Summer Prepay Deductions: Continuing Your Insurance Coverage During the Summer Months

What are Summer Prepay Deductions?                                                                

If you are a 9-month employee who will be returning to UW employment in the fall of 2017, or a 12-month employee who has a contract that does not include work for one or more summer months, then you had additional insurance premiums deducted from your March 31, May 1 and/or June 1 paychecks to continue your insurance coverage through the summer months.  These additional insurance premiums, taken along with your regular monthly insurance deductions, are referred to as ‘summer prepay deductions.’

You must be expected to return for the fall semester or must continue employment in a summer service/summer session appointment to have benefits coverage continue during the summer contract break.

If you did not have prepayments taken and are returning in the fall, contact your human resources office immediately. If insurance premiums are not collected through the summer prepay deductions process, you will be billed for premiums. In this case, you must remit timely premium payments to continue insurance coverage.

Verifying Your Summer Prepay Deductions

Check your spring earnings statements to verify if you had summer prepay deductions taken from your paychecks.  Summer prepay deductions appear as a lump sum with all pre-tax deductions added together and identified as  ‘PREBTX’ and all post-tax deductions added together under ‘PREATX.’  PREBTX stands for before tax or pre-tax and ‘PREATX’ stands for after tax or post-tax.

In the fall, your regular insurance premium deductions will resume as payroll deductions starting with your October 1 paycheck.

What Happens if You Have a ‘Status Change’ During the Summer?

Are you getting married this summer, adopting a baby, terminating employment? If you anticipate a status change during the summer, contact your human resources office immediately about the impact to your insurance benefits.

For example, if you are getting married and need to change from single to family health insurance coverage, you should complete a new health insurance application within 30 days of the date of your marriage. Your new spouse (and family) will be covered as of the date of the marriage.  The new rate will be deducted from your prepayments according to the new level of coverage, and you may have to pay an additional portion of the premium if the coverage increases.

If your anticipated fall 2017 employment status changes, refunds may be issued for premiums paid beyond your coverage end date. Your coverage will end at the end of the month in which your employment terminates.

If you will be terminating employment, and will not return in the fall, contact your human resources office immediately to determine when your insurance coverage will end.  

Questions

If you have questions, contact your human resources office.

 

Source: UW Service Center

WRS Contribution Rates to Decrease in 2018

The Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) has announced that contributions paid by Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) employees will decrease for most employees effective January 1, 2018. WRS contribution rates are set and adjusted annually.  

According to ETF, the 2018 rate changes are primarily due to higher favorable WRS Trust Fund investment performance.

Contribution rates for UW employees are determined by WRS employment category. Most UW employees are covered by the General/Teacher WRS category. High level administrators (chancellors, presidents, vice presidents, provosts) are covered by the Executive category.  Employees whose main duties are related to law enforcement or the protection of the public (police officers, fire fighters) are covered by the Protective category.

2018 WRS Required Contribution Rates

 

General/Teacher

Executives

Protectives w/Social Security

 

2017

2018

2017

2018

2017

2018

Employee Contribution

 

6.8%

6.7%

6.8%

6.7%

6.8%

6.7%

Employer Contribution

 

6.8%

6.7%

6.8%

6.7%

10.6%

10.7%

Total Contribution

 

13.6%

13.4%

13.6%

13.4%

17.4%

17.4%

The 2018 rates will apply to all paychecks paid in 2018 (beginning January 2, 2018 for Faculty/Academic Staff and Limited Appointees paid monthly and January 4, 2018 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

Source: UW Service Center

Life Insurance Considerations Throughout Your Employment

The UW offers a variety of term life insurance plans for employees to consider.  Participation and coverage amounts will vary by individual depending on specific life circumstances and age.  See UW Life Insurance Plans for eligibility, coverage levels and premiums.  

How Much Life Insurance do you Need?

For information to help decide life insurance needs, see the article How Much Life Insurance is Enough? Use the insurance needs calculator referenced in the article. These resources may help decide how much life insurance is needed at different times during your career.

Enrollment Opportunities

  • New Employee/Newly Eligible - New employees and newly eligible employees are offered the opportunity to enroll in the life insurance plans offered by the UW. There may be opportunities during your career to make changes to coverage.
  • Continuing Employee - If employees did not enroll in life insurance as a new employee or newly eligible employee, or did not enroll in all the available plans, they may be able to enroll during their career if they have a qualifying life event such as the birth or adoption of a child, marriage, divorce.  See Family Status Change for details.  An Employment Change may also provide an enrollment opportunity.

    Employees may also be eligible to enroll through Evidence of Insurability (EOI), which requires medical underwriting. Cancellation or reduction of coverage is also available and appropriate for some individuals.

    It is important for employees to revisit their life insurance plan participation, coverage and premium levels throughout their active employment as insurance needs change.
  • Terminating or Retiring Employee - While the UW life insurance plans provide coverage during an employee’s working life, continued coverage upon termination or retirement from the UW is not guaranteed.  Employees may have either a conversion or continuation option for the UW life insurance plans. Not all plans offer these options.

Conversion vs Continuation

When continuing a life insurance plan typically former employees will continue as a group member.  Depending on the employee’s circumstances, this may be a more economical choice than converting the insurance plan.

When converting a current life insurance plan typically employees will convert to an individual policy.  This choice is typically more costly than continuation.

UW Life Insurance Plans and Conversion or Continuation Options Offered

(All plans are term life insurance.  Benefits are payable only for covered events while coverage is in effect) 

 

State Group Life

Individual & Family Life

UW Employees, Inc. Life

Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D)

University Insurance Association (UIA)  Life

Options Upon Termination from Employment (not retirement)

Conversion; Continuation of employee coverage if employee has 20 plus years of WRS service.

Conversion to individual policy.

Conversion to individual policy.

Conversion to individual policy.

Conversion; Continuation if the termination is due to disability as outlined in the plan certificate.

Options Upon Retirement

Continuation of employee coverage; conversion of Spouse/DP & Dependent coverage.

Conversion to individual policy.

Conversion to individual policy.

Continuation of group policy.

Continuation of group policy or conversion to individual policy (employee choice).

 

For information on life insurance enrollment, conversion or continuation and the associated enrollment deadlines, visit the UW System Employee Benefits website

Contact your human resources office for more information.

Source: UW Service Center

State Group Life Insurance Definition of 'Dependent' Changed Effective May 1, 2017

The Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) announced changes to the definition of 'dependent' for the State Group Life Insurance program. The changes were effective May 1, 2017 and broaden the definition of 'dependent' to expand coverage. Changes include:

  • Removal of the requirement that the dependent be unmarried.
  • Removal of the requirement that the dependent be more than 14 days old.
  • Changed the upper age limit for being considered a dependent from the end of the calendar year in which the dependent attains age 25 to attainment of age 26.
  • Removal of the requirement that the employee be responsible for at least 50% of support and maintenance for the dependent.

In summary, a dependent can be covered until they attain age 26 regardless of their marital, educational or financial status.  The definition of 'dependent' can be found in Wis. Admin. Code § ETF 10.01(2)(a)

Source: UW Service Center

Faculty, Academic Staff and Limited Appointees: Option to Bank Vacation in an Annual Leave Reserve Account

Faculty, Academic Staff and Limited Appointees (FA/AS/LI) with a 12-month appointment are eligible to bank vacation into an Annual Leave Reserve Account (ALRA) after they have completed 10 fiscal years of employment. 

Example: 

  • Employee completes 10 fiscal years in May, 2016.
  • July 1, 2016 (beginning of 11th fiscal year) employee is eligible to accrue vacation to be banked.
  • July 1, 2017 (beginning of 12th fiscal year) employee is offered the option of banking up to 40 hours of vacation or vacation carryover as of 6/30/17.

Note: Employee is eligible to bank up to 80 hours per year of vacation in ALRA after completing 25 years of employment.

How is Vacation Allocated?

FA/AS/LI vacation is allocated on a fiscal year basis. Unused vacation can be carried over into the following fiscal year, but must be used by the end of that fiscal year or it will be lost. 

Your July 2017 Leave Report

Your July Leave Report will indicate how many hours of unused vacation you are eligible to bank into ALRA. You are allowed to bank any unused vacation or vacation carryover as of June 30, 2017 (up to the allowable hours).  If your institution uses Self-Service, you may be able to convert hours into your ALRA account via Self-Service with your July leave reporting.  Check with your Payroll Coordinator to see if you may use the Self-Service option.

If you meet the Eligibility Requirements for ALRA:

  • You may bank vacation in an ALRA account to use at a future date (banked hours do not expire).  You may accumulate up to 40 hours per fiscal year in your ALRA account after completing 10 fiscal years of employment and up to 80 hours after completing 25 fiscal years of employment. There is no limit to the total number of hours (balance) in your ALRA account.
  • With your supervisor\'s approval, you may use ALRA at any time. ALRA can be used in any circumstance in which you are allowed to use paid leave.
  • If you terminate employment, any unused ALRA will be paid to you at your current wage rate as a lump sum payment.
  • Banking Schedule (the amount of leave that can be banked is prorated if your appointment is part-time)
    • You are eligible to bank up to 40 hours of vacation into ALRA per year after completing 10 fiscal years of employment.  Option to bank is the fiscal year following eligibility. (See example above)
    • You are eligible to bank up to 80 hours of vacation into ALRA per year after completing  25 fiscal years of employment.  Option to bank is the fiscal year following eligibility. (See example above)
    • If you elect to bank hours to ALRA, the vacation hours you want to bank will first come from any remaining vacation carryover you had as of June 30, 2017. If you allocated more unused vacation to ALRA than you had as vacation carryover, the additional hours to be banked will come from your vacation balance as of June 30.

If you have questions, please contact the Payroll Coordinator.

Source: UW Service Center

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

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

WRS News Online
for Non-Retired Members

WRS News thumbnail

WRS News for Retirees

WRS News thumbnail
Current issue:
May 2015
Follow @WI_ETF on Twitter!

Administrator Newsletters

ETF Employer Bulletin

ETF Employer Bulletin