Tax-Sheltered Annuity (TSA) Annual Fee Deduction: What is "TSA Fee?"

Good news for those contributing to the UW Tax-Sheltered Annuity 403(b) Program! The annual fee for 2013 is $12 — reduced from $15 in 2012. This fee is deducted only in the years you contribute to the program.

If you are currently contributing to the TSA Program, your first paycheck in 2013 will have a "TSA FEE" of $12.00. For unclassified employees this is the January 2 paycheck, and for classified employees this is the January 10 paycheck.

Employees who start contributing after their first 2013 paycheck will have the $12 fee automatically deducted at the time of their first 2013 TSA contribution.

The TSA fee is deducted only once a year for each employee who contributes to the program. This very low administrative fee is used to defray costs of managing the program, including staying in compliance with IRS regulations.

Source: UW System Administration

Review Your Address Information by January 6, 2013 for the Annual W-2 Tax Form Mailing

In late January 2013, your W-2 tax form will be mailed to you. An electronic copy of the W-2 form will also be available in the My UW System portal.

Your W-2 will be mailed to your HOME address unless you already have, or are adding, a MAILING address. If you have a MAILING address, your W-2 will be sent to this address and not your HOME address. If you have neither address listed, then your W-2 will be sent to your OFFICE LOCATION.

Please take a few moments to review your address information to make sure your W-2 is sent to the correct address.

Reviewing Your MAILING Address

You may review your MAILING address online in My UW System.

Once you've logged into the portal, look for the "Personal Information" box. To review your MAILING address, click on the "Update my Personal Information" link in the "Personal Information" box. After clicking this link, you will need to log in again.

Your current MAILING address will be displayed in the "Addresses" box. If this is not the address where you want your W-2 form sent, you may change your address by choosing the "Change addresses" tab below the "Addresses" box. Then choose the "edit" tab next to your MAILING address. Review the following instructions on how to update your MAILING address: https://uwservice.wisc.edu/help/personal-information.php.

Reviewing Your HOME Address

You may review your HOME address online in My UW System under the Work Record tab.

Once you've logged into the portal, look for the "Personal Information" box. Your HOME address will appear in this box. To change your HOME address, click on the "Update my Personal Information" link in the "Personal Information" box. After clicking this link, you will need to log in again. Review the following instructions on how to update your HOME address: https://uwservice.wisc.edu/help/personal-information.php.

If you have trouble accessing the My UW System portal, please contact the Payroll Office for your institution.

Source: UW Service Center

Review Your Address Information by January 6, 2013 for the Annual W-2 Tax Form Mailing

In late January 2013, your W-2 tax form will be mailed to you. An electronic copy of the W-2 form will also be available in the My UW portal.

Your W-2 will be mailed to your HOME address unless you already have, or are adding, a MAILING address. If you have a MAILING address, your W-2 will be sent to this address and not your HOME address. If you have neither address listed, then your W-2 will be sent to your OFFICE LOCATION.

Please take a few moments to review your address information to make sure your W-2 is sent to the correct address.

Reviewing Your MAILING Address

You may review your MAILING address online in My UW under the Work Record tab.

Once you've logged into the portal, look for the "Personal Information" box. To review your MAILING address, click on the "Update my Personal Information" link in the "Personal Information" box. After clicking this link, you will need to log in again.

Your current MAILING address will be displayed in the "Addresses" box. If this is not the address where you want your W-2 form sent, you may change your address by choosing the "Change addresses" tab below the "Addresses" box. Then choose the "edit" tab next to your MAILING address. Review the following instructions on how to update your MAILING address: https://uwservice.wisc.edu/help/personal-information.php.

Reviewing Your HOME Address

You may review your HOME address online in My UW under the Work Record tab.

Once you've logged into the portal, look for the "Personal Information" box. Your HOME address will appear in this box. To change your HOME address, click on the "Update my Personal Information" link in the "Personal Information" box. After clicking this link, you will need to log in again. Review the following instructions on how to update your HOME address: https://uwservice.wisc.edu/help/personal-information.php.

If you have trouble accessing the portal, or have other issues related to reviewing/updating your address, please contact the UW Service Center Support Team: Monday-Friday, 7:45 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. via phone (888-298-0141 or 608-262-0600), email (ag1@sc.wisc.edu), web form (https://uwservice.wisc.edu/help/webform.php), and Live Chat.

Source: UW Service Center

2013 Insurance Premium and WRS Contribution Rates

Benefit changes made during the Annual Benefit Enrollment period and premiums for 2013 coverage will be reflected on your check dated December 13th for classified employees (paid bi-weekly) and January 2nd for unclassified employees (paid monthly). Premiums will increase for health insurance, Dental Wisconsin and EPIC Benefits+. There will be no change to VSP Vision Insurance premiums. 2013 insurance premiums are available online at: http://uwservice.wisc.edu/premiums/.

How to Check your 2013 Benefit Enrollments

Your benefit summary is available online. Log in to the My UW System portal (UW-Madison users should log into My UW and click the Work Record tab) and click on the "View Benefits Summary Detail" link in the Benefit Information box to see your benefit summary. Once you see your benefit summary, enter "01/01/2013" in the date field above the summary and click "Go" to see your 2013 elections. Note - if you enrolled in the Employee Reimbursement Account (ERA) program for 2013, you will not see your 2013 election amount in the benefit summary until late December. Your 2012 ERA election will be displayed in the benefit summary until the 2013 ERA elections are loaded to the payroll system.

Individual and Family Life Insurance and UW Employees, Inc. Life Insurance Premiums

Premiums for Individual and Family Life Insurance and UW Employees, Inc. Life Insurance are based on your age as of January 1st of the year. If you move into a new premium age category as of January 1, 2013, your premium will increase on the check payable December 13th for classified employees and January 2nd for unclassified employees. Any premium change due to coverage level increases made during the Individual and Family Annual Increase Option period will also begin on these checks.

Employee Reimbursement Account (ERA) and Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) Contributions

If you enrolled in the ERA program for 2013, your first deduction associated with your 2013 election will be on the first check payable in 2013 - January 2nd for unclassified employees and January 10th for classified employees.

The Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) employee contribution rate for 2013 will increase from 5.9% to 6.65% for all employees except those covered by the Executive WRS category. This change will also occur on the first check payable in 2013.

Source: UW System Administration

Unclassified Monthly Pay Date for December Earnings is January 2, 2013

If you are an Unclassified employee paid on the 1st of each month, this is a reminder that the Unclassified monthly pay date for December earnings is Wednesday, January 2, 2013. January 2 is the pay date since January 1 (New Year's Day) is a Federal Reserve Holiday.

When a pay date falls on a Federal Reserve holiday or a weekend, the pay date is usually the previous business day. An exception to this is the Unclassified monthly pay date that falls on New Year's Day, January 1.

To avoid tax-related issues, the January 1 pay date for December earnings is paid in the new calendar year and must be the first "official banking business day" following the New Year's holiday. The "official banking business day" is defined as a calendar day other than a Saturday, Sunday or a Federal Reserve holiday.

Source: UW Service Center

Wisconsin Retirement System Annual Statement of Benefits

If you were covered by the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) in 2011, your WRS annual Statement of Benefits is now available online in the My UW System portal (UW-Madison users can access My UW, then click on the Work Record tab). Log in to the portal, go to the "Benefit Information" module, and click on the "Statements" tab. Click on "ETF Annual Statement of Benefits (WRS) Issued 2012" to view and print your Statement. In the "Benefit Information" module, you will also find a link to the WRS Explanation of Statement of Benefits.

You are encouraged to review your Statement. It provides you with information about your individual WRS account as of January 1, 2012. The Statement includes:

  • 2011 WRS earnings and creditable service
  • Total years of WRS creditable service
  • The 2011 effective rate of interest and contributions applied to your account
  • Additional contribution information (if applicable)
  • Primary beneficiary, if you filed a beneficiary designation since 1982
  • Separation benefit and death benefit calculations
  • Formula benefit data and money purchase balance information that shows the data used to calculate your retirement benefit
  • Your Variable account excess/deficiency as of January 1, 2012 (if you participate in the Variable Fund)

Information to Help You Understand Your WRS Statement of Benefits

Please note that you will not receive a paper copy of the Statement.

If you have questions, please contact your institution's benefits office.

Source: UW System Administration

2013 Tax-Sheltered Annuity and Wisconsin Deferred Compensation Limits Announced

The IRS announced the 2013 contribution limits for the UW Tax-Sheltered Annuity 403(b) Program (TSA) and Wisconsin Deferred Compensation 457 Program (WDC).

In 2013, employees may contribute a maximum of $17,500 to the TSA Program. Employees age 50 and over can contribute an additional $5,500 for a total of $23,000. These same limits apply to WDC. Employees can contribute the maximum to both programs for a total of $35,000 (under age 50) or $46,000 (age 50 or older).

If you have 15 years or more of service with the UW, you may have an additional "catch-up" opportunity with the TSA Program. Check with your human resources/benefits office to see if you are eligible. For more information, see the web page on TSA limits.

Both pre-tax and after-tax 403(b) contributions count towards the annual limit. For example, if you are under 50, you could contribute $8,500 pre-tax and $9,000 Roth after-tax to each program.

Employees currently enrolled in the TSA Program can easily change TSA contributions for 2013 by submitting a Salary Reduction Agreement (SRA) to their human resources/benefits office. See the TSA website for more information about enrolling in the program.

If you want to change your deduction for 2013, you should submit your TSA Salary Reduction Agreement to your human resources/benefits office in early December. Clearly mark the form as calendar year 2013.

To change your WDC contribution or enroll in the WDC Program, call the WDC office at 1-877-457-9327 or enroll online.

WDC changes must be made with Great-West Retirement Services in early December 2012, so that they have adequate time to electronically remit the information to the payroll office.

If you want to maximize your TSA and/or WDC contributions for 2013, see the chart below to determine how much to contribute per paycheck.

Number of Paychecks Annually 2013 Annual Maximum 2013 Amount per Paycheck
9 paychecks (under age 50) $17,500.00 $1,944.44
9 paychecks (age 50 and over) $23,000.00 $2,555.55
12 paychecks (under age 50) $17,500.00 $1,458.33
12 paychecks (age 50 and over) $23,000.00 $1,916.66
26 paychecks (under age 50) $17,500.00 $673.07
26 paychecks (age 50 and over) $23,000.00 $884.61

Note: No deductions are taken during the summer for employees paid on an academic year basis (9 paychecks annually).

Source: UW System Administration

2013 WRS Contribution Rates

The Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) announced the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) contribution rates for 2013. Most UW employees are covered by either the general or teacher WRS category. In 2013, the total WRS contribution rate for employees covered by the general and teacher WRS categories will increase from 11.8% to 13.3%. In general, the total contribution rate is split equally between the employee and employer so your contribution rate will increase from 5.9% to 6.65% in 2013. Employees covered by the protective WRS category (police officers and fire fighters, for example) will also contribute 6.65% of covered salary to the WRS in 2013.

There are many factors that impact the WRS contribution rate but contributions will increase in 2013 for primarily two reasons: past investment losses and recent changes to the structure of the WRS. See ETF's press release for details.

WRS contribution rates are set on an annual basis. The 2013 contribution rate will apply to all checks payable in 2013 beginning on January 2, 2013 for unclassified employees paid monthly and January 10, 2013 for classified employees paid bi-weekly. As a reminder, WRS contributions are taken on a pre-tax basis for state and federal tax purposes.

Source: UW System Administration

UW-Madison Benefits Fair on October 9

The annual Benefits and Resource Fair will be held at Union South on Tuesday, October 9 from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. Employees will have an opportunity to meet with health insurance plan vendors, tax-sheltered annuity representatives and other benefits plan vendors. Informational presentations will be held throughout the day. Many campus resource organizations will also be represented at the fair giving employees an opportunity to learn about many of the services offered on campus.

See the Employee Benefits and Resource Fair website for more details.

Source: UW-Madison Office of Human Resources

Update on the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) Statement of Benefits and Annual UW Staff Benefit Statement

During April or May each year, employees typically receive the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) Statement of Benefits and/or UW Staff Benefit Statement. There are changes this year in the distribution of both statements.

The annual WRS Statement of Benefits provides you with your WRS account balance and activity for the prior year, as well as projected benefits. The distribution of the statements has been delayed due to technology/information system changes at the Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) necessary for the implementation of recent legislation. Once the statement is released, it will be available in the UW Portal (under Benefit Information - Statements). It is anticipated that the statement will be available later this year.

The UW Staff Benefit Statement provided a snapshot of your benefits (benefit plan enrollment, coverage level and premium) and projected annual benefit costs. The last statement was produced in April 2011 and that statement is available in the My UW Portal under Benefit Information - Statements.

The UW Staff Benefit statement will no longer be produced because current benefit information is available in the UW Portal at the bottom of the Benefit Information Tab (click on View Benefits Summary Detail). Your benefit enrollment and premium information (both current and year-to-date) is also available on your earnings statement.

Source: UW System Administration

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: Its Impact on Your Benefits

On June 28, 2012, the United States Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). You may wonder what that means for your health insurance through your employment at the UW. Many of the provisions in ACA have already been included in the State Group Health Insurance (SGH) program, while other changes will occur within the next few years. It is unlikely that the ACA will affect your ongoing eligibility to participate in the SGH plan.

ACA has many aspects, and its impact is far-reaching. We have not attempted to address all of the provisions of ACA but have addressed those that affect your current SGH coverage below.

You may have heard about health insurance exchanges under ACA. The exchange is a government-regulated marketplace of insurance plans with different levels of coverage, offered to individuals without health care or to small companies. Your health insurance is provided through a large employer and should be unaffected by the exchange. However, the exchange may benefit employees who are not eligible for the state group health insurance plan. At this time, there is not a health insurance exchange in Wisconsin.

ACA is being phased in over a number of years. For 2013, you must be provided a Summary of Benefits Coverage (SBC) if enrolled in SGH insurance. That notice will be provided via the It's Your Choice health insurance books in October. You will also receive a required notice from your health plan about its medical loss ratio. All of the health plans met or exceeded the medical loss ratio requirements under ACA.

The following changes will be made to the SGH insurance program to comply with ACA:

Changes that Impact Your Health Insurance Coverage
Issue Impact on State Group Health Insurance Plan Date of Change
Employee Reimbursement Account (ERA) - Medical Expense Account - Maximum contribution The annual maximum contribution in Medical Expense Account lowered to $2,500 from $7,500 January 1, 2013
Women's Preventive Services* - Requires coverage of specified preventive services at 100%. Prohibits cost-sharing (such as coinsurance) for specified preventative services.

The following services* for women will be provided at no cost (no co-insurance)

January 1, 2013

ACA also mandates a number of requirements that state group health insurance already provides, such as:

  • Preventive services* are covered in full; not subject to coinsurance (1/1/12).
  • No pre-existing condition waiting periods for late enrollees. Annual open enrollment offered (1/1/12).
  • Employee Reimbursement Account (ERA) - Medical Expense Account - Over-the-counter drugs no longer eligible for reimbursement (1/1/11)
  • Removal of lifetime benefit max (1/1/11)
  • Dependent eligibility is based solely on the child's age until the end of the month in which the child turns 26 (1/1/11)
  • Access to an emergency room without prior authorization
  • Access to a pediatrician for children if a primary care provider must be selected
  • Access to OB/GYNs without referral
  • An internal and external appeals process
  • Prohibition of rescission (retroactive cancellation) of a policy back to the effective date of coverage, except in cases of fraud or intentional misrepresentation

*IMPORTANT NOTE: The coding that the provider uses to bill for the service impacts whether or not you will pay a coinsurance. For example, if you go in for a preventive service and discuss treatment of an illness or injury, the provider may bill part of the service related to the illness or injury differently so you would pay a coinsurance for that portion of the visit.

Source: UW System Administration

Fall Enrollment Period Announced

The dates for the fall enrollment period are October 8 - November 2, 2012.

During the enrollment period, eligible employees have the chance to enroll in the State Health Insurance program, change health plans, enroll in any benefit plans offering an open enrollment, and/or enroll in the Employee Reimbursement Account (ERA) program for the following calendar year.

In addition to the health insurance program, Dental Wisconsin and VSP will offer open enrollment opportunities.

Detailed benefit information will be available in late September online at the 2013 Benefit Enrollment and Change Period website. Please also watch your email for details.

Source: UW System Administration

What is a Medical Loss Ratio and Why Did My Health Plan Send Me a Notice About It?

On June 28, 2012, the United States Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). ACA is being phased in over a number of years. A new requirement for 2013 is that your health plan must provide you with a notice about whether it met the minimum requirements for its medical loss ratio (MLR) for the prior contract year (i.e., 2011). All of the health plans met or exceeded the medical loss ratio requirements under ACA.

The ACA sets a minimum MLR of 85%. This means that for every $1 the plan collects in premium, $.85 must be used to pay claims or to improve health care quality. If the plan fails to meet the MLR, it must send a rebate to the insured members of the group who paid the premium.

You may receive a notice from your health plan by email or by U.S. Mail that discusses the MLR and the rebate. The language in the notice is quite technical and is informational only. You will not receive a rebate this year because your health plan met or exceeded the MLR requirement.

For more information on the impact of the ACA on your health insurance, please see the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: Its Impact on Your Benefits article.

Source: UW System Administration

WageWorks Email Error

On June 29, employees who have an active Medical Employee Reimbursement Account (ERA) for 2012 received an email from WageWorks (formerly FBMC). Please disregard the email; it contained information not pertinent to your plan. WageWorks apologizes for the confusion and any inconvenience.

At this time, you may log into www.wageworks.com to view your address and email address; however, any corrections or changes may not be made at this time. Full election information, including Direct Deposit information, will be available July 16, 2012. You are able to see your correct ERA contributions on your earnings statement at my.wisconsin.edu.

If you contact WageWorks and are asked for a "PIN" number, please use the last four digits of your Social Security number.

WageWorks will issue new ID cards to participants by July 16th. The new card cannot be used before that date.

More information about the transition to WageWorks from myFBMC can be found in the letter previously sent to participating employees.

Source: UW System Administration

2012 Graduate Assistant Benefits Seminars and Drop-in Sessions

Benefits Seminars and Drop-in Sessions are available to Graduate Assistants to assist them in learning about the UW benefits package, and to provide them with assistance in completing applications.

Sessions begin in late July and run through early September. Check Graduate Assistants Benefits Seminars and Drop-In Sessions for a complete schedule.

New Graduate Assistants are strongly encouraged to attend a seminar or drop-in session. Any questions regarding these events can be directed to: benefits@ohr.wisc.edu.

Source: UW-Madison Office of Human Resources

Study of the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS)

The Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF), the Office of State Employment Relations (OSER) and the Department of Administration (DOA) has released a study of the WRS as required by 2011 Wisconsin Act 32. The act required the study to address:

  • the establishment of a defined contribution plan as an option; and
  • allow employees to stop paying WRS contributions and limit benefits for these employees.

Given the financial health and risk-sharing features of the WRS, the study recommendation is that neither an optional defined contribution plan nor allowing employees to stop paying WRS contributions should be implemented at this time.

The full text of the study is available online.

Source: UW System Administration

National Report Rates WRS as "Solid Performer"

According to a recent report by the Pew Center on the States, the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) is a solid performer for both pensions and retiree health care. The report analyzed state retirement system data across the United States from 2010. While many pension systems are seeing a widening gap between the pension plans' assets and its pension obligations, the WRS remains well funded.

See the full report for details.

Source: UW System Administration

Possible Changes to Physician Plus Provider Network for 2013

Physicians Plus announced that it is ending its current provider network contracts with many UW Hospitals and Clinics, including American Family Children's Hospital, in 2013. This means that these providers will no longer be an "in-network" provider.

During this fall's open enrollment period, you should carefully review the new provider network to determine if you want to remain with Physician Plus or move to a different health plan.

Current members will be notified prior to the fall enrollment period of all providers who will no longer be available in 2013. Physicians Plus has released preliminary provider network information for 2013. Please note that the final 2013 network provider list is not yet available.

Source: UW System Administration

Employee Notice Regarding Voluntary Union Dues Deductions

Employees in the PERSA, Trades, SEIU and WEAC bargaining units may have voluntary unions dues deducted from their paycheck. You must complete an authorization form and submit it to your Payroll office to start the deduction. You can make this election at any time.

Union dues will continue to be deducted from your paycheck until you file a revocation form. You will have an annual opportunity to stop the deduction. The original authorization form indicated that union dues could be stopped at any time. Employees who filed this original authorization form will retain the ability to stop the deduction at any time.

For additional information about how to authorize union dues deductions from your paycheck and the rules about when you may cancel the deduction, see the "Notice to Employees Regarding Process for Voluntary Dues Deductions".

Source: UW System Administration

Important Changes to Employee Reimbursement Account (ERA) Program Effective July 1, 2012

Effective July 1, 2012, ERA services will move from the Fringe Benefits Management Company (FBMC) system to a new system supported by WageWorks. Please see the open letter to ERA participants for details about changes to the program effective July 1, 2012. A summary of the changes is below:

  • The ERA program will be transitioning to WageWorks from July 1 - 15, 2012
  • Do not submit any claims from July 1 - 15, 2012
  • Claims will not be processed from July 1 - 15, 2012
  • Your current myFBMC Visa Card will be deactivated on June 30, 2012 and you will receive a new WageWorks Health Care Card in early July that can be used as of July 16, 2012.
  • You will need to register for an online account on the new WageWorks website starting on July 1, 2012. Click the "Register with WageWorks now!" link after July 1st to begin the process.
  • Direct deposit information will transfer to the WageWorks system

Medical Expense and Dependent Care elections for 2012 are not impacted by this change.

Commuter/transit benefits: Parking and/or transit elections will not carry over into the new system. Orders and changes for the month of August must be made from June 11 - 30 using the current system. No action is required for participants who do not need to make changes for August. To participate in the program for September, employees must place a new order through the WageWorks system between July 16 and August 10. After that, the election cycle will return to normal. Elections made on or before the 10th of the month will be effective the first of the following month. Please see the open letter to commuter benefit participants for additional information.

See the Department of Employee Trust Funds website for additional details.

Source: UW System Administration

LifeSuite Benefits Expanded Through State Group Life Insurance Program

In May, 2011, Minnesota Life Insurance Company introduced LifeSuite, a group of services available at no cost to University employees and their immediate family members. LifeSuite includes Legal Services, Travel Assistance, and Beneficiary Financial Counseling.

A new service, Legacy Planning Services, has recently been added to LifeSuite and is now available to University employees. Legacy Planning Services provides online information to help individuals and families work through end-of-life issues. The site offers information about documenting instructions, making sure legal instruments are properly drafted, and information about funeral planning.

Eligibility

Eligibility for LifeSuite benefits is as follows:

  • Legal Services and Legacy Planning Services are available to ALL University employees and retirees.
  • The Travel Assistance service is available only to active employees who are enrolled in the State Group Life insurance program.
  • Beneficiary Financial Counseling services are available only to the beneficiaries of employees who are enrolled in State Group Life insurance program.

Enrollment

There is no need to enroll in LifeSuite. The services are available to employees simply by contacting the vendor.

Cost

There is no cost or premium for LifeSuite benefits.

Benefits

Detailed benefit information is available on the Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) website.

Source: UW System Administration

Unclassified Employees: Use of Vacation and Annual Leave Reserve Account (ALRA)

Unclassified employees (academic staff, faculty and limited) with a 12-month appointment are eligible to bank unused vacation in an Annual Leave Reserve Account (ALRA) at the beginning of their 11th fiscal year of employment. Unclassified 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.

You will be notified on your July Leave Report how many hours of vacation you are eligible to bank into ALRA. You are allowed to bank any unused vacation as of June 30th, 2012.

If you meet the eligibility requirements for ALRA:

  • You may transfer unused vacation hours into an ALRA account to use at a future date (hours do not expire).
  • You may accumulate ALRA from year to year without limit.
  • With your supervisor's approval, you may use ALRA hours at any time (can be used in any circumstance where you are allowed to use paid leave).
  • Any unused ALRA at the termination of employment will be paid to you at your current wage rate as a lump sum payment.
  • You will be offered the option of banking hours in ALRA in July following the fiscal year in which you qualify.
  • Banking Schedule (the amount of leave that can be banked is prorated if part-time).
    • You are allowed to bank up to 40 hours of vacation into ALRA per year at the beginning of your 11th fiscal year of employment.
    • You are allowed to bank up to 80 hours of vacation into ALRA per year at the beginning of your 26th fiscal year of employment.

If you elect to bank hours to ALRA, the vacation hours used will first come from any remaining Vacation Carryover you had as of June 30, 2012. If you allocated more unused vacation to ALRA than you currently have as Vacation Carryover, the additional hours to be banked then will come from your new Vacation Carryover balance as of July 1, 2012 (vacation earned in the current fiscal year).

If you have questions, please contact the Payroll Coordinator for your work unit.

Source: UW System Administration

Classified Vacation Carry-Over Available Until December 31, 2012

Classified employees who carried over any unused vacation from 2011 may use the vacation through December 31, 2012. In the past, most classified employees were required to use vacation carry-over by June 30.

Employees should follow their work unit rules regarding the scheduling and use of vacation.

Source: UW System Administration

Long-Term Care Insurance Plans Available

United of Omaha Life Insurance Company is offering two long-term care insurance plans, CASH-First and Assured Solutions Gold, to eligible University of Wisconsin Employees, Annuitants, and their spouse, domestic partner, parents and in-laws. Those eligible may apply for this insurance at any time. These voluntary purchase long-term care insurance policies are offered at a group-discounted premium and are administered locally by HealthChoice.

Long-term care insurance is designed to help protect against the high costs of long-term care if you or a family member can no longer perform activities of daily living without the need of assistance. Medicare and most health insurance will not pay for these services.

Some of the benefits of the CASH-First and Assured Solutions Gold policies include:

  • If, prior to age 65, you sustain an injury requiring home health, assisted living facility or nursing home care, your policy will pay up to two times the maximum benefit.
  • CASH-First benefits can be used any way you choose - you receive the full monthly cash benefit you select. Your cash benefit can be used to pay for out-of-pocket expenses - there's no need to collect or submit bills.
  • Many other additional benefits and features are listed in the information packet.

Employees who purchase an insurance plan through HealthChoice are also eligible for CareOptions OnLine (COOL.net) services. The CareOptions OnLine program can assist you or family members with issues related to wellness, illness, disability, or aging.

If you are interested in exploring the benefits of these two long-term care insurance plans, you may:

For general information about the group long-term care insurance plans visit: http://etf.wi.gov/members/benefits_ltci.htm

Source: UW System Administration

New State Group Life Insurance Provision to Add or Increase Employee Coverage

Effective May 1, 2012, employees covered by the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) may enroll in State Group Life Insurance (Employee Basic Coverage), or add one level of employee coverage within 30 days of gaining a dependent (spouse, domestic partner or child). There are five levels of employee coverage - Basic, Supplemental and one, two or three units of Additional coverage. Each level of coverage is equal to one times an employee's highest calendar year WRS earnings.

Employees may add one unit of employee coverage within 30 days of every addition of a dependent. For example, an employee could add a level of employee coverage at marriage and another unit with each child until the maximum employee coverage level is reached.

Coverage is effective on the 1st of the month on or following receipt of the application.

There are no changes to the eligibility rules for Spouse/Domestic Partner & Dependent coverage - employees may enroll in this coverage within 30 days of gaining a dependent (spouse/DP or child) for the first time.

If an eligible employee does not carry State Group Life coverage and gets married (previously had no other dependents such as children), the employee could add one level of employee coverage (Basic coverage), and one or two units of Spouse/DP & Dependent coverage. There is no opportunity to add additional levels of Spouse/DP & Dependent coverage, or enroll Spouse/DP & Dependent coverage if the employee already has other dependents.

Employees are also eligible to apply to enroll in or add additional coverage levels at any time through Medical Evidence of Insurability (acceptance is not guaranteed).

This new provision applies to all family status changes that occur on or after May 1, 2012.

Please see the updated State Group Life Insurance plan brochure for additional information: http://etf.wi.gov/publications/et2101.pdf.

An updated enrollment application is available online at: http://uwservice.wisc.edu/docs/forms/et2304.pdf.

Source: UW System Administration

State Group Life Insurance Annual Update

An employee's State Group Life Insurance coverage level and premium have historically been based on the employee's highest calendar year of Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) earnings (typically the prior year's earnings) and the employee's age as of April 1st. Due to issues surrounding the changes in the WRS contribution rates during the summer of 2011, the annual process to update an employee's WRS earnings for State Group Life Insurance will not occur in 2012. This means that an employee's coverage level will be the same for 2012 as it was in 2011. However, premiums will be updated if an employee moves to a different premium category due to age or if there is a premium change associated with the employee's age (premiums for some age brackets are decreasing). Any premium changes will be effective with premiums paid for May coverage (paid April 26th for classified employees and paid May 1st for unclassified employees).

If a covered employee (or retiree) dies in 2012, Minnesota Life, the underwriter of the State Group Life Insurance plan, will confirm the employee's 2011 WRS earnings with the UW, and the death benefit will be based on the employee's highest year of WRS earnings (even if the highest year of earnings occurred in 2011).

The next earnings update will occur in 2013 when both 2011 and 2012 WRS earnings will be loaded to Minnesota Life's system, and coverage will be based on the highest year. No retroactive premiums will be due.

The 2012 premiums are available online at: http://uwservice.wisc.edu/premiums/#life.

If you have any questions, please contact your institution's payroll and benefits office.

Source: UW System Administration

Summer Benefit Deductions for Unclassified Nine-Month Employees - New "May Multiples" Process

Unclassified academic year (nine-month) employees, who are expected to return to employment for the fall semester, are required to have multiple benefit deductions taken from earnings paid during the spring semester to cover insurance premiums over the summer months. Previously, three additional insurance deductions were taken from the June 1st paycheck to maintain insurance coverage over the summer. In the past, this was referred to as "May Multiples."

Due to an increase in the employee health insurance premium, a decision was made to spread these multiple insurance deductions over several months to lessen the impact of having three additional insurance premium deductions for each benefit plan taken from the June 1st paycheck. These deductions will now be referred to as "Summer Prepay" and will be taken as illustrated in the chart below. Please note that these Summer Prepay deductions will be taken along with your regular monthly insurance deductions.

If these additional deductions are taken and it is later determined that you are not returning to employment for the fall semester, refunds may be due. If your department/division determines that you are eligible for Summer Prepay deductions, it is not a guarantee of a summer or fall employment contract.

IMPORTANT: The chart below illustrates how deductions will be taken for a typical employee who is eligible for Summer Prepay deductions. Your individual situation may vary. Your division/department/benefits office office will determine how your employment situation and/or your end date impact your eligibility for Summer Prepay deductions.

Schedule of Summer Prepay Insurance Deductions
Benefit Plan Premium(s) to be Taken Paycheck on Which Premium(s) Taken
  • State Group Health Insurance
  • EPIC Benefits
  • Dental Wisconsin
  • VSP Vision Insurance
  • Individual & Family Life Insurance
  • AD&D Insurance
  • UW Employees, Inc. Life Insurance

Regular premium deduction PLUS one Summer premium deduction

Two premiums will be taken for each plan on the following paychecks:

  • March 30
  • May 1
  • June 1
  • State Group Life
  • Income Continuation Insurance

Regular premium deduction

March 30

Regular premium deduction PLUS two Summer premium deductions

May 1

Regular premium deduction PLUS one Summer premium deduction

June 1

  • Employee Reimbursement Account
  • Tax-Sheltered Annuity Account
  • Wisconsin Deferred Compensation

These plans are NOT eligible for Summer Prepay deductions - an academic year employee will receive nine deductions per year for these plans

Summer prepay deductions will appear as a lump sum amount in your earnings statement. All deductions taken pre-tax (most medical-related premiums and portion of State Group Life) 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." Your regular benefit deductions for the month will continue to be listed under the plan name. For example, if you carry family Dean Health Insurance and Single VSP Insurance, you will see a $201 deduction under Dean Health Plan and a $5.24 deduction under Vision Service Plan (VSP). These deductions are typically taken on a pre-tax basis. If you have one extra deduction for each plan, there will be a total of $206.24 ($201.00 + $5.24) listed under Prebtx on each earnings statement impacted by the additional deductions.

If you have questions, please contact your institution's payroll and benefits office.

Source: UW System Administration

Annual Health Insurance Satisfaction Survey

Each year the Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) contracts with a survey vendor to conduct the Consumer Assessment of Health Care Systems (CAHPS) survey. This year, ETF has contracted with Morpace, a consumer research firm, to conduct a survey of selected state and University employees who are participants in the State Group Health insurance program. The survey began the week of March 5 and is expected to be completed in May or June.

The University of Wisconsin System has approved employee participation in the survey during scheduled work hours without loss of pay. Since the survey is a random sampling, not all employees will be contacted. Employees who do receive the survey may participate, and can rest assured that it is legitimate.

Surveys will be sent to employees' work email. Employees who do not respond will receive a follow-up letter sent to their home address. Survey responses will be kept confidential.

Source: University of Wisconsin Service Center

Duplicate Tax Statement Requests

Duplicate tax statements for 2011 W-2, 1042-S, and Fellowship/Scholarship informational letters are available in My UW System. To print a duplicate tax statement view the Tax Statements tab in the Payroll Information module .

Duplicate tax statements are also available by completing a Duplicate Tax Statement Request: http://uwservice.wisc.edu/tax/duplicate-statement-request.php

Duplicate tax statement requests are processed and statements are mailed to employees within 10 days of the request receipt.

Requests for 2011 duplicates are processed at no charge. Processing fees for other years are:

  • Requests for duplicates from the previous 2 - 5 years are $5.00 per statement.
  • Requests for duplicates from the previous 6 or more years are $10.00 per statement.

Submit a check payable to the University of Wisconsin for the correct dollar amount. Duplicates will not be processed or issued without payment. Mail the check to: UW Service Center, 21 N Park Street, Suite 5101, Madison, WI 53715.

Source: University of Wisconsin Service Center

Distribution of 1042-S Forms

The 1042-S Forms (Foreign Person's U.S. Source Income Subject to Withholding) have been distributed to employees.

The 1042-S Forms are now available electronically to employees who elected electronic distribution of their 1042-S Form through GLACIER (the online system used to handle data collection for UW foreign nationals).

On March 12, hard copy 1042-S Forms were mailed via U.S. mail to employees who did not elect electronic distribution through GLACIER. 1042-S Forms will be posted in My UW System as soon as possible after distribution of the forms is completed.

As a reminder, the deadline for filing state and federal income tax returns is April 17, 2012.

Source: UW Service Center

Final 2011 WRS Interest Rates and Delay in Annual WRS Statement of Benefits

The Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) released the final Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) interest rates and annuity adjustments for 2011. The Core Fund effective rate of interest is 1.5% and the Variable Fund effective rate of interest is -3.0%. This is the amount of interest your WRS account will receive for 2011. If you are in the Variable Fund, that portion of your WRS account will lose 3% for 2011.

For detailed information, including how retirement annuities will be impacted by last year's investment returns, please see ETF's press release and open letter to retirees.

Employees usually receive their annual Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) Statement of Benefits in late March/early April every year. Due to the implementation of the changes to WRS contributions during the summer of 2011, ETF has indicated that the statement will be delayed and it is not yet known when the statement will be available. Once the statement is released, it will be available in My UW System (under Benefit Information - Statements).

Source: UW System Administration

Social Security Tax Rate Reduction Extended Through December 31, 2012

The 2% Social Security tax rate reduction (from 6.20% to 4.20%) has been extended by Congress through December 31, 2012. The tax rate reduction had been in effect for 2011, and then temporarily extended through February 29, 2012. This reduced Social Security withholding will have no effect on employees' future Social Security benefits.

The Social Security wage base, the amount of an employee's salary that can be taxed for Social Security purposes, has risen from $106,800 in 2011 to $110,100 for 2012. This means that the first $110,100 of an employee's wages are taxable for Social Security purposes. An employee's entire salary is taxable for Medicare purposes.

Through December 2012, the employee and employer tax rates for Social Security (full FICA) will be 5.65% (4.20% Social Security plus 1.45% Medicare) for wages up to $110,100. All wages over $110,100 are subject only to the 1.45% Medicare rate. The rate remains at 1.45% for those who are subject only to Medicare.

Source: UW System Administration

Preliminary WRS Returns and Delay in Annual WRS Statement of Benefits

The Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) released the preliminary investment returns for 2011. Please see ETF's open letter regarding the impact of the 2011 returns and the January issue of the WRS News for details. Final investment returns will be released in March.

Employees usually receive their annual Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) Statement of Benefits in late March/early April every year. Due to the implementation of the changes to WRS contributions during the summer of 2011, ETF has indicated that the statement will be delayed and it is not yet known when the statement will be available. Once the statement is released, it will be available in (under Benefit Information - Statements).

Source: UW System Administration

Income Continuation Insurance (ICI) Annual Update and Premium Increase

Each year there is review of your earnings (all employees) and leave usage (classified employees only) to determine your Income Continuation Insurance (ICI) premium for the year. For classified employees (paid bi-weekly), the ICI premium is based on last year's earnings reported to the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) and an employee's sick leave balance and usage through the end of the last pay period paid in 2011 (pay period that ended on 12-17-11). For unclassified employees (paid monthly), the ICI premium is based on last year's WRS-reported earnings and the selected elimination period.

ICI premiums are increasing for 2012. The new premiums are available at:

https://uwservice.wisc.edu/premiums/#ici

Both the new ICI premiums and any changes to your ICI coverage due to an increase/decrease in earnings and/or sick leave usage will be reflected on your February earnings payable February 23 for classified employees and March 1 for unclassified employees.

Each January employees have the opportunity to enroll in the ICI plan and/or the Supplemental ICI plan if certain conditions are met. Employees may enroll in ICI if certain sick leave balance and/or sick leave usage requirements are met and may enroll in the Supplemental ICI plan if the prior year's WRS earnings were greater than $64,000. If you enrolled in ICI or added Supplemental ICI coverage during this January enrollment opportunity, this coverage will be effective on April 1 and the first deduction associated with the new coverage will be reflected on your April earnings payable April 19 for classified employees and May 1st for unclassified employees.

For more information about the ICI program, see the recently updated ICI plan brochure.

Source: UW System Administration

Employee Reimbursement Account (ERA) Grace Period for Medical and Dependent Care Expense Claims

Services received and reimbursable items purchased in 2011 and during the grace period between January 1 and March 15, 2012, may be reimbursed from remaining 2011 ERA plan year funds.

Any remaining funds in your medical account from 2011 will be available on your new myFBMC card and will be used first when the new card is used for payment. If you enrolled in the ERA medical expense account for 2012, you should have received a new myFBMC card with instructions on how to activate your card prior to use by visiting www.myfbmc.com. Remember, when you use the myFBMC card to pay for eligible expenses, funds are electronically deducted from your medical expense account.

The deadline for submitting 2011 medical and dependent care claims to FBMC is April 15, 2012. All claims must be received by the Fringe Benefit Management Company or postmarked by April 15, 2012 to be reimbursed from 2011 funds. If you do not submit your claims by the deadline, any money remaining in your account for 2011 will be forfeited.

You can submit claims by any of the following methods:

  • Mail to: FBMC, PO Box 1800, Tallahassee, FL 32302-1800
  • Toll-Free Fax to: 1-888-326-2658
  • Online Claims Submission at: www.myFBMC.com
  • Use myFBMC card to pay for eligible expenses.

For questions contact www.myFBMC.com or FBMC Customer Service at 1-800-342-8017 (Mon-Fri, 6:00am to 9:00pm CST).

Related Link: myFBMC General FAQs

Source: Fringe Benefits Management Company (FBMC)

W-2 Now Available Online; To Be Mailed by January 31, 2012

For tax filing, employees may use their W-2 form now available under the 'Tax Statements' tab in the 'Payroll Information' module in My UW System . W-2 paper copies will be postmarked by January 31, 2012. Some employees will also receive additional tax forms from the University. These forms will be posted to the My UW portal as soon as they are available.

Employees should not use their final 2011 Earnings Statement to file their taxes. Some employees have had adjustments made to their 2011 taxable earnings since the last 2011 payroll was paid. These employees will have an additional earnings statement with 'Earned' dates of 12/19/2011 - 12/19/11, reflecting these adjustments. The 'Paid' date on the additional statement is the adjustment date.

Source: UW Service Center

Tax Sheltered Annuity (TSA) Annual Fee Deduction: What is "TSA Fee?" and What does it mean to defer 100% of salary?

Tax Sheltered Annuity (TSA) Fee

If you are currently contributing to the TSA 403(b) Program, your first paycheck in 2012 had a "TSA Fee" of $15.00. For unclassified employees this was the January 3 paycheck, and for classified employees this was the January 12 paycheck.

In years past, the fee was deducted on the paycheck payable in March in a batch process. With the new payroll system, it became possible to deduct the fee automatically on the first paydate of the year. Employees who start contributing after their first 2012 paycheck will have the $15 fee automatically deducted at the time of their first 2012 TSA contribution. This is a great improvement from the old payroll system, which required staff time to run the batch process and manual entry for every employee who began deferrals after the March deduction.

The TSA fee is deducted only once a year for each employee who contributes to the program. This very low administrative fee is used to defray costs of managing the program, including staying in compliance with IRS regulations.

100% TSA deferral

With HRS, employees are able to defer a percentage of salary to their TSA 403(b) account up to 100% of salary.

Warning! If you defer 100% - either on the Salary Reduction Agreement or through the online process - your paycheck will be $0.00. Please be sure this is what you really intend.

Once you begin a 100% deferral, your paycheck will continue to be $0.00 until you have reached the 2012 maximum allowable contribution, which is $17,000 ($22,500 for employees age 50 or older). If you have 15 or more years of service with the University of Wisconsin, you may have an additional "catch-up" opportunity allowing extra contributions of up to $3,000 per year to a cumulative maximum of $15,000 over five or more years. Your campus benefits staff can determine if you are eligible for this.

If you want to defer the 403(b) maximum for the year and have questions about how much that is per payroll, please contact your campus benefits staff.

Source: UW System Administration

Activate Your myFBMC Card for 2012 ERA Medical Expense Account

If you enrolled in the ERA Medical Expense Account for 2012, you recently received a new myFBMC card. There is a sticker on the card instructing you to activate your card by visiting www.myfbmc.com.

The myFBMC Card® is a reimbursement option that allows FBMC to electronically reimburse many eligible expenses under your employer's plan and IRS guidelines. Because it is a payment card, when you use the myFBMC Card® to pay for eligible expenses, funds are electronically deducted from your medical expense account.

Participants must go on-line to www.myfbmc.com to activate the card prior to use. To activate the card on-line, please log onto the myFBMC site. If you need assistance, you can call FBMC Customer Care at 1-800-342-8017.

Any remaining funds in the medical account from 2011 will be available on the new card. Money remaining in a 2011 account will be used first when the card is used for payment. The old myFBMC card will not work after 12/31/11.

Source: UW System Administration

Review Your Address Information by January 16, 2012 for the Annual W-2 Tax Form Mailing

In late January 2012, your W-2 tax form will be mailed to you. An electronic copy of the W-2 form will also be available in the My UW portal.

Your W-2 will be mailed to your HOME address unless you already have, or are adding, a MAILING address. If you have a MAILING address, your W-2 will be sent to this address and not your HOME address. If you have neither address listed, then your W-2 will be sent to your OFFICE LOCATION.

Please take a few moments to review your address information to make sure your W-2 is sent to the correct address.

Reviewing Your MAILING Address

You may review your MAILING address online in the My UW System portal.

Once you've logged into the portal, look for the "Personal Information" box. To review your MAILING address, click on the "Update my Personal Information" link in the "Personal Information" box. After clicking this link, you will need to log in again.

Your current MAILING address will be displayed in the "Addresses" box. If this is not the address where you want your W-2 form sent, you may change your address by choosing the "Change addresses" tab below the "Addresses" box. Then choose the "edit" tab next to your MAILING address. Review the following instructions on how to update your MAILING address: https://uwservice.wisc.edu/help/personal-information.php.

Reviewing Your HOME Address

You may review your HOME address online in the My UW System portal.

Once you've logged into the portal, look for the "Personal Information" box. Your HOME address will appear in this box. To change your HOME address, click on the "Update my Personal Information" link in the "Personal Information" box. After clicking this link, you will need to login again. Review the following instructions on how to update your HOME address: https://uwservice.wisc.edu/help/personal-information.php.

If you have trouble accessing the portal, or have other issues related to reviewing/updating your address, please contact the UW Service Center Support Team: Monday-Friday, 7:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. via phone (855-4UW-SUPP or 608-890-1501), email (servicecenter@sc.wisc.edu), web form (https://uwservice.wisc.edu/help/webform.php), and Live Chat.

Source: UW Service Center

Social Security Tax Rate Reduction Extended Through February, 2012

The 2% Social Security tax rate reduction (from 6.20% to 4.20%) that was in effect for 2011 has been extended through February 29, 2012. The Temporary Payroll Tax Cut Continuation Act of 2011 temporarily extends the 2% payroll tax cut for employees. This reduced Social Security withholding will have no effect on employees' future Social Security benefits.

The Social Security wage base, the amount of an employee's salary that can be taxed for Social Security purposes, has risen from $106,800 in 2011 to $110,100 for 2012. This means that the first $110,100 of an employee's wages are taxable for Social Security purposes. An employee's entire salary is taxable for Medicare purposes.

Through February, the employee and employer tax rates for Social Security (full FICA) will be 5.65% (4.20% Social Security plus 1.45% Medicare) for wages up to $110,100. All wages over $110,100 are subject only to the 1.45% Medicare rate. The rate remains at 1.45% for those who are subject only to Medicare.

Source: UW System Administration

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