01182018.asp

ALEX: Your Personalized Benefits Counselor

The UW System introduced a new interactive benefits decision tool, called ALEX, for the recent Annual Benefits Enrollment (ABE) period. ABE is over for 2018 elections but ALEX is here to stay!

ALEX is a personalized benefits counselor that can help you understand the benefits plans and options that are offered to you and your family. Whether you’re a new or longtime employee, ALEX is available to anyone at anytime to learn more about the benefits that are offered or that you have selected. Even if you don’t have a current enrollment opportunity, ALEX can be a helpful tool.

ALEX reflects the 2018 benefits and premium amounts. ALEX has been enhanced to include modules about the life insurance plans, Income Continuation Insurance, the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS), as well as the supplemental retirement plans [Tax-Sheltered Annuity (TSA) and Wisconsin Deferred Compensation (WDC). Frequently Asked Questions have been added to the bottom of the ALEX landing page. The FAQs are based on employee questions and feedback.

We hope that you will make it a habit to visit ALEX with your basic benefits questions!

Source: UW System Human Resources

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