2017 News Archive

2018 Benefits ID Cards -- Who will Receive Cards and When?

State Group Health Plans

Health insurance plan ID cards are typically sent by health plans to participants by the end of December. The 2018 plan cards are effective January 1, 2018, and you may need to present your card at appointments that occur after January 1, 2018.

Remember, before seeing your health care providers in 2018, check to make sure they are in-network by visiting your health plan's online provider directory.

The following employees will receive health plan ID cards for 2018:

  • Employees who changed health plans: Employees who chose a new plan during the Annual Benefits Enrollment (ABE) period will receive a new health plan ID card.
  • Employees who are now covered by Quartz: Quartz will be sending health plan ID cards to all members. Due to the large number of enrollments, Quartz will send cards out in two distributions in mid and later December.
  • Access Plan members: WEA Trust (the administrator for the Access Plan in 2018) will send out health plan ID cards to all members.
  • Employees who did not change health plans: Employees who will continue enrollment in 2018 in the same health plan that they had in 2017, will not receive a new health plan ID card unless they added or removed dependents during ABE.

FLEXIBLE SPENDING ACCOUNT (FSA) AND HEALTH SAVINGS ACCOUNT (HSA)

TASC (the FSA & HSA plan administrator) has announced a delay in the distribution of benefit cards. Newly enrolled employees in a Health Care Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA) will receive their benefit card for these plans by mid-January. New enrollees can submit claims through the manual process until they receive their benefit card.

Employees who previously participated in these plans and already have a benefit card may use the same card as previous years.

Employee questions regarding benefit cards can be directed to TASC at 844-786-3947 or 1customercare@tasconline.com.

Dental, Vision and Epic Benefts+

Newly enrolled employees in Uniform Dental, Dental WI, EPIC Benefits+, and/or VSP will receive a card. Current enrollees will only receive new card(s) if they added/removed dependents.

Navitus Pharmacy Benefits

Newly enrolled employees in health insurance will also receive an ID card from Navitus for pharmacy benefits. Current enrollees will only receive a new card if they added or removed dependents, had a change of their last name, or made a request to receive a new card.

Review Your Cards For Accuracy

Review all benefits ID cards you receive for accuracy. Make sure all dependents are correctly listed and the information is accurate. If you discover errors, or if you do not receive cards, contact the benefit plan directly.

Source: UW System Human Resources

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

Changes to Disability Benefit Plans Effective January 1, 2018

The Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) is making changes to the disability benefit plans offered, Long-Term Disability Insurance (LTDI) and Disability Retirement. Both plans provide income if a Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) participant becomes totally and permanently disabled. The plans have different eligibility requirements and different benefit calculations.

As of January 1, 2018, the LTDI benefit plan will close to new claims. Current recipients will continue to receive LTDI benefits. Employees with pending LTDI claims will be allowed to finish the claims process into 2018.

The Disability Retirement plan will be available to all eligible WRS participants effective January 1, 2018. Currently, the plan is only available to participants who have been working in WRS-covered employment continuously since October 15, 1992 until the date of disability.

Learn more about WRS Disability Benefit Plans.

Source: UW Service Center

Social Security and Medicare Taxes for 2018

The Social Security wage base has risen to $128,400 in 2018 from $127,200 in 2017. This means that the first $128,400 of an employee's taxable wages are subject to Social Security taxes. You and the UW will each pay 6.2% on taxable wages up to $128,400.

An employee's entire taxable salary is subject to Medicare tax. Both the UW and the employee pay 1.45% on all taxable compensation. Further, any taxable wages that exceed $200,000 ($250,000 for married couples filing jointly) are subject to an additional 0.9% tax. There is no employer match for additional Medicare tax.

Source: UW Service Center

Monthly Pay Date for December Earnings is January 2, 2018

For UW employees who are paid on the 1st of each month, the monthly pay date for December 2017 earnings is Tuesday, January 2, 2018. January 2 is the pay date because January 1 (New Year's Day) is a Federal Reserve holiday.

When a pay date falls on a weekend or Federal Reserve holiday, the pay date is usually the previous business day. An exception to this is the 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

Update Your Address by January 5, 2018 for W-2 Tax Form Distribution

As the end of 2017 approaches, make sure your current address is up-to-date for W-2 Tax Form distribution.

In late January 2018, your 2017 W-2 Form will be sent via U.S. mail to your mailing address as listed in the MyUW portal. If you do not have a mailing address, your W-2 will be mailed to your home address. If neither address is in the MyUW portal, your W-2 will be mailed to your office address.

To ensure your W-2 Form is sent to your preferred address, follow these steps:

  1.  Log in to the MyUW portal for UW System institutions or for UW-Madison.
  2.  Launch the Personal Information module to view your current mailing and/or home address. If the address you prefer for W-2 Form distribution is not displayed, update your mailing and/or home address.
  3.  To update your address, click on the Update my Personal Information link in the Personal Information module. For instructions on updating your address: https://uwservice.wisconsin.edu/help/personal-information.php
  4.  If you want to update your office address, you must contact your human resources office.
  5.  Update your address by the January 5, 2018 deadline in order for your W-2 to be mailed to the address you prefer.

Changing your address in the portal will not change your address for all of the benefit plans in which you are currently enrolled. For instructions on how to change your address for your benefit plans visit: Change in Name or Address.

In addition to the hard copy W-2 Form that you will receive, an online copy of your W-2 Form will be available in late January in the MyUW portal Payroll Information module in the Tax Statements tab.

If you have questions, contact your human resources office.

Source: UW Service Center

Reminder: Use or Lose December 2017 Floating Legal Holidays

In December 2017 there are two floating holidays: Christmas Eve (Sunday, December 24) and New Year’s Eve (Sunday, December 31). The floating holidays occur because the Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve legal holidays are on a Sunday, and the following Mondays, Christmas Day (December 25) and New Year’s Day (January 1) are also legal holidays.

Using Floating Legal Holidays

For University Staff (paid bi-weekly), floating holiday time can be used any time during the calendar year in which it is earned, but must be used prior to December 31.

This means that the December 24 and December 31 floating holidays will need to be used before the end of the calendar year. The December 31 New Year’s Eve holiday will need to be used before December 31.

For Faculty/Academic Staff/Limited Appointees (paid monthly), floating holiday time can be used any time during the fiscal year in which it is earned, but must be used prior to June 30.

You must make sure you have enough hours in your legal holiday balance to account for the remaining 2017 legal holidays and floating holiday time.

To view your legal holiday balance, log in to the MyUW portal for UW System institutions or for UW-Madison. Launch the Time and Absence module. Choose the Leave Balances tab to view your balance.

This balance is also available on your Earnings Statement under Leave Balances.
If you have questions, contact your human resources office.

Source: UW Service Center

Absence Cancellation and Improved Efficiency Now Available in Self Service

On November 6, improved service and efficiencies were implemented in Self Service.

Absence Cancellation
The most noteable improvement is the ability for you to cancel or edit an absence request, even after your supervisor has already approved it.

Have you ever had to cancel time off at the last second? Well now you can go into Self Service and edit or cancel a request on your own, as long as you haven’t already been paid for the leave time on your pay check. You can cancel the absence request entirely, or you can switch the type of leave you are using, the day and the number of hours of leave.

As with anything related to your employment, check with your supervisor before using this new feature. They may have specific requirements for how they want you to change your absence requests.

Improved Efficiency
Since November 6, you may have noticed that a few of the Self Service features you access through the MyUW portal look a bit different. Specifically, if you have viewed your personal information or benefits enrollments, you likely noticed the new ‘look and feel’ intended to be simpler, less cluttered, and to play nicer with your smart phone or other mobile device.

If you haven’t visited the pages, you are encouraged to do so. The pages still work the same. You can still update your Home Address, Emergency Contacts and Marital Status and view your benefit enrollment information. But with the new page design, it should be a little easier to do when you’re on the go.

Source: UW Service Center

What You Need to Know About Your 2018 Insurance Benefits

Review your 2018 Benefit Enrollments

As 2017 draws to a close, now is a great time to review your 2018 insurance coverage and any changes you made during the Annual Benefits Enrollment (ABE) period which ended on October 27, 2017.

To view your Benefits Summary, log in to the MyUW portal for UW System institutions or for UW-Madison. Launch the Benefit Information module. Choose the Summary tab at the top of the page and click View Benefits Summary Detail at the bottom of the page. At the top of the Benefits Summary page enter 01/01/2018 in the As Of date field and click Refresh to see your 2018 elections.

2018 Premiums

Premiums for 2018 coverage will be reflected on the pay check dated December 21, 2017 for University Staff (paid bi-weekly) and January 2, 2018 for Faculty, Academic Staff, and Limited Appointees (FA/AS/LI) (paid monthly).

Health Insurance

  • For most employees there are no changes to the employee premium contributions for State Group Health Insurance in 2018 as employee premium contributions will be the same as 2017. Crafts workers and employees paying the less-than-full-time rates may see their premium costs increase.
  • Annual deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums for health insurance plans will reset at the beginning of the new plan year, January 1, 2018.
  • Health insurance plan member cards are typically sent by health plan providers to participants by the end of December. The 2018 plan cards are effective January 1, 2018, and you will need to present your card at appointments that occur on or after January 1, 2018.
  • Employees enrolled in the State Group Health Insurance program and their covered spouses and dependents must select a primary care provider (PCP).
    • Employees that do not currently have a designated PCP, should contact their health plan to request assistance in selecting a PCP for themselves and their dependents.
    • If employees do not select a PCP for themselves and their dependents, their health plan will contact them directly. In most cases, the health plan will auto-assign PCPs and provide information on how to change them.

Pharmacy Benefits

  • Navitus pharmacy cards (prescription drug coverage) for 2018 will only be sent to newly enrolled employees. Participants covered in 2017 will not receive a new card. 
  • Some pharmacies will no longer be in-network including CVS Pharmacy, Target and certain out-of-state pharmacies. 
  • Certain over-the-counter medications will no longer be covered such as steroid nasal sprays (Flonase®) and medication to treat heartburn (Prilosec®).
  • Lumicera and UW Specialty Pharmacy are replacing Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy as the preferred specialty pharmacy. Level 4 preferred drugs (specialty medications) must be filled at one of these pharmacies. Navitus will mail information to affected members.
  • Serve You Rx is replacing WellDyneRx as the mail order pharmacy. Navitus will mail information to affected members.
  • New discount drug list– Prescriptions that are not covered by the pharmacy benefit may be available at a discounted rate. This may include drugs for infertility, weight loss, cosmetic or other lifestyle needs as prescribed.
  • Find in-network pharmacies and formulary lists on the Navitus website, or call Navitus at 1-866-333-2757 with questions.

Wellness Wisconsin Program

To be eligible for the Wellness Incentive for 2018, a health screening, health assessment and a health engagement activity (new) will need to be completed. Watch for more information from StayWell early in 2018.

Uniform Dental Benefits

  • Bitewing x-ray coverage reduced from 2 per year to 1 per year.
  • Sealant benefit – maximum age for sealants increased from 16 to 19 years of age, once per lifetime for first and second molars only.
  • New - Medicament coverage – Medicament is a topical alternative to a filling intended to be a short-term solution, typically for primary teeth. The rate of application is low and used in limited situations. For example, application of medicament could be used as an alternative to general anesthesia for a primary tooth cavity in a child with special needs.
  • New - Evidence-Based Integrated Care Plan (EBICP) benefits – Expands benefits for specific health conditions which are considered to be at risk for adverse dental impacts. EBICP also provides additional dental cleanings.

Dental Wisconsin – Select Plan & PPO Plan

  • Premiums for Select Plan are increasing slightly, Premiums for the PPO Plan are decreasing slightly
  • Annual maximum benefit increased from $1,000 to $1,250 per member
  • Waiting periods for basic and major restorative services have been removed
  • Waiting period for orthodontics may not be waived
  • If you enrolled during ABE, you will be subject to: 
    • Graduated dental benefits: 
      • 2018: $600 annual maximum benefit
      • 2019: $800 annual maximum benefit
      • 2020: $1,250 annual maximum benefit (full benefit)
    • Orthodontic waiting period is 24 months

EPIC Benefits+

  • Premiums are decreasing
  • Waiting period for orthodontics may not be waived
  • If you enrolled during ABE, you will be subject to: 
    • Graduated dental benefits: 
      • 2018: $750 annual maximum benefit
      • 2019: $1,000 annual maximum benefit
      • 2020: $1,500 annual maximum benefit (full benefits)
    • Orthodontic waiting period is 24 months

VSP 2018 Changes

  • No change to premium
  • Increase in contact lens and frame allowances from $130 to $150
  • Contact lens exam copay reduced from $60 to $40
  • New - Full coverage for UV protection coating on eyeglass lenses
  • New - Primary EyeCare Supplemental Coverage, which includes additional benefits at a $20 copay
    • Treatment for eye pain or infection
    • Testing for sudden vision changes
    • Cataract monitoring exams
    • Retinal screenings

Flexible Spending Account (FSA)

  • If you enrolled in the FSA for 2018, your first deduction for 2018 elections will be on the January 2, 2018 pay check for employees paid monthly, and the January 4, 2018 pay check for employees paid weekly. 
  • TASC cards will be sent to all new participants. 
    • Current FSA participants (those who participated in 2017 and have elected to continue participation in 2018) will not receive a new TASC card. Current participants should continue to use the TASC card that they have which will be loaded with their 2018 elected amount. 
  • December 31, 2017 is the last day to incur expenses for the 2017 plan year. 
  • March 31, 2018 is the last day to submit claims for 2017 FSA expenses. However, participants should substantiate all 2017 claims as soon as possible or be at risk of having payroll withholding.

Health Savings Account (HSA)

  • If you enrolled in HSA for 2018, your first deduction for 2018 elections will be on the January 2, 2018 pay check for employees paid monthly and the January 4, 2018 pay check for employees paid bi-weekly.
  • For 2018, the HSA annual maximum contribution increased from $3,400 to $3,450 for single coverage and from $6,750 to $6,900 for family coverage.

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

  • If you are moving into a new premium age category as of January 1, 2018, your premium will increase on the pay check dated December 21, 2017 for employees paid bi-weekly, and January 2, 2018 for employees paid monthly. Any premium change due to coverage level increases made during the Individual and Family Annual Increase Option period will also begin on these pay checks.

Income Continuation Insurance

  • The Income Continuation Insurance (ICI) premium will be increasing by 20%, effective February 1, 2018.

Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) Contributions

Employee and Employer Contribution Rates
The Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) employee and employer contributions rates for 2018 will decrease slightly for most employees. The employer contribution rate will decrease 0.1% from 6.8 to 6.7%, and the employee contribution rate will decrease 0.1% from 6.8 to 6.7% for a total decrease of 0.2%.

Protective employees without Social Security will see a 0.1% decrease in WRS contributions. Decreases will occur on the January 4, 2018 pay check for employees paid monthly, and the January 2, 2017 pay check for employees paid bi-weekly. Protective employees with Social Security will see no change in their contribution rate.

Additional Contributions
In addition to the employee-required contribution, employees may also contribute extra money to their WRS account on a post-tax basis. These deductions can be made through either payroll deduction or by sending a check to the Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF).

Additional contributions begin to earn interest on January 1 after ETF receives contributions. Payments received in 2017 will not earn interest for calendar year 2017, but will begin earning interest on January 1, 2018. You may want to consider this when deciding what time of year to submit additional contributions to your account.

There is a limit to the amount that you can contribute on an annual basis. Use the Maximum Additional Contribution Worksheet to determine how much you can contribute this year. To elect additional contributions, complete the Additional Voluntary Contributions Form and submit it to your human resources office.

See the Additional Contributions Brochure for more information.

Source: UW System Human Resources

2018 Tax-Sheltered Annuity and Wisconsin Deferred Compensation Limits

The IRS recently announced the 2018 contribution limits. These contribution limits apply to the UW Tax-Sheltered Annuity 403(b) Program (TSA) and the Wisconsin Deferred Compensation 457 Program (WDC).

In 2018, employees may contribute a basic maximum of $18,500 to the TSA Program. Employees age 50 and over can contribute an additional $6,000 for a total of $24,500. These same limits apply to WDC. Employees can contribute the maximum to both programs for a total of $37,000 (under age 50) or $49,000 (age 50 or older).

If you have 15 years or more of service with the UW and have contributed less than an average of $5,000 per year over your UW employment, you may have an additional "catch-up" opportunity with the TSA Program. Contact your human resources office for more information.

Both pre-tax and Roth (after-tax) contributions count towards the annual limit. Note: IRAs are a type of retirement account separate from the UW 403(b) and WDC Programs and have separate limits.

If you want to change your TSA deduction for 2018 or enroll in the program, submit your TSA Salary Reduction Agreement to your human resources office in early December. If you are enrolling for the first time, enroll with the provider(s) of your choice either online, by EZ Enrollment form, or via paper application prior to submitting your Salary Reduction Agreement. Clearly mark the form as calendar year 2018.

For questions on the TSA program go to the TSA website or contact your human resources office.
To change your WDC contribution call the WDC office at 1-877-457-9327 or access your account at the WDC website. The WDC website also has information about enrolling in the program. WDC changes must be made with Empower, the third-party WDC plan administrator, in early December 2017, so that there is adequate time to electronically send the information to the UW Service Center.

Source: UW System Human Resources

Control Your Financial Future with the ETF Financial Fitness Program

The Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) is offering a Financial Fitness Program that can assist you in taking control of your financial future. The program is available to all Wisconsin Retirement System members and offers free online financial educational resources for 12 months and a free consultation with a financial advisor.

To start, take the Financial Fitness Checkup, a confidential and secure online survey that helps you discover your strengths and weaknesses in personal finance knowledge. Taking the checkup takes approximately 10 minutes. Once you complete the checkup, you’ll have access to other no-cost services, such as:

  • Financial Fitness Academy (a $200 value)
  • The Academy provides access to online tutorials on budgeting, investments, retirement planning, debt management and many other topics. You will also gain access to calculators and other tools.
  • Financial Fitness Coaching
    You will receive one-on-one counseling time with an Ameriprise financial advisor to help you set goals, create a plan, and answer questions free of charge for up to 30 days.

Visit the ETF Financial Fitness Program website for more details and to sign up!

Source: UW System Human Resources

Health Plan Changes for 2018

The following health plan changes to the 2018 State Group Health Insurance program were approved by the Group Insurance Board on August 30, 2017.

The following health plans have elected not to participate in the program in 2018:

  • Anthem Blue Preferred Northeast
  • Arise Health Plan
  • Health Tradition Health Plan
  • Humana Eastern and Western
  • UnitedHealthcare of Wisconsin

Other Plan Changes

Network Health Northeast and Network Health Southeast will combine into Network Health to offer one coverage area. Participants were auto-enrolled in the new combined plan, Network Health, unless they took the option of selecting a different plan during the Annual Benefit Enrollment (ABE) period that ended Friday, October 27.

Gundersen Health Plan, Physicians Plus and Unity Health Insurance will be offered under the name Quartz. Participants of these plans were auto-enrolled in either Quartz-Community or Quartz-UW Health, unless they took the option of selecting a different plan during ABE.

WEA Trust will replace WPS as the new administrator of the Access Plan and the State Maintenance Plan (SMP) for 2018.

SMP will only be available in Florence county. SMP is not available in Bayfield, Buffalo, Forest, Iron, Marquette, Menominee and Pepin counties.

If you are currently enrolled in the SMP, and you live OUTSIDE of Florence county, you should have re-enroll in the SMP or selected a new health plan during ABE. If you are currently enrolled in the SMP, and you live IN Florence county you will continue to be enrolled in this plan unless you selected a new health plan during ABE.

Health Plans Being Offered in 2018

The Group Insurance Board approved the following health plan carriers to be available in 2018.

Health Plan and High Deductible Health Plan:

  • Dean Health Insurance and Dean Health Insurance-Prevea360
  • Group Health Cooperative of Eau Claire
  • Group Health Cooperative of South Central Wisconsin
  • HealthPartners Health Plan
  • Medical Associates Health Plans
  • MercyCare Health Plans
  • Network Health
  • Security Health Plan – Central and Valley
  • Quartz – Community and UW Health (formerly Gundersen, Physicians Plus and Unity)
  • WEA Trust – East, Northwest Chippewa Valley and Mayo Clinic Health System

Access Plan, Access High Deductible Health Plan and State Maintenance Plan (SMP):

  • WEA Trust

Questions

If you have questions, please contact your human resources office.

Source: UW System Human Resources

The History of the University Insurance Association (UIA) Life Insurance Plan

Participation in the University Insurance Association (UIA) Life Insurance plan is a condition of employment for UW System Faculty/Academic Staff/Limited Appointment (FA/AS/LI) whose salary is more than 45% of the average instructor\'s salary for the previous year.

Each year when the annual $24 premium is deducted from October monthly earnings, generally paid on November 1, many participating employees question why their enrollment in the program is mandatory once they become eligible. There is a story behind the mandatory eligibility which dates back to 1938.

Excerpts from “The Story of the U.F.A.-U.I.A. Insurance Program” by Charles C. Center, March 1995

The University Insurance Association (UIA) insurance program plays a major role in providing financial security for faculty and staff and is a key part of the university’s financial program along with salaries, retirement benefits and health insurance. But the UFA-UIA program did not just drop from heaven as a gift. It has been self-funding and has received no money from the Legislature or the Board of Regents. The Regents, however, have consistently supported it in one critical respect, the “Condition of Employment” provision that makes membership in the UIA mandatory for all defined faculty and staff. This story will tell how the faculty (and academic staff) in the University of Wisconsin System happen to have this program.

More than half a century ago, in the academic year 1938-1939, a very promising and well-liked Assistant Professor in the Madison faculty died leaving a family with young children. He had not been on the faculty long enough to accumulate any significant credit in the retirement fund nor to have any personal savings. His family was virtually indigent – a tragedy and not the first one like it. What to do? The University in previous instances had provided employment for the widow, not a good solution for either party. Faculty friends also “passed the hat,” a kind gesture but an inadequate solution. Group Life insurance had come into being and seemed to offer the best solution.

An ad hoc faculty committee came together to investigate the availability of group life for faculty. It secured support from the University Committee, and faculty as a whole ... 

This plan continues to be self-funded and overseen by the UIA Board of Directors and still operates on the principles established by the original ad hoc committee. Securian, Inc. now manages the insurance claims and funds of the program. Even today we find that even with life insurance being a common option for employees, there still continue to be times when the UIA life insurance is the only plan available to young families employed by the University of Wisconsin. Sadly, there are still times the same situation happens that mirrors the tragedy that brought rise to the idea of this plan so many years ago.

Periodically employees question why should this continue? Why; because this is the legacy started so many years ago by employees of the University of Wisconsin to take care of our own in times of need.

Related portal article: UIA Life Insurance Annual $24 Premium Deduction
For more information about the plan, visit the UW System Employee Benefits website.

Source: UW System Human Resources

Absence Cancellation Coming to Self Service on Monday, November 6

Have you ever had to edit or cancel time off at the last second? Starting on Monday, November 6, there will be a little less hassle for you to go through when life throws you a curveball. That’s because we’re introducing a new feature in Self Service that will allow you to cancel or edit an absence request, even if your supervisor has already approved it. As long as you haven’t already been paid for the leave time on your paycheck, you can go into Self Service and edit or cancel the request. You can switch the type of leave you’re using, the day you’re using it, how many hours of leave you are taking, or even cancel the absence request entirely.

As with anything related to your employment you should check with your supervisor before using this new feature. They may have specific requirements for how they want you to change your absence requests. But we’re guessing they’ll like this new capability themselves; it saves them some time, and you some hassle. And what’s not to like about that?

Source: UW Service Center

Look and Feel Changes Coming to Self Service on Monday, November 6

Starting on Monday, November 6, you will notice that a few of the Self Service features you access through the MyUW portal will look a little different.  Specifically, if you are looking to change your personal information or to review information about the benefits you are enrolled in, the display of those web pages will be changing.  The new ‘look and feel’ is intended to be simpler, less cluttered, and to play nicer with your smart phone or other mobile device.

The pages themselves will still work the same.  You’ll still be able to update your Home Address, your Emergency Contacts, or your Marital Status.  You’ll still be able to review your benefit enrollment information.  But with the new page design, it should be a little easier to do it when you’re on the go.

Source: UW Service Center

Human Resources System Maintenance in November 2017 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 4:00 p.m. on Friday, November 3 and end Monday morning, November 6.

The outage is due to HRS System maintenance.

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

  • Online timesheet
  • Absence reporting
  • Benefits Self-service (‘e-Benefits’)
  • 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.

Employees are encouraged to plan ahead and take care of HR, Payroll and Benefits related tasks in the portal before the outage begins. The rest of the portal, with the exception of the HRS System related features and documents, will be available during the HRS outage.

Once the HRS System is updated, employees will experience similar functionality that they are currently accustomed to. The upgrade will have minimal impact on system look and feel.

The HRS System manages UW Human Resources, Payroll and Benefits processing for all UW System institutions. The system is currently running on PeopleSoft’s Human Capital Management software version 9.2.

Source: UW Service Center

UIA Life Insurance Annual $24 Premium Deduction

The annual $24.00 University Insurance Association (UIA) Life Insurance premium will be deducted from October monthly earnings, paid November 1, 2017.

For 2017-2018 the minimum monthly salary required for initial UIA Life Insurance eligibility is $2,627.00. Participation in the UIA Life Insurance plan is a condition of employment for UW System Faculty/Academic Staff/Limited Appointment (FA/AS/LI) whose rate of compensation, when eligibility is initially met, is not less than 45% of the average instructor's salary for the previous year.

Once an employee becomes eligible for coverage, eligibility will continue for the full plan year of October 1, 2017 through September 30, 2018. Employees must re-qualify for eligibility each year.

For more information about the plan, visit the UW System Employee Benefits website.

Source: UW System Human Resources

Domestic Partnership Impacts - 2017-19 State Budget Bill Signed

On September 21, 2017, Governor Walker signed the 2017-2019 State Budget Bill (2017 Wisconsin Act 59). The budget bill contains a provision that eliminates the Chapter 40 domestic partnership program which will impact employees who are in a domestic partnership.

The Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) has completed its initial review of the budget bill to identify all implications for the Wisconsin Retirement System and ETF-administered benefit programs (including health insurance, life insurance, dental insurance, vision insurance and flexible spending accounts). An ETF summary of the budget bill is available below.

Targeted communications will be mailed by ETF to employees who currently cover a domestic partner and/or dependent step-children to inform them of the impacts of the budget bill and any action they may need to take. Information about continuation of coverage (for up to 36-months) will be sent to affected domestic partner and dependent step-children in late December 2017. The notices will be sent by the UW Service Center.

Resource: ETF Summary of 2017 Wisconsin Act 59

Source: UW System Human Resources

Individual and Family Life Insurance Enrollees can Increase Coverage, October 2-27, 2017

If you are a currently enrolled in the Individual and Family Life Insurance plan as of October 1, 2017, you may increase your coverage during the Annual Increase Option (AIO) period from October 3 – 27, 2017. Coverage increases will be effective January 1, 2018 with new premiums deducted from December earnings.

Making the Decision to Increase Your Coverage

To review your current coverage, and your 2018 premiums if you decide to increase your coverage, use the personalized Individual and Family Annual Increase calculator: https://uwservice.wisconsin.edu/indfam-increase-calculator/

You may increase your current coverage during the AIO period by the following amounts:

  • Employee coverage: $5,000; $10,000; $15,000 or $20,000
  • Spouse/domestic partner coverage: $5,000 or $10,000
  • Child(ren) coverage: $2,500

As you consider increasing your coverage, please note the 2018 maximum coverage levels:

  • Employee coverage: $300,000
  • Spouse/domestic partner coverage: $150,000
  • Child(ren) coverage: $25,000

Important Reminder: Spouse/domestic partner or child(ren) life insurance coverage may not exceed your total (employee amount) coverage.

Application Information and Deadline

To increase your coverage during the AIO period, submit your election via Self Service (eBenefits). Log into the MyUW portal for UW System institutions or for UW-Madison. Go to the ‘Benefit Information’ module and click on the ‘Open Enrollment’ link. You will receive a Confirmation Statement via email after you have submitted your election.

All elections to increase coverage must be submitted online or received by your human resources office by 4:30 p.m. on October 27, 2017. If you mail your Annual Increase Option form, it must be postmarked by October 27, 2017. For more information: Individual and Family Group Life insurance.

Decreasing or Canceling Coverage

If you decide to decrease or cancel your coverage, you must complete the Individual and Family Group Term Life Insurance application. You may decrease or cancel coverage any time during the year. Coverage decreases or cancellations are effective the first of the month following the receipt of the application.

Questions?

Visit the Annual Benefits Enrollment website for more information about the Individual and Family Life Insurance plan and other benefits enrollment opportunities available this year. If you have questions, please contact your human resources office.

Source: UW System Human Resources

Annual Benefits Enrollment Period: October 2 - 27, 2017

The Annual Benefits Enrollment (ABE) period, October 2 - 27, is the only annual opportunity you have to enroll in or make changes to most of your benefits unless you have an eligible life event (family status or employment change) during the year. Changes made during ABE are effective January 1, 2018.

There are changes to benefits for 2018 that may require your action. In addition, certain benefits you may be enrolled in require action each year. Continue reading for more information.

Prepare

  • Review your current benefits and visit the Annual Benefits Enrollment website for 2018 benefits changes. Note: Some State Group Health Insurance plans will no longer be available in 2018. Please review the information on the ABE website carefully to determine if you need to take action.
  • Confirm that the doctors, clinics, hospitals and dentists you currently use will still be available in 2018 for the plan you select. You may also view a list of providers here
  • Some plans require that you enroll each year to continue your participation. If you are participating in one of these plans, you must enroll each year:
    • Flexible Spending Account (FSA) including Health Care FSA, Limited Purpose FSA, Dependent Day Care FSA
    • Health Savings Account (HSA) requires that you enroll each year you are enrolled in a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP)
    • State Group Health Insurance Opt-Out Incentive Plan (new this year, you can enroll through Self Service in this plan)
  • New this year, meet ALEX! ALEX is the UW System’s new online personalized benefits counselor who can walk you through your ABE benefits options. Through a series of easy, intuitive questions, ALEX will help you choose the benefits that best fit your needs based on your answers. To meet ALEX and get started click here.
  • Attend a benefits fair to meet with health plan representatives and other benefits vendors. For a list of fairs throughout the UW System: UW System Benefits Fairs

Decide

You may be eligible to enroll in, change, increase, decrease or cancel coverage for the plans listed below. For some plans you can add or delete dependents. Visit the Annual Benefits Enrollment website for opportunities and premiums for each plan.

Remember, this year you don’t have to navigate all of these benefits options alone. Let ALEX, the new online personalized benefits counselor, walk you through your options. It’s easy, educational, and it’s fun! To meet ALEX and get started click here.

  • State Group Health (Graduate Assistants and Short-Term Academic Staff are not eligible for the High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) or the Health Insurance Opt-Out Incentive Plan)
  • Dental Wisconsin Dental Insurance
  • EPIC Benefits + (includes dental, Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D), hospital/surgical benefits and optional vision insurance)
  • VSP Vision Insurance 
  • Individual & Family Life Insurance
  • Flexible Spending Account (FSA) including Health Care FSA, Limited Purpose FSA, Dependent Day Care FSA and Parking/Transit Accounts (University Staff Temporary Employees, Fellows, Scholars, Graduate Interns/ Trainees, or Post-Doctoral Fellows/ Trainees are not eligible to participate in Health Care, Limited Purpose and Dependent Day Care FSAs)
  • Health Savings Account (HSA) (Graduate/Short-Term Academic Staff benefits are not eligible for the HSA)

Act

How to Make Elections
Use Self Service (eBenefits) to make your elections online. Log into the MyUW portal for UW System institutions or for UW-Madison. Go to the ‘Benefit Information’ module and click on the ‘Enroll’ link. You will receive a Confirmation Statement via email 24-48 hours after you have submitted your elections.

A Parking/Transit Account is the one exception that requires a paper application. To participate, you must complete, print and sign an application and submit it to your human resources office by 4:30 p.m., Friday, October 27, 2017. Mailed applications must be postmarked by October 27, 2017.

Don’t miss your chance to enroll in or make changes to your benefits for 2018! All benefit elections must be submitted by 4:30 p.m., Friday, October 27, 2017. If you have questions, contact your human resources office.

Source: UW System Human Resources

Meet ALEX: Your Personalized Benefits Counselor

The UW System is excited to introduce ALEX, a new interactive benefits decision tool. ALEX is a personalized benefits counselor and can help you understand the benefits options that may be best for you and your family.

The Annual Benefits Enrollment (ABE) period, October 2 - 27, 2017, is a great time for you to meet ALEX! Before you make your benefits elections during ABE, we strongly encourage you to let ALEX walk you through your options. ALEX is engaging and efficient and will give you peace of mind as you make your benefits elections.

To meet ALEX and get started click here.

Source: UW System Human Resources

Domestic Partner Benefit Changes

On September 21, 2017, Governor Walker signed the 2017-2019 State Budget Bill. The budget bill contains a provision that eliminates the Chapter 40 domestic partnership program which will impact employees who are in a domestic partnership. At this time, the Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) is reviewing the signed budget bill to identify implications for the Wisconsin Retirement System and ETF-administered benefit programs (including health insurance, life insurance, dental insurance and vision insurance). We will update this article when we receive more information on the impacts.

Once ETF provides a review of the budget bill, a targeted communication will be sent to employees who currently cover a domestic partner/domestic partner’s child(ren) to inform them of the impacts and any action they may have to take.

Resource:
Summary of 2017 Wisconsin Act 59 – Effect on Domestic Partnership Program

Source: UW System Human Resources

2017- 2019 State Budget Bill Signed - Domestic Partnership Impacts

On September 21, 2017, Governor Walker signed the 2017-2019 State Budget Bill. The budget bill contains a provision that eliminates the Chapter 40 domestic partnership program which will impact employees who are in a domestic partnership. At this time, the Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) is reviewing the signed budget bill to identify implications for the Wisconsin Retirement System and ETF-administered benefit programs (including health insurance, life insurance, dental insurance and vision insurance). We will update this article when we receive more information on the impacts.

Once ETF provides a review of the budget bill, a targeted communication will be sent to employees who currently cover a domestic partner/domestic partner’s child(ren) to inform them of the impacts and any action they may have to take.

Resource: ETF Initial Review of 2017-2019 State Budget

Source: UW System Human Resources

Health Plan Changes for 2018

The Group Insurance Board met on August 30, 2017 and approved the following health plan changes to the 2018 State Group Health Insurance program. If you are affected by these changes, please watch for information from your current health plan between now and the Annual Benefits Enrollment period from October 2 – 27, 2017 for 2018 coverage.

The following health plans have elected not to participate in the program in 2018:

  • Anthem Blue Preferred Northeast
  • Arise Health Plan
  • Health Tradition Health Plan
  • Humana Eastern and Western
  • UnitedHealthcare of Wisconsin

If you are currently enrolled in one of the plans listed, you will be required to select a new health plan during the Annual Benefits Enrollment period. Additional information on these changes and steps you will need to take will be sent to you.

In order to assist you in choosing a new health plan for 2018, in the Resources section below a map with health plan carriers available by county can be accessed.

Other Plan Changes

Network Health Northeast and Network Health Southeast will combine into Network Health to offer one coverage area. Participants will be auto-enrolled in the new combined plan, Network Health, unless they select a different plan during open enrollment.

Gundersen Health Plan, Physicians Plus and Unity Health Insurance will be offered under the name "Quartz". Participants of these plans will be auto-enrolled in either Quartz-Community or Quartz-UW Health and can select a different plan during open enrollment. You will see Quartz-Community or Quartz-UW listed as your health plan in Self Service during the Annual Benefits Enrollment period.

WEA Trust will replace WPS as the new administrator of the Access Plan and the State Maintenance Plan (SMP) for 2018. Participants will be auto-enrolled in the same plan with WEA Trust, unless they select a different plan during open enrollment.

Health Plans Being Offered in 2018

The Group Insurance Board approved the following health plan carriers to be available in 2018:

Health Plan and High Deductible Health Plan:

  • Dean Health Insurance and Dean Health Insurance-Prevea360
  • Group Health Cooperative of Eau Claire
  • Group Health Cooperative of South Central Wisconsin
  • HealthPartners Health Plan
  • Medical Associates Health Plans
  • MercyCare Health Plans
  • Network Health
  • Security Health Plan – Central and Valley
  • Quartz – Community and UW Health (formerly Gundersen, Physicians Plus and Unity)
  • WEA Trust – East, Northwest Chippewa Valley and Mayo Clinic Health System

Access Plan, Access High Deductible Health Plan and State Maintenance Plan (SMP):

  • WEA Trust

Resources

Click here for a health plan map to see which health plans are available in your county for 2018.

It is important to review the provider directory of the health plan you select to ensure that your preferred providers are covered.  Click here for a list of health plan provider directories.

Questions

 If you have questions, please contact your human resources office.

Source: UW System Human Resources

How are UW Employee Health Insurance Benefits and Costs Established Each Year?

Good question! For many employees, health insurance benefits are the most important fringe benefit offered by the UW System. Every year, we see changes to the health insurance program even if the only change is your monthly premium contribution. Then in the fall, during the Annual Benefits Enrollment (ABE) period, you have the opportunity to enroll in the health insurance program, make changes to your coverage level or change health insurance carriers. So let’s learn about the process of establishing those annual health plan options and costs.

What is the State Group Health Insurance Program?
The State Group Health Insurance program is an employer-sponsored program offering group health insurance to employees of state agencies, UW System, UW Hospital and Clinics Authority and participating local government employers.

The UW System does not determine the benefits, premiums, employee premium contributions or which health plans are offered. Changes for 2018 are expected to be approved by the Group Insurance Board (GIB) on August 30, 2017.

Who decides how much I have to pay for health insurance premium contributions?
The health plans submit premium bids to the Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) each July for the following year. The bids and required claims data is examined by the Group Insurance Board’s (GIB) actuaries and negotiations are conducted by ETF. The GIB must approve the premium rates for each health plan.

While most employees do not pay the full premium cost, the full premium cost does impact the amount of the employee monthly premium contribution. Each year, the monthly amount that employees are required to pay for health insurance is established by the state Division of Personnel Management (DPM). DPM determines the employee contribution towards premium based on the provisions in Wis. Stat. § 40.05 (4) (ag) and (ah). For most employees, the monthly premium contribution may not exceed 12 percent of the average premium cost of plans offered in each premium tier.

What are premium tiers?
ETF assigns each health plan to one of three premium tiers based on the relative efficiency with which a plan is able to provide the benefits and the quality of care that is required by the GIB. Plans are given extra credit in the tier assignment process if they scored well on measures of quality, patient safety, and customer satisfaction.

For most full-time employees, your monthly health insurance premium contributions are based upon the Tier in which your health plan is placed. A plan’s Tier may change from year to year but there will always be at least one Tier 1 plan offered in your area.

Who administers the State Group Health Insurance Program?
The Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) and the Group Insurance Board (GIB) have statutory authority for program administration and oversight [Wis Stat § 15.165 (2) and 40.03(6)]. All health plans follow GIB guidelines for eligibility and program requirements. The health plans (except the Access Plan and Access HDHP) all offer the same benefit package called Uniform Benefits (as well as the option of electing Uniform Dental coverage for a small additional cost) and compete in an annual competitive premium rates bid process.

Who decides what’s covered under the State Group Health Insurance Program?
The GIB generally determines the coverage offered by the health plans, however, the program must also comply with applicable state and federal laws. The GIB has a fiduciary responsibility to administer the program in accordance with state statute. The GIB decisions are based on ETF recommendations, GIB actuaries and other guidance.

Who decides which health insurance carriers are offered?
In today’s environment, the health plan decides if they want to participate in the State Group Health Insurance program and determines the counties in which they will offer plan providers.
The health plans must meet strict contractual requirements and their participation is authorized annually by the GIB if they meet the required criteria. If a health plan leaves the program, its members must select a new health plan during ABE.

Who is on the Group Insurance Board (GIB)?
The GIB is an eleven-member board that meet specified membership requirements. The GIB sets policy and oversees administration of the group health, life insurance and Income Continuation Insurance plans for state and UW employees and retirees and the group health and life insurance plans for local employers who choose to offer them. The Board also can provide other insurance plans, if employees pay the entire premium.

For more information about the GIB, please click here.

What is the role of the Legislative Joint Finance Committee (JFC)?
The 2017-2019 executive state budget included a requirement that any contracts for a self-insured health insurance program must be submitted to the JFC for review. The JFC then has a 21-day during which the JFC must decide if they will act to reject or modify the contracts.

The State of Wisconsin currently administers three self-insured benefit programs: pharmacy, Uniform Dental and the state-wide Access Health Plan. The other health plans currently offered are not self-insured (they are “fully-insured”). Because the JFC rejected the contracts for a self-insured health insurance program, all health plans, including the Access Plan, will be fully-insured in 2018. The pharmacy and Uniform Dental will remain self-insured.

Source: UW System Office of Human Resources & Workforce Diversity

Annual Benefits Enrollment: October 2 - 27, 2017

The Annual Benefits Enrollment (ABE) period, October 2 - 27, is the only annual opportunity you have to make changes to most of your benefits unless you have an eligible life event (family status or employment change) during the year. Changes made during ABE are effective January 1, 2018.

Watch for emails regarding benefits changes and your enrollment opportunities. The emails will be sent to you beginning in mid-September.

New this year, the UW System is are excited to introduce ALEX, an online personalized benefits counselor designed to simplify your ABE benefits election process. Through a series of easy, intuitive questions, ALEX will walk you through benefits options and suggest appropriate plans based on your answers. ALEX is in the final development stages, and the link will be released soon.

There are several things you can do now to prepare for ABE:

  1. Review your current benefits and visit the ABE website wisconsin.edu/abe for a preview of 2018 benefits changes.
  2. Plan to attend your campus benefits fair to meet with health plan representatives and other benefits vendors. For a list of fairs throughout the UW System: UW System Benefits Fairs.
  3. Plan ahead if you currently participate in a plan that requires re-enrollment each year to continue participation. Plans include:
    • Flexible Spending Account (FSA) including Health Care FSA, Limited Purpose FSA, Dependent Day Care FSA
    • Health Savings Account (HSA) requires that you enroll every year you are enrolled in a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP)
    • State Group Health Insurance Opt-Out Incentive

For questions please contact your human resources office.

Source: UW System Human Resources

UW Employees, Inc. Life Insurance Premium Decrease

Effective October 1, 2017, premium rates for the UW Employees, Inc. Life Insurance plan will decrease by approximately 25%. If you are currently enrolled in UW Employees, Inc., you may want to review the decreased premium rates.

This is also an opportunity to remind all current enrollees to review their current Beneficiary Designation for this life insurance plan. To make changes to your beneficiary designation, complete the Beneficiary Designation and Change Request. Mail the completed form to Minnesota Life Insurance Company, 400 Robert Street North, St. Paul, MN 55101-2098.

If you have questions, contact your human resources office.

Source: UW System Human Resources

Introducing ALEX: A Personalized Benefits Counselor

The UW System is excited to introduce a new interactive benefits decision tool, called ALEX. ALEX is a personalized benefits counselor and can help you understand the benefits options that may be best for you and your family.

ALEX will be unveiled and available for the upcoming Annual Benefits Enrollment (ABE) period October 2 - 27, 2017. Before you make your benefits elections during ABE, we strongly encourage you to let ALEX walk you through your options. ALEX is engaging and efficient. In just a few minutes you will understand your benefits options and have peace of mind as you make your benefits elections.

Watch for more information about ALEX coming soon!

Source: UW System Human Resources

Earn Your $150 Well Wisconsin Incentive

Employees and spouses/domestic partners currently enrolled in the State Group Health Insurance Program are eligible for a $150 Well Wisconsin Incentive.  The incentive is administered by the StayWell Company.

Two steps must be completed to qualify and receive the incentive. The StayWell wellness portal provides more information on completing these steps: https://wellwisconsin.staywell.com.

Step 1:    Have a health screening and submit the results to StayWell

Step 2:  Take the StayWell health assessment

Both steps must be completed and submitted to StayWell prior to October 20, 2017 to receive a 2017 incentive payment.  Participants can claim the incentive instantly or have a Visa gift card mailed to their home address.  The incentive is taxable to the health plan subscriber (employee).

For questions or upcoming screening dates, visit https://wellwisconsin.staywell.com, or call the StayWell HelpLine at 800-821-6591.

Don’t miss the October 20, 2017 deadline!

Source: UW Service Center

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

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 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

Reminder: March 31 Deadline for Filing 2016 Flexible Spending Account Claims

If you had a Health Care and/or Dependent Day Care Flexible Spending Account (FSA) for 2016, the deadline to submit 2016 FSA claims to TASC is Friday, March 31, 2017.  Health care and dependent care expenses incurred during the 2016 calendar year are eligible.  Claims for 2016 that are received by TASC after March 31, 2017 will not be processed. Note: This does not apply to Health Savings Accounts (HSA).

As a reminder, the IRS allows up to $500 Health Care FSA funds to be carried over to the following year.  After the March 31, 2017 deadline, any unused or unclaimed funds over $500 in your 2016 Health Care FSA will be forfeited.  If you did not sign up for a 2017 Health Care FSA during the Annual Benefits Enrollment period last fall, an account will be created for you if you have carryover.  You will not receive a new TASC debit card.  Note: There is no carryover provision for the Dependent Day Care FSA.

You may submit a claim using any of the following methods:

Important: The IRS requires you to include appropriate supporting documentation when submitting a claim.  Make sure that your documentation contains the required information before submitting.

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

Duplicate Tax Statements

Duplicate tax statements (Form W-2, 1095-C, 1042-S, etc.) are available on the MyUW portal.   Log into the MyUW portal for UW System institutions or for UW-Madison. Go to the Payroll Information module.  Open the module and choose the Tax Statements tab.  Statements for 2013 through 2016 are available.

The tax statements available on the portal do not include social security numbers. If you require a tax statement that displays your social security number, or you need a statement from a year prior to 2013, you may request a duplicate tax statement by completing a Duplicate Tax Statement Request.

The 2016 statements are processed at no charge. Processing fees for years prior to 2016 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 for the total amount due to: University of Wisconsin. Duplicates will not be processed or issued without payment. Mail your request and check to: UW Service Center, 660 W. Washington, Suite 201, Madison WI 53703.  Please allow 10 days for processing. 

Source: UW Service Center

Distribution of 1042-S Forms for Foreign Nationals

The 1042-S Forms (Foreign Person's U.S. Source Income Subject to Withholding) are available electronically via https://www.online-tax.net/ 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). 1042-S Forms were mailed by February 24 via U.S mail to employees who elected hard copy distribution.

All 1042-S Forms (distributed electronically via Glacier or via U.S. mail) have been posted to the MyUW portal.   Log into the MyUW portal for UW System institutions or for UW-Madison. Go to the Payroll Information module.  Open the module and choose the Tax Statements tab. 

The deadline for filing state and federal income tax returns is Tuesday, April 18, 2017.

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

America Saves Week February 27 - March 4, 2017; Set a Goal. Make a Plan. Save Automatically.

America Saves Week – February 27–March 4,2017 – is here! The University of Wisconsin is a partner in the America Saves campaign and is dedicated to helping you set a savings goal and make a plan to reach that goal. Those with a savings plan are twice as likely to save successfully.

See the events and resources on the UWSA America Saves website, including interactive webinars, videos, planning and budgeting resources, and handy tips and information on saving and financial wellness. There are in-person workshops across the state on a range of topics from protecting your credit score to managing cash flow. See the list of events by institution

There is still time to sign up! Take advantage of this great opportunity! 

Source: UW Service Center

HR System Upgrade Gives New Look to Employee Self-Service Time and Absence Features

The recent upgrade of the UW Human Resources System (HRS) has introduced a new look that employees will experience when using self-service time and absence features to complete their timesheets and request absences.

Though employees will see a new look, the functionality of these self-service features is very similar.  To assist employees, a Time and Absence Help page is located in the Time and Absence portal module. This help page includes resources to familiarize employees with the new appearance of the Time and Absence self-service features.

For employees who have questions after viewing the help page resources, there is an HR Contacts tab on the page to direct employees to assistance at their institution.

Source: UW Service Center

Human Resources System Outage February 22 until February 27 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 began at noon February 22, 2017. The outage is due to an HRS System technical upgrade and is scheduled to continue until Monday, February 27. 

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

  • Online timesheet
  • Absence reporting
  • Benefits Self-service (‘e-Benefits’)
  • 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.

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

Once the HRS System is upgraded, employees will experience the same functionality that they are currently accustomed to. The upgrade will have minimal impact on system users.

The HRS System manages UW Human Resources, Payroll and Benefits processing for all UW System institutions.  The system is currently running on PeopleSoft’s Human Capital Management software version 9.0. The upgrade will move the system to version 9.2.

Source: UW Service Center

1095-C Forms Available Online

IRS Tax Form 1095-C is available online in the MyUW portal.  Log into the portal for UW System institutions or for UW-Madison. The statement is located in the Payroll Information module under the Tax Statements tab. Paper copies of the 1095-C were mailed to employees via U.S. mail in February 2017 using the same address as the W-2 Form distribution.

 The UW System is providing Form 1095-C to all employees who were full-time, as defined by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), for all or some months of 2016. The information on this form will be used by the IRS to determine whether individuals and/or employers are subject to penalties under the ACA’s individual and employer mandates. Employees should retain Form 1095-C with their tax records.

 In addition to Form 1095-C, some employees will receive a Form 1095-B from their insurance carrier. Form 1095-B reflects health insurance coverage provided to an employee or their family member(s) during the previous calendar year. Form 1095-B also documents employee compliance with the ACA Individual Mandate. Employees should retain Form 1095-B with their tax records.

 For more information regarding Form 1095-C, Form 1095-B and the ACA, visit https://www.wisconsin.edu/ohrwd/aca/.  If you have questions regarding your Form 1095-C, contact the UW System’s third-party administrator, Businessolver at 1-844-215-5100. If you have any questions regarding Form 1095-B, contact your health insurance carrier that provided the form. 

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

Self-insurance Model Approved for the State Group Health Insurance Program Pending Legislative Approval

On February 8, 2016, the Group Insurance Board (GIB) approved a motion to move to a self-insured funding model for the State Group Health Insurance program effective January, 2018.   This change seeks to maintain benefits, contain costs and improve quality of the State Group Health Insurance program.  The proposed change to the self-insured funding model requires approval by the State Legislature.

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 they pay all medical claims.  In the proposed model, the state pays medical claims directly to providers through third-party administrators. 

How will this change affect an employees’ choice of doctors?
It is not expected to impact employee provider choice as 98% of current providers will be available under the new program structure. 

Will an employee have to pay more for health insurance in 2018 in a self-insured model?

The employee costs for premiums are unknown at this time as determinations are made available in the fall.  Cost sharing amounts (copay/deductible/coinsurance) are expected to stay the same in 2018.

As more details about this new program become available updates will be provided.  For more information review the news release and Frequently Asked Questions from the Department of Employee Trust Funds.

Source: UW Service Center

America Saves Week February 27 - March 4, 2017; Set a Goal. Make a Plan. Save Automatically.

America Saves Week is your opportunity to commit—or recommit—to saving for today and for your retirement.

America Saves is a national campaign that encourages individuals and families to assess their savings and take financial action. The University of Wisconsin is a partner in the America Saves campaign.

Look at the UW’s America Saves website for in-person workshops and interactive webinars, videos, handy tips and information on saving and financial wellness. The easiest and most effective way to save is automatically.

Your UW Tax-Sheltered Annuity 403(b) Program can help you save automatically 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. The UW TSA Program has no participant fees, no loads or trading fees, and access to low-cost funds, including index funds and many funds with institutional share classes. This provides a tremendous benefit for UW employees.

UW TSA 403(b) Program investment options include a wide array of mutual funds and fixed and variable annuities managed by five investment companies: TIAAFidelityT. Rowe PriceAmeriprise/RiverSource Life InsuranceLincoln National Life Insurance. For more information see www.wisconsin.edu/ohrwd/benefits/ret/tsa/ or contact your institution’s Human Resources office.  

If you are just getting started in your career, don’t make the mistake of thinking you’ll have plenty of time later to fund your retirement. Starting 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. Choose an index fund or a Target Retirement Date Fund – designed to match your age and expected retirement date. These simple options provide an easy way to get started. See the enrollment options at www.wisconsin.edu/ohrwd/benefits/ret/tsa/#enrollment.

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. Then, as you are able, increase the amount of your salary that you save each year. This will build your savings.

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 deposits will add up. Even small amounts of savings can help you in the future. Save automatically in the UW TSA 403(b) Program.  As millions of savers have learned, what you don’t see you won’t miss.

Source: UW Service Center

Income Continuation Insurance Annual Premium Update

Each year Income Continuation Insurance (ICI) premiums are updated on February 1. For University Staff (paid bi-weekly), the premium update will be reflected on the February 16, 2017 paycheck. For Faculty/Academic Staff/Limited Appointees (paid monthly), the premium update will be reflected on the March 1, 2017 paycheck.

Current participants’ 2017 premium update will depend on many factors including:

  • University Staff: the ICI premium is based on 2016 earnings reported to the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) and sick leave balance/usage as of 12/24/2016 and current category.
  • Faculty/Academic Staff/Limited Appointees: the ICI premium is based on 2016 WRS-reported earnings and the selected elimination period.

If you are currently enrolled in the ICI program, you may see your updated 2017 ICI premium, here: ICI Premium Notice. Current enrollees were also sent an email Friday, February 10 directing them to this customized web page.

Please note:  The ICI annual premium update effective February 1 is based on 2016 earnings and does not reflect any enrollments made during the ICI Deferred Enrollment period which began in January and ends March 1, 2017.  Employees who are eligible to participate in the ICI Deferred Enrollment period received notification about their opportunity in late January.

For a full list of ICI premiums and more information about the plan, visit the ICI plan page. If you have questions, contact your institution’s Human Resources office.

 

Source: UW Service Center

Human Resources System Outage in Late February 2017 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 occur in late February 2017.

The outage is due to an HRS System technical upgrade and is scheduled to begin at noon on Wednesday, February 22 and continue until Monday, February 27. 

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

  • Online timesheet
  • Absence reporting
  • Benefits Self-service (‘e-Benefits’)
  • 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.

Employees are encouraged to plan ahead and take care of HR, Payroll and Benefits related tasks in the portal before the outage begins. The rest of the portal, with the exception of the HRS System related features and documents, will be available during the HRS outage.

Once the HRS System is upgraded, employees will experience the same functionality that they are currently accustomed to. The upgrade will have minimal impact on system users.

The HRS System manages UW Human Resources, Payroll and Benefits processing for all UW System institutions.  The system is currently running on PeopleSoft’s Human Capital Management software version 9.0. The upgrade will move the system to version 9.2.

Source: UW Service Center

America Saves Week, February 27 - March 4: Resources and Events for UW Employees

America Saves Week, a national campaign encouraging savings and financial planning, is February 27 – March 4, 2017. The University of Wisconsin is a partner in the America Saves campaign and has many resources and events planned to help UW employees expand their financial knowledge and set new savings goals.

Take a look at the UW’s America Saves website which lists all of the resources and events planned throughout the state. In-person events include workshops on valuable financial wellness topics presented by the UW Credit Union, Summit Credit Union, TIAA, Fidelity, T. Rowe Price, Ameriprise, Lincoln, UW faculty members and Tax-Sheltered Annuity Program staff, as well as credit report consultations and individual counseling. The UW is committed to helping you plan, save, and build wealth, so you can fulfill your long-term goals.

Find dates and times on the website for events at your institution or near you, view live, interactive webinars and videos, and read 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 will keep you motivated with information, tips, and reminders to help you reach your savings goal. Think of them as your own personal support system.

America Saves Week 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 Service Center

Exclusion for Gender Reassignment Related Services Reinstated as of February 1, 2017

The Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) has announced that the exclusion for services related to gender reassignment for participants of the State of Wisconsin Group Health Insurance Program is reinstated as of February 1, 2017.  For more detailed information go to http://etf.wi.gov/news/ht_20170201.htm.

Source: UW Service Center

Income Continuation Insurance Deferred Enrollment Available Through March 1, 2017 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 ICI Deferred Enrollment period through March 1, 2017.  Eligible employees will be personally notified by email from the UW System HR (uwsystemhr@uwsa.edu) email address.  Employees who receive a paper earnings statement will receive a letter mailed to their home address.

Please see https://www.wisconsin.edu/ohrwd/benefits/dis/ici/ 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 benefits office on or before March 1, 2017.  ICI coverage elected through deferred enrollment will be effective April 1, 2017.

Questions?

If you have questions, contact your benefits office.

Source: UW Service Center

Save the Date! America Saves Week February 27 - March 4, 2017

Saving is possible! 

We all agree that saving is a good idea. That’s the easy part. Figuring out how to manage your expenses so you can save, or save more? That may not be so easy. America Saves Week is your opportunity to commit—or recommit—to saving for today and for later in retirement. Saving is more than just a good idea. It’s possible!

 America Saves is a national campaign that encourages individuals and families to assess their savings and take financial action. This is a great opportunity to expand your financial knowledge and set some new savings goals.

 The University of Wisconsin is a partner in the America Saves campaign. In the upcoming weeks be on the lookout for in-person workshops and interactive webinars, videos, handy tips and information on saving and financial wellness. Look forward to more information as we encourage savers – or potential savers – just like you to set a goal, make a plan, and save automatically.

 Pursuing your financial goals, that’s what saving—and America Saves Week—is about.

Source: UW Service Center

W-2 (Wage and Tax Statements) Now Available Online; to be Mailed by January 31, 2017

(Additional Tax Forms to be Distributed in February and March)

 The 2016 W-2 Wage and Tax Statements are now available online in the MyUW portal for UW System institutions or for UW-Madison. Your statement is located under the Tax Statements tab in the Payroll Information app. Paper copies of the W-2 will be mailed via U.S. mail and postmarked by January 31, 2017.

A printed Form W-2 from the portal is a valid document for tax filing. However, if you are filing a paper tax statement, you must write your Social Security number or Individual Tax Payer Identification number in the 'a' field at the top of each Form W-2 section. In order to increase the security of sensitive information online, any U.S. Social Security or Tax Payer Identification number has been removed from the online statements.

Additional Tax Forms to be Distributed

Some employees will also receive additional tax forms from the University (Examples: 1095-C, 1042-S, Fellowship/Scholarship Letter, 1099-Misc Form).

  • 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 2016 will have a 1095-C form to document that health insurance coverage was offered to them.  Employees will need the 1095-C Form as part of their documentation requirement when filing 2016 taxes.
  • The 1042-S Forms will be available 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 sometime in March. 
  • The Fellowship/Scholarship Letter and 1099-Misc Forms will be mailed to your home address.

Filing Your Taxes

Please remember to use your W-2 Form, not your final 2016 Earnings Statement, to file your taxes. Some employees have had adjustments made to their 2016 taxable earnings since the last 2016 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 23, 2017 for the 2016 tax filing season. To minimize your chance of a fraudulent return being processed using your Social Security number (SSN), or Individual Tax Payer Identification number (ITIN), you may want to consider filing a return as early as you are able and once you have received all necessary tax forms. More information is available on the IRS website.

Late February HR System Outage Will Affect Availability of Tax Forms on Portal

Please note that the UW’s Human Resource System (HRS) will have a multi-day outage towards the end of February in order to implement a technical upgrade of HRS.  During this outage all electronic statements on the portal, including the electronic copies of all tax forms, will be unavailable.  We anticipate that statement access will be restored when HRS comes back on-line on the morning of Monday, February 27th.  If you need an electronic copy of a statement during the outage, please contact your institution payroll administrator during normal business hours; they will be able to retrieve copies of your statements on your behalf.  See the ‘Help’ link in the My UW Payroll Information app for payroll administrator contact information for your institution.

Source: UW Service Center