HR, Payroll and Benefits News

Income Continuation Insurance Deferred Enrollment Through March 1, 2021

You may be eligible to participate in the annual Income Continuation Insurance (ICI) Deferred Enrollment opportunity now through March 1, 2021. ICI is an ‘income replacement’ benefit that replaces up to 75% of your gross salary if you are unable to work due to a short or long-term disability. Employees who are eligible to participate in the ICI Deferred Enrollment opportunity were notified by email on January 16.

Eligibility

    • If you are currently enrolled in the ICI plan and have Standard ICI coverage, you may be eligible to enroll in Supplemental ICI coverage during the ICI Deferred Enrollment opportunity.
    • If you are not currently enrolled in the ICI plan, you may be eligible to enroll during the ICI Deferred Enrollment opportunity. This is the only time during the year you may enroll in the ICI plan without evidence of insurability.

How are ICI Coverage and Premiums Determined?

ICI coverage and premiums are based in part on your eligible earnings.* For University Staff employees, your sick leave balance* is also a factor in determining premiums. For Faculty, Academic Staff and Limited Appointees, the elimination period you elected is an additional factor in determining premiums.

*If you were placed on an intermittent furlough, temporary work reduction, consecutive day furlough or were on an unpaid leave of absence during 2020, review your ICI employee web page for information on how your premium may be affected.

ICI Benefits

    • Standard ICI pays up to 75% of your salary to a maximum benefit of $4,000/month (based on a maximum salary of up to $64,000 per year).
    • Supplemental ICI pays up to 75% of your salary to a maximum benefit of $7,500/month (based on a maximum salary of up to $120,000 per year).

For More Information or to Enroll in ICI during the Deferred Enrollment Period

Review the UW System Employee Benefits ICI web page or visit ALEX.

To enroll during the ICI Deferred Enrollment Period, submit an application to your human resources office by 4:30 p.m. on Monday, March 1, 2021.

If you have questions after reviewing the available information, contact your human resources office.

Source: UW System Human Resources

W-2 Forms (Wage and Tax Statements) Now Available Online

Electronic 2020 W-2 Forms (Wage and Tax Statements) are now available in the MyUW portal. Employees will receive a paper copy of the W-2 Form via U.S. mail by February 1, 2021. Paper copies are mailed to all employees except those who chose to receive an electronic only W-2 by January 18, 2021.

Instructions to View/Print 2020 W-2 Form.

Availability of Other Tax Forms
Some employees will receive additional tax forms from UW System. These additional forms are not applicable to all employees. Examples include:

    • Form 1095-C - A separate communication will be sent to employees who will receive this form.
    • The Fellowship Letter - Typically available in February.
    • The 1042-S Forms - Typically available in the MyUW portal in March. Employees who have chosen electronic delivery through the Glacier System may have access to their forms earlier. Others will have their form mailed to their home address. Instructions to View/Print 1042-S Form and Fellowship Letter.

Resources
Visit Tax Statement Help for resources regarding the various tax forms.

Filing Taxes
Employees should use their W-2 Form, not their final 2020 earnings statement, to file taxes.

Some employees have had adjustments to their 2020 taxable earnings since the last 2020 payroll was paid and 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 IRS will begin accepting and processing 2020 tax year returns on February 12, 2021. Employees may want to file their return as soon as all tax forms are received to minimize the chance of a fraudulent return being processed using their Social Security number, or Individual Tax Payer Identification number. More information is available on the IRS website.

If you have questions, contact your Payroll office.

Source: UW-Shared Services, Service Operations

Save the Date! America Saves Week is February 22-26, 2021

This year, you may have had to do more with less. UW System is promoting financial well-being through the America Saves Week campaign. This campaign encourages individuals and families to set a goal and make a plan to achieve better financial stability through free webinars and other resources. Visit the UW System America Saves Week website for more information. Registration opens Monday, February 1 for these free events!

Source: UW System Human Resources

2021 Benefit Change Reminders

Review your 2021 Benefit Enrollments
As 2020 comes to an end, now is a great time to review your 2021 benefits! Use the Benefits Summary in Self Service to review your enrollments:

  1. Log into the MyUW portal for UW System institutions or for UW-Madison.
  2. Go to the ‘Benefit Information’ module.
  3. Choose the ‘Summary’ tab and click ‘View Benefits Summary Detail.
  4. In the ‘As of Date’ field, enter 01/01/2021 and click ‘Refresh.’

The information below outlines benefit plan changes and reminders for 2021.

Health Insurance

    • Premiums: Slight increase for most plans.
    • Newly Covered Services: Biofeedback services for urinary incontinence.
    • Wellness Incentive: Health insurance plan carriers will no longer offer a wellness incentive component. Note, the incentive offered through StayWell will continue (see below).
    • Annual Deductibles and Out-of-Pocket Maximums: No change; however, they will reset on January 1, 2021.
    • Telehealth/Virtual Visits: Will continue to be covered without cost-sharing.
    • Primary Care Provider (PCP): Employees, spouses and dependents enrolled in the State Group Health Insurance Program must select a primary care provider (PCP). For assistance designating a PCP or updating your PCP, contact your health plan directly.

Pharmacy Benefits
There are no changes to the pharmacy benefits for 2021. However, your annual deductible and out-of-pocket maximums will reset at the beginning of the new plan year, January 1, 2021.

Find in-network pharmacies and formulary lists on the Navitus website, or contact Navitus directly at 1-866-333-2757.

Well Wisconsin Program Incentive
Employees and spouses enrolled in the State Group Health Insurance Program are eligible for the Well Wisconsin Program Incentive. To receive the $150 incentive for 2021, a health check, health assessment and a well-being activity must be completed by October 8, 2021.

A new website will launch on January 4, 2021. To prepare for this, the current website will be unavailable starting December 31, 2020. To access the new website, employees and spouses will need to create a new username and password. Additional information, including a link to the website, will be sent to you directly from StayWell in January.

Dental Insurance
Delta Dental will continue to administer the dental insurance plans in 2021. There are no changes to any of the dental insurance plans for 2021. Find a Delta Dental network dentist here. If you are enrolled in Uniform Dental, Preventive Dental and/or the Select Plus plan, you should select a dentist in the PPO or Premier network. If you enrolled in the Select plan, you should select a dentist in the PPO network.

Vision Insurance
The vision insurance plan will be administered by DeltaVision in 2021 (in partnership with EyeMed). The plan will continue to offer an allowance of up to $150 toward frames or contact lenses. The 2021 premiums are slightly less than the 2020 premiums. If you enrolled for 2021, you will receive a vision insurance ID card to help your eye doctor/clinic verify eligibility/benefits and submit claims. Find a DeltaVision/EyeMed provider here.

Healthcare and Dependent Day Care Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA)
For the Health Care and Limited Purpose FSA’s for 2021, the annual maximum contribution is $2,750 and the carryover limit is $550, both slight increases from 2020. For the Dependent Day Care Account, the annual maximum remains unchanged at $5,000 per household.

Health Savings Accounts (HSA)
The HSA is a required component of the High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP).

    • Annual Maximum Contribution: Increased to $3,600 for single coverage and $7,200 for family.
    • Catch-up Contribution: There is an additional $1,000 catch-up contribution amount for employees that are or will attain age 55+ during the calendar year (no change from 2020).
    • Employer Contributions: Will remain the same for 2021. $750 for employees enrolled in single coverage and $1,500 for employees enrolled in family coverage. Employees with less than half time rates will receive $375 if enrolled in single coverage and $750 if enrolled in family coverage. Crafts workers are not eligible for the employer contribution.
    • Employee Contributions: Employee contributions from your paycheck can be changed at any time.

Parking & Transit Accounts
Effective January 1, 2021, parking and transit accounts will again be offered to eligible employees. These accounts allow you to pay certain work-related parking and/or transit expenses with tax-free dollars.

    • Parking Account: Covers work-related parking expenses such as parking ramps.
    • Transit Account: Covers work-related transit expenses such as bus and/or vanpools.

The maximum monthly contribution limit for each account is $270. Contribution amounts may be changed at any time; they do not require a qualifying life event.

Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D)
There are no changes to the AD&D plan for 2021. Reminder: An identity theft protection component is included (LifeStages Identity Management Services from CyberScout).

Accident Insurance
This plan may provide cash payment to you in the event of an accident. The Accidental Death & Dismemberment component of this plan will increase to $100,000 for 2021. Premiums will increase slightly.

Review the UW System Employee Benefits website for additional information.

Source: UW System Human Resources

Employee Assistance Program Vendor Change January 1, 2021

The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) vendor for most* UW System institutions will change on January 1, 2021 from FEI to Kepro.

The EAP services provided by Kepro will remain confidential and continue to address personal and/or work-related concerns. Some of the specific concerns you may use the EAP for include:

    • emotional issues
    • substance abuse
    • grief and loss
    • legal and financial issues

The EAP will continue to provide you and your household family members up to six sessions per person per issue per year.

How to Contact Kepro:

    • Phone: 833-539-7285 or 877-334-0489 (TTY)
    • Website: https://sowi.mylifeexpert.com (code SOWI); to access the online resources, you will need to set-up a username and password

If you are currently receiving services through FEI, you may continue to do so through December 31, 2020. After January 1, 2021 you should contact Kepro to continue EAP services with your current provider (if they are in the Kepro network) or a new provider.

Note: FEI recently sent their network providers a communication making them aware of this change. The communication included information for them to become a Kepro provider.

For more information, visit the UW System EAP webpage.

* Excludes UW-Madison and UW-Superior

Source: UW System Human Resources

2021 Benefit Premium Deductions

Are you wondering when your UW System paycheck will reflect your 2021 benefit premiums? Or are you wondering when deductions for your 2021 Flexible Spending Account (FSA), Health Savings Account (HSA) and/or Parking and Transit Accounts will begin? If so, continue reading.

Health, Dental, Vision and Accident Insurance Premiums
Below are the paycheck dates that will start 2021 deductions:

    • Biweekly paid employees: December 17, 2020
    • Monthly paid employees: January 4, 2021

Reminder: State Group Health Insurance premiums (for most plans) and Accident Insurance premiums will increase slightly for 2021. Dental Insurance premiums will remain the same. Vision Insurance premiums will decrease slightly.

Flexible Spending Account (FSA), Health Savings Account (HSA) and Parking & Transit Accounts
If you enrolled in an FSA, HSA and/or Parking & Transit Account for 2021, your first contribution will be on the following paycheck (based on your pay frequency):

    • Biweekly: January 14, 2021
    • Monthly: January 4, 2021

Individual & Family Life Insurance and UW Employees, Inc. Life Insurance Premiums
If you will be in a new premium age category as of January 1, 2021, your premium will change on the following paycheck (based on your pay frequency):

    • Biweekly: December 17, 2020
    • Monthly: January 4, 2021

Your premium will also change on the paycheck dates listed above if:

    • You increased your coverage for the Individual & Family Life Insurance Plan during the Annual Increase Option period and/or
    • The premium rate for your age category changed.

Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D) Insurance Premiums
If you enrolled, changed coverage levels or disenrolled through Self Service during the Annual Benefits Enrollment, your premium will change on the following paychecks (based on your pay frequency):

    • Biweekly: December 17, 2020
    • Monthly: January 4, 2021

Income Continuation Insurance (ICI) Premiums
ICI premium rates will remain the same for 2021. However, if you have an earnings category change or a sick leave category change (university staff plan only) your premium may change depending on your situation. Premium changes will occur on the following paychecks (based on your pay frequency):

    • Biweekly: February 25, 2021
    • Monthly: March 1, 2021

Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) Contributions: Employee and Employer
The WRS employee and employer contributions for 2021 will remain at 6.75% for most employees.

Source: UW System Human Resources

UW Employees, Inc. Life Insurance Premiums to Change January 1, 2021

If you are enrolled in the UW Employees, Inc. Life Insurance, your premium rates may change slightly effective January 1, 2021 if:

    • Your age puts you in a new age category. Coverage level and premium are based on your age as of January 1st of the current year.
    • The premium rate for your age category changes. The premium rates for some age categories are changing effective January 1, 2021.

Review the 2021 UW Employees, Inc. Life Insurance premiums on the Benefit Premiums webpage. As a reminder, you pay the full cost for coverage for this life insurance.

Timing of Premium Change(s)
Premium changes for Faculty, Academic Staff and Limited Appointees (paid monthly) will be on the January 4, 2021 paycheck. For University Staff employees and Academic Staff non-exempt employees (paid biweekly) premium changes will be reflected on the December 17, 2020 paycheck.

Questions?
For general information about the UW Employees, Inc. Life insurance plan, visit the UW Employees, Inc. Life Insurance plan page or visit ALEX. If after reviewing the available resources you have questions about the premium update or increase, contact your institution human resources office.

Source: UW System Human Resources

2021 Benefits ID Cards

If you enrolled or made changes to your benefits during the Annual Benefits Enrollment (ABE) period, you may or may not receive new ID cards. See below for information specific to each plan.

STATE GROUP HEALTH INSURANCE
For 2021 enrollments/changes that occurred during the ABE period, health insurance plan ID cards are typically sent by the end of December if you chose a different health plan design or carrier. Present your new ID card at appointments that occur on or after January 1, 2021.

If you chose the same health plan design with the same carrier, you will typically only receive a new ID card if you added or removed dependents.

You may be able to login and print an ID card online. Remember, before you see a health care provider in 2021, check to make sure they are in-network by using the Health Plan Search.

PHARMACY BENEFITS
If you are newly enrolled in health insurance for 2021 or added/removed dependents, you will also receive an ID card from the pharmacy benefits manager, Navitus. You can expect to receive your ID card early January.

You may be able to register and login to print an ID card online at www.navitus.com.

FLEXIBLE SPENDING ACCOUNTS (FSA) AND/OR HEALTH SAVINGS ACCOUNT (HSA)
If you are enrolled in a Health Care FSA and/or an HSA for 2020 and already have a payment card from the plan administrator, ConnectYourCare (CYC), you may continue to use your current payment card until the expiration date.

If you were not enrolled in a Health Care FSA and/or an HSA in 2020, however, enrolled for 2021, you will receive a payment card from CYC by the end of December.

If you have money in multiple accounts (FSA, HSA and/or Parking), the same payment card should be used for all accounts.

PARKING AND TRANSIT ACCOUNTS
If you are enrolled in a Health Care FSA and/or an HSA for 2020 and already have a payment card from the plan administrator, ConnectYourCare (CYC) and are also enrolled in a Parking Account for 2021, you may use your current payment card for your qualifying parking expenses.

If you were not enrolled in a Health Care FSA and/or an HSA in 2020; therefore, do not already have a CYC payment card, you will receive a payment card from CYC by the end of December to use for qualifying parking expenses.

If you have money in multiple accounts (FSA, HSA and/or Parking), the same payment card should be used for all accounts.

Note: The Transit Account does not have a payment card. If enrolled, you will need to submit manual claims for reimbursement (through the myCYC app, CYC portal or paper claim form).

DENTAL INSURANCE
If you are newly enrolled in Uniform Dental, Preventive Dental, and/or Supplemental Dental (Select or Select Plus), you will receive an ID card from Delta Dental by the end of December. If you are currently enrolled, you will only receive a new ID card if your level of coverage changed (e.g. single to family).

You may be able to login and print an ID card online at www.deltadentalwi.com/state-of-wi.

VISION INSURANCE
If you are enrolled in vision insurance in 2021, you will receive an ID card from the new vision insurance administrator, DeltaVision/EyeMed. Remember to provide your vision insurance ID card to your provider at your next appointment. Here are a few notes about your ID cards:

      • Your member ID on your ID card is a random number assigned by DeltaVision/EyeMed
      • ID cards only list your name (your covered spouse/dependent(s) are not listed)
      • ID cards do not specify your level of coverage (e.g. single, family)

You may be able to print an ID card online at www.deltadentalwi.com/state-of-wi by registering using your fist and last name, your date of birth and the last four digits of your social security number. Or, you may register by entering the information on your ID card exactly as it appears.

Note: You do not need your ID card to seek services.

ACCIDENT INSURANCE
Securian, the Accident Insurance plan administrator, does not issue ID cards. Review the Accident Insurance page for claims filing information.

Note: Most claims must be filed shortly following an accident.

REVIEW YOUR CARDS FOR ACCURACY
Review your ID cards for accuracy. If you discover errors or if you do not receive your ID cards by mid-January, contact the plan directly to request new ID cards.

NoteYour institution's Human Resources team is not able to request ID cards on your behalf.

Source: UW System Human Resources

Get your Flu Shot

Protect yourself this flu season by getting your annual flu shot!

The shot will vaccinate against the four most likely causes of flu illness during the upcoming season, including the H1N1- strain of influenza. The vaccine is not preservative-free and is not recommended if you are:

    • Allergic to eggs or egg products.
    • Sensitive to the mercury-based preservative thimerosal.
    • Have an active neurological disorder.
    • Have a fever, acute respiratory or other active infection or illness.
    • Pregnant (contact your physician to find out if you should receive the vaccine).

Between September and November, the Well Wisconsin Program offered on-site workplace flu shot clinics because a quick needle stick was better than a nasty illness later. Flu shots were free and voluntary for employees and spouses enrolled in the State Group Health Insurance Program.

If you missed the onsite clinic(s) at your institution: Consider getting your free flu shot from your in-network doctor’s office or pharmacy (call ahead to check availability and find out if an appointment is necessary).

For more information:

Source: UW System Human Resources

Reminder To University Staff: Review & Bank Leave Balances

Eligible University Staff employees have an annual opportunity to bank and/or request a pay out of their unused vacation. All banking or pay out requests must be submitted by December 31, 2020. Personal and Legal Holidays are not eligible to be banked or paid out.

To be eligible to bank or request a cash payout of unused vacation, you must meet the years of service requirement. Review UW System Administrative Policy 1210 (formerly BN 1) Vacation, Paid Leave Banks, and Vacation Cash Payouts for details on banking or cashing out vacation. All requests to bank or receive vacation cash payout must be received by December 31, 2020.

You may review your leave balances and submit your banking request online via Self Service:

  1. Log into the MyUW portal for UW System Institutions or for UW-Madison.
  2. Go to the "Time and Absence" module.
  3. Click on Timesheet.
  4. Click on Absence Balances tab on left side of screen or in the tab below timesheet section. Conversion Eligibility will be displayed between the Posted leave balances and the Projected leave balances.
  5. Follow instructions for converting vacation to banked leave: Banked Leave Tipsheet.
  6. Review Vacation Carryover, Personal Holiday and Legal Holiday balances. Legal holiday must be used by 12/31 or it will be lost.

As a reminder, In October, an interim policy was released for University Staff employees which allows unused vacation from calendar year 2019 (January 1, 2019 - December 31, 2019) to be carried over for one additional year. Additionally, unused personal holiday from calendar year 2020 (January 1, 2020 - December 31, 2020) may be carried forward. All Vacation and Personal Holiday hours carried over under this temporary extension must be used by December 31, 2021.

For more detailed information on vacation, paid leave banks, and vacation cash payouts, review:

Source: UW System Human Resources

2021 Tax-Sheltered Annuity and Wisconsin Deferred Compensation Contribution Limits

The IRS recently announced the 2021 contribution limits for the UW Tax-Sheltered Annuity (TSA) 403(b) Program and the Wisconsin Deferred Compensation (WDC) 457 Program. Both contribution limits will remain the same as 2020 limits.

In 2021, employees may contribute a basic maximum of $19,500 to the TSA Program. Employees age 50 and over can contribute an additional $6,500 for a total of $26,000. These same limits apply to WDC.

If you have 15 years or more of service with the UW System and have contributed less than an average of $5,000 per year over your UW System 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 limits. Note: Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) are a type of retirement account separate from the TSA and WDC Programs and have separate limits.

To increase (or decrease) your TSA deduction for 2021, login to the MyUW portal for UW System institutions or UW-Madison. Launch the Benefits Information tile. On the bottom of the screen, click on “Update TSA Deductions” to make your change. You can also submit a TSA Salary Reduction Agreement to your human resources office.

If you are enrolling for the first time, you can use the EZ Enrollment Form or set your account up online (or paper application) with the provider(s) of your choice and then fill out the Salary Reduction Agreement.

For questions on the TSA program, visit the TSA website or contact your human resources office.

To change your WDC contribution call the WDC office at (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.

Source: UW System Human Resources

Vacation/Personal Holiday Carryover Extended

Due to the disruptive effect of COVID-19 on employee’s schedules, Interim Policies were approved that allow leave eligible employees to extend carryover of unused vacation and personal holiday.

In October, an interim policy was released for University Staff employees which allows the following:

    • Unused Vacation from calendar year 2019 (January 1, 2019 – December 31, 2019) can be carried over for one additional year. All Vacation hours carried over under this temporary extension must be used by December 31, 2021.
    • Unused Personal Holiday from calendar year 2020 (January 1, 2020 – December 31, 2020) may be carried forward. All Personal Holiday hours carried over under this temporary extension must be used by December 31, 2021.

As a reminder, in April an interim policy was release for Faculty, Academic Staff and Limited Appointees which granted an extension as follows:

    • Unused Vacation from fiscal year 2019 (July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019) can be carried over for one additional year. All Vacation hours carried over under this temporary extension must be used by June 30, 2021.
    • Unused Personal Holiday from fiscal year 2020 (July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2020) may be carried forward. All Personal Holiday hours carried over under this temporary extension must be used by June 30, 2021.
    • Employees who extend vacation and/or personal holiday carry over are still required to submit monthly leave reports.

You are encouraged to plan ahead and schedule your paid leave in advance to avoid losing any vacation and/or personal holiday hours.

For more detailed information review:

Source: UW System Human Resources

Reminder: 2020 Health Care Flexible Spending Account Participants

The Health Care Flexible Spending Account (FSA) and Limited Purpose FSA allow participants to pay certain out-of-pocket expenses with tax-free dollars. Since these are spending accounts, the money is intended to be spent. Below are reminders to use your FSA and substantiate your claims timely.

Eligible expenses for 2020 must have been incurred by December 31, 2020. These expenses must be submitted and substantiated by March 31, 2021.

How to Submit 2020 Claims
In most situations, the payment card from the FSA administrator, ConnectYourCare (CYC) will work at the point of sale or service. Here are the options to submit FSA claims manually:

For efficient processing, include appropriate IRS required supporting documentation with your claim(s) submission by March 31, 2021. CYC will contact participants directly when additional information is needed.

How to Substantiate 2020 Claims
Review your account on the CYC Portal to see if you have claims to substantiate. If additional information is necessary to substantiate your 2020 claim(s), refer to the FSA Unsubstantiated Claims Process webpage.

Failure to provide documentation to CYC when requested may require repayment. Repayment is done by deducting money from your paycheck on an after-tax basis. Claims should be substantiated by December 31, 2020 to avoid the repayment process.

Health Care FSA Carry Over Reminder
Up to $550 of unused funds in a Health Care or Limited Purpose FSA will carry over into the following year (even if you do not enroll in the FSA for the following year). You will have access to your carryover funds on/around April 15, 2021.

Recent Legislation
The Consolidated Appropriations Act 2021 was recently signed into law. The Act has several COVID relief measures including provisions for employers to help ease your concerns over losing unused FSA funds (health care and dependent day care accounts). The Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) is the sponsor for the FSAs that UW System employees are eligible for. The UW System has been in contact with ETF on the potential for any changes to be made to the FSA program. Additional information will be provided if any of the provisions in the Act are adopted.

Additional Information
For questions about your FSA including eligible expenses, claims and/or your payment card, contact CYC at 1-833-881-8158 or service@connectyourcare.com.

For general information review UW System Employee Benefits website.

Source: UW System Human Resources

Social Security and Medicare Taxes for 2021

The Social Security wage base will rise to $142,800 in 2021 from $137,700 in 2020. This means that the first $142,800 of an employee's taxable wages are subject to Social Security taxes. An employee and the UW will each pay 6.2% on taxable wages up to $142,800.

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-Shared Services

New Mental Health Resource Available

A new mental health resource offered through SilverCloud is available to employees. SilverCloud is an online platform that offers self-guided, interactive programs and skill-building tools to help manage anxiety, depression, stress, resilience and insomnia. It is available to all employees and students at no cost. If you are experiencing mild to moderate symptoms for any one of the above conditions, this may be an effective way for you to help manage these conditions.

What does each SilverCloud module contain?
Each module takes an average of 40 minutes and automatically saves your progress so you can come back later if you get interrupted. A typical module contains seven parts:

    1. Introduction: Helps you decide which module to get started with.
    2. Quiz: Helps gauge your knowledge and absorption of new information.
    3. Main Content: Displays the most important information and activities about the topic.
    4. Personal Stories: Based on real-life people, clinical knowledge and experiences to help you realize you are not alone.
    5. Tools: Activities that reinforce the information you learned throughout the module.
    6. Staying in the Present: Many topics discuss living in the past or thinking about the future. This activity uses mindfulness principles to bring you back to the present.
    7. Review: Allows you to reflect, set goals and incorporate what you learned into your life.

How should I use SilverCloud for my well-being?
Studies have shown that online cognitive behavioral therapy can provide an effective form of care for motivated individuals experiencing mild to moderate symptoms. SilverCloud may supplement traditional therapy or appointments with a counselor or you may use it without needing a counselor. A referral from a mental health or medical professional is not necessary to use this free online program.

Where should I go to get started?

For additional information on SilverCloud, go to the Mental Health Resources page.

What is the main difference between SilverCloud and the Employee Assistance Program (EAP)?
The main difference between SilverCloud and the EAP is that Silver Cloud is self-guided whereas the EAP allows you to speak with a counselor for help on a much broader range of services (e.g. work/life balance, will preparation, financial concerns, etc).
Note: Both programs are free and confidential.

For additional information on the EAP, go to the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) page.

Source: UW System Human Resources

Benefits Resources during COVID-19

Many UW System employees and their families are working through change to their daily routines due to COVID-19. Watch these brief videos to help you understand why this change is necessary:

If you are covered by the State Group Health Insurance Program, you may have questions on if or how your doctor’s visit will be covered if you or a covered dependent shows symptoms of COVID-19. To answer your questions regarding testing, telehealth, biometric screening cancellations and more, visit the Department of Employee Trust Fund’s (ETF) COVID-19 webpage. ETF’s webpage includes information about using telehealth and nurse line services as an alternative to an office visit.

We realize that the current situation may cause stress and worry for you and your family. Our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available to UW System employees, their spouses or significant others, and their dependents. Services available may include a consultation on legal or financial concerns or help with how to handle an unexpected day care situation (e.g., child day care or adult/elder care). Visit the EAP webpage to determine how to contact the EAP provided at your institution.

For additional information see: Benefits during the COVID-19 Pandemic. This document provides a summary of benefit plan changes you may be able to make during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as links to valuable pandemic-related resources.

Source: UW System Human Resources

WRS News Online, November 2020

External link: https://etf.wi.gov/news/wrs-news-online/issue/18536

Life Insurance Benefits

The UW System offers several life insurance plans to help protect you and your family in the event of death. You may enroll in one or more of the following plans if you are eligible:

  • State Group Life Insurance – Provides coverage of up to five times your eligible earnings. You may also elect up to $20,000 coverage for your spouse and up to $10,000 for dependent child(ren).
  • Individual & Family Life Insurance – Provides coverage of up to $20,000 for you, up to $10,000 for your spouse/domestic partner and up to $5,000 for dependent child(ren). If enrolled, you have an annual opportunity to increase coverage without providing proof of good health. Coverage levels can be increased in $5,000 increments up to $300,000 for employee coverage, $150,000 for spouse/domestic partner coverage and $25,000 for child(ren) coverage.
  • UW Employees Inc. Life Insurance – Provides decreasing term life insurance ranging from $7,000 to $33,000 based on your age. Coverage is not available for family members.
  • University Insurance Association Life Insurance – Provides decreasing life insurance from $3,400 to $101,000 based on your age. Coverage is not available for family members.

See the UW System Life Insurance Comparison chart for more information about who is eligible, the amount of available coverage and additional plan features.

How much life insurance do you need?

Life insurance needs vary based on your unique situation. To estimate the amount of coverage you might need, check out the Life Insurance Needs Calculator.

When can you enroll in coverage?

You may enroll within 30 days from your date of employment or newly benefits-eligible job. This is considered your initial enrollment period. If you do not enroll during your initial enrollment period, you may apply for coverage at any time through evidence of insurability by providing proof of good health (approval is not guaranteed). You may also apply for coverage within 30 days of a qualifying life event. Refer to the Life Events webpage for more details.

How to enroll in coverage.

To enroll or make changes following a qualifying life event, complete the life insurance plan’s paper application and return it to your human resources office within 30 days of the event. To apply for coverage through evidence of insurability, complete the applicable evidence of insurability form and forward it to Securian Financial. The applications and evidence of insurability forms can be found in the Forms & Resources section on each Life Insurance Plan webpage.

No application is required for enrollment in the University Insurance Association Life Insurance. Coverage is a condition of employment (for eligible employees) and you are automatically enrolled in the plan.

How much do I pay for life insurance?

Life insurance premiums vary by plan and depend on your age and the amount of coverage you elect. UW System contributes towards the cost of State Group Life Insurance and you pay the total cost of the premium for any other life insurance plan you may be enrolled in. To review the premiums for each plan, visit the Benefit Premiums webpage.

How do I pay for life insurance?

Most life insurance premiums are deducted from your pay once a month and are for coverage for the upcoming month. See the payroll deduction schedule for more information.

Source: UW System Human Resources

What is an Explanation of Benefits (EOB)?

An Explanation of Benefits (EOB) is a statement that provides details about your health and dental insurance claim(s). An EOB is created by your insurance carrier to show you how much services cost, what portion of your claim was paid by insurance, any amount(s) “written off” as a discount for obtaining services within an approved network of providers and the amount that is your responsibility to pay. Your EOB will also show how much of your deductible and out-of-pocket has been met for the calendar year.

Review the following samples for what to expect on an EOB:

When should I expect an EOB?

You should expect an EOB every time you visit your doctor or dentist. It’s important that you show your health or dental insurance ID card at each visit. It may take a few weeks for your doctor or dentist to send your claim to your insurance carrier. It typically then takes a few weeks for your insurance carrier to process your claim(s) and send you your EOB.

Do I need to submit payment to my doctor’s office or dentist’s office when I receive my EOB?

No. You should not submit payment when you receive an EOB. An EOB is not a bill. Your doctor or dentist will send you an invoice after they have receive payment from your insurance.

What should I do with my EOB?

Review your EOB upon receipt for accuracy and save it in a secure place as it contains personal health information. Additionally, EOBs may be used as follows:

  • If you are enrolled in a Health Savings Account (HSA), your EOB is an ideal document to:
    • Estimate how much to contribute to your HSA from your paycheck. Since an HSA is a component of your High Deductible Health Plan, it is important to be financially prepared to pay 100% of most services* before you meet your deductible. If unforeseen circumstances arise, you may increase or decrease your HSA contribution at any time.
      * Preventive and telehealth services are covered at 100% by your insurance even if you have not met your deductible.
  • If you are enrolled in a Flexible Spending Account (FSA), a copy your EOB is an ideal document to use to:
    • Substantiate your claims. An EOB may be submitted to the FSA administrator to show the money is being used for eligible expenses per IRS regulations.
    • Estimate how much to put into your FSA on an annual basis. Since the FSA is a “use it or lose it” account** it’s important that what you put into your FSA, you plan to use.
      **The Health Care FSA allows for up to $550 to carryover from 2020 to 2021.

How do I access my EOBs?

You may access your EOBs by logging into your account online. The website information is provided on your health or dental insurance ID card.

Who should I call with questions regarding my EOBs?

You should contact your health or dental insurance plan carrier if you have questions regarding the information on your EOBs. Contact information may be found on your EOBs and on your insurance ID card(s).

Source: UW System Human Resources

WRS Contribution Rates for 2021 to Remain Stable

The Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) recently announced the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) employee and employer contribution rates effective January 1, 2021. WRS rates are evaluated and adjusted annually.

Positive investment returns in 2019 were offset by the effect of salary and demographic experience resulting in no change in rates for the general, executive, and elected category. There will be a small increase in rates for the protective categories.

Contribution increase and decrease fluctuations are considered normal for retirement systems like the WRS that pre-fund retirement benefits.

UW System employee contribution rates are determined by employment category. Most UW System employees are in the General/Teacher/Executive category. Employees with law enforcement or public protection duties (police officers, fire fighters) are in the Protective category.

WRS Contribution Rates
Employee Category General, Teacher and Executive Protectives with Social Security
Year 2020 2021 2020 2021
Employer Contribution 6.75% 6.75% 11.75% 11.65%
Employee Contribution 6.75% 6.75% 6.75% 6.75%
Total Contribution 13.5% 13.5% 18.5% 18.4%

The 2021 rates will apply to all paychecks paid in 2021; beginning January 4, 2021 for Faculty/Academic Staff and Limited Appointees paid monthly, and January 14, 2021 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 visit the WRS webpage on the UW System Employee Benefits website.

Source: UW System Human Resources

Long-Term Care Insurance

Effective July 8, 2020, all WRS eligible employees, an employee’s spouse, an employee’s parents and an employee’s spouse’s parents are eligible for long-term care insurance. Participants must live in Wisconsin to be eligible. This insurance plan is offered by Mutual of Omaha through HealthChoice (the designated agent for State employees).

What is long-term care insurance?

Long-term care insurance typically covers care not covered by health insurance (or Medicare/Medicaid). It may include coverage for assisted living, adult day care, hospice care, nursing homes, Alzheimer’s facilities and/or home modification to accommodate disabilities.

How much does long-term care insurance cost?

Each policy is individually underwritten with premiums based on age, gender and your individual health at the time of enrollment. Your premiums are also based on the length of your selected waiting period, policy limit and other components of your customized plan. Each policy may include various discounts for the life of the policy.

How do I pay the premiums for long-term care insurance?

Since this is an individually underwritten insurance policy, you are responsible for paying your premiums directly to HealthChoice. Payroll deduction is not an option.

When can I enroll in long-term care insurance?

You may enroll in long-term care insurance at any time. Your premiums will be partially based on your health at the time of your enrollment.

How do I enroll in long-term care insurance?

To enroll in long-term care insurance, contact HealthChoice directly at 1-800-833-5823 or info@healthchoice.com. Or visit www.healthchoice.com for additional information.

Source: UW System Human Resources

How To Get Medical Care When You Need It Fast

Would you like the ability to seek basic medical care from the comfort of your own home?
If so, the telemedicine services in the State Group Health Insurance Program may allow you to do so.

Take these steps now to prepare for the unexpected:

What is telemedicine/telehealth (used interchangeably)?
The remote diagnosis and treatment of patients by means of electronic communication. This means that for non-urgent medical care, you may be able to access care through video chat or a virtual house call. Through telemedicine, a doctor may recommend treatment, prescribe medication, refer you to a specialist or tell you, based on your symptoms, if you should see a doctor in-person.

Why should you consider telemedicine services?
You may receive care quicker and it may be more convenient than going to your doctor’s office or to urgent care. They are also typically less expensive than an office visit or urgent care visit.

How will your telemedicine service be covered by the State Group Health Insurance plan?
Due to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, effective March 27 through December 31, 2020, telemedicine services are covered at 100%. Any follow-up care may be subject to the copayment, deductible and/or coinsurance as described on the Comparison of Health and Pharmacy Benefits.

How can you obtain additional information regarding telemedicine services?
Generally, health plans offer telemedicine services through their online portals and/or through a mobile app. If you’re unable to find telemedicine information through your health insurance plans online portal, contact your health insurance plan directly by calling the toll-free number on your health insurance ID card. Otherwise, go to ETF's Telehealth Options web page for more information.

Source: UW System Human Resources