HR, Payroll and Benefits News

2022 Benefit Deductions and Contributions

For most employees, benefit deductions and contributions will change in 2022.

Health, Dental, Vision, and Accident Insurance
Premiums for most health and dental insurance plans will increase slightly for 2022. Vision and Accident Insurance premiums will remain the same. The change to the premiums will start on your December 16, 2021 paycheck.

Flexible Spending Account (FSA), Health Savings Account (HSA), and Parking & Transit Accounts
If you enrolled in an FSA, HSA, or Parking & Transit Account for 2022, your first contribution will start on your January 13, 2022 paycheck.

Individual & Family Life Insurance and UW Employees, Inc. Life Insurance
If you will be in a new premium age category as of January 1, 2022, or if you changed your coverage level during the Annual Increase Option period for the Individual & Family Life Insurance, your new premium will start on your December 16, 2021 paycheck.

University Insurance Association (UIA) Life Insurance
If you are enrolled in the UIA Life Insurance Plan, the annual premium of $24 will be deducted from your December 16, 2021 paycheck.

Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D) Insurance
If you enrolled, changed coverage levels, or cancelled coverage through the MyUW portal during the Annual Benefits Enrollment period, your 2022 premium will start on your December 16, 2021 paycheck.

Income Continuation Insurance (ICI)
The 2022 ICI premium rate changes will be effective on your February 24, 2022 paycheck. Additional information will be communicated in January.

Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) Contributions
The WRS employee and employer contributions for 2022 will decrease slightly for most employees. 2022 contributions will start on your January 13, 2022 paycheck.

UW 403(b) Supplemental Retirement Program (SRP)
Your January 13, 2022 paycheck will be the first paycheck with contributions going to the recordkeeper you selected during Annual Benefits Enrollment (or defaulted to if you took no action).

For additional information, review the Benefit Premiums web page.

Source: UW System Human Resources

Check Your Address For Tax Form Distribution

Now is the time to make sure your address information is up to date for tax form distribution (such as the W-2 Form). Review your address and make any updates by January 13, 2022 to guarantee that your address has been received in time for tax form distribution.

Update your address in the MyUW portal via the Personal Information app, using the Personal Details-Address tip sheet.

If you have questions, contact serviceoperations@uwss.wisconsin.edu.

Note: Employees at UW-Milwaukee will be able to update their address in the Personal Information app starting December 14, 2021, and employees at UW-Whitewater will as well starting December 21, 2021. Employees at these campuses must contact their institution's human resources office to update their address prior to these dates.

UW 403(b) Supplemental Retirement Program participants who are changing their address will also need to update their address with their 403(b) recordkeeper. See the Change in Name or Address webpage for more information.

Electronic Tax Form Distribution
Employees who have consented to electronic-only W-2 and/or 1095-C Form delivery will not receive a mailed copy. For instructions on how to consent to electronic-only distribution, see the Electronic Only Consent tip sheet.

An online copy of your W-2 Form will be available in late January in the MyUW portal in the Payroll Information app.

Source: UW-Shared Services, Service Operations

Integrity Hotline for Faculty, Staff, Students

The UW System Integrity Hotline is available for all students, faculty, and staff to report a concern on a wide variety of issues. It was formerly known as the Waste, Fraud, and Abuse Hotline since its launch in 2015.

Reports can be made on more than 40 categories of issues, including:

  • Employee, student, and customer service relations.
  • Discrimination, sexual assault, and sexual harassment.
  • Retaliation against whistleblowers.
  • Financial issues like accounting irregularities, records falsification, grant mismanagement, wage/hour issues, or theft of cash or goods/services.
  • Academic issues like research misconduct.
  • Operational and environmental issues, like data privacy violations, product quality, and safety issues.
  • General issues, like fraud, conflict of interest, animal care, and athletics.

You are always encouraged to talk to your supervisor, a manager, or someone in Human Resources if you have a concern about misconduct, abuse, fraud, or illegal activity. For more information, see UW System’s Reporting Concerns webpage. However, you may also use the Integrity Hotline by calling 855-827-4950 or contacting Navex Global online at secure.ethicspoint.com. You may remain anonymous.

Source: UW System

University Staff: Banking Leave Balances

Reminder to University Staff Employees: Bank Vacation Hours by December 31, 2021.

Eligible University Staff employees have an annual opportunity to bank and/or request a pay out of their unused vacation. Employees cannot bank or receive a cash payout for Personal and Legal Holidays.

To be eligible to bank or request a cash payout of unused vacation, you must meet the years of service requirement as outlined in the vacation policies linked to below. All requests to bank or receive vacation cash payout must be received by December 31, 2021.

You may review your leave balances and submit your vacation leave banking request through the MyUW portal:

  1. Log into the MyUW portal.
  2. Go to the Time and Absence module.
  3. Click on Timesheet.
  4. Click on Absence Balances tab on left side of screen. Conversion Eligibility will be displayed between the Posted leave balances and the Projected leave balances. 5. Follow instructions for converting vacation to banked leave (steps 5-7) on the Banked Leave Tipsheet.

For policy information, review:

UW System (all but UW-Madison)

UW-Madison

Source: UW System Human Resources

December 31 Deadline: Carryover Vacation/Personal Holiday

Reminder for University Staff Employees:
Plan and Schedule Carryover Vacation and Personal Holiday Hours Before Year-end

Schedule your time off now to avoid losing carryover vacation and/or personal holiday hours. The deadline for University Staff employees to use carryover vacation, carryover personal holiday, and personal holiday is December 31, 2021. Schedule and use this leave by December 31, 2021, or it will be lost.

University Staff
Paid Leave Type
Year Granted Deadline to Use
Personal Holiday January 1, 2020 - December 31, 2020  (2020 Calendar Year) December 31, 2021
January 1, 2021 - December 31, 2021  (2021 Calendar Year)
Floating Legal Holiday December 25, 2021 December 31, 2021
Vacation January 1, 2019 - December 31, 2019  (2019 Calendar Year) December 31, 2021
January 1, 2020 - December 31, 2020  (2020 Calendar Year)


Faculty, Academic Staff, and Limited Appointees

As a reminder personal holiday and vacation time is granted on a fiscal year basis.

  • Personal holidays granted July 1, 2021 must be used by June 30, 2022.
  • Floating Legal Holiday (December 25, 2021) must be used by June 30, 2022.
  • Vacation granted July 1, 2020 must be used by June 30, 2022.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Interim Policies were approved as one-time exceptions that allow eligible employees to extend the deadline of unused vacation carryover and to carry forward personal holiday hours.

For detailed information review:

Deadlines for Health Care FSAs

To be reimbursed for out-of-pocket health care expenses from your 2021 Health Care Flexible Spending Account (FSA), you must incur eligible expenses by December 31, 2021. You must also submit and substantiate your expenses by March 31, 2022.

A Health Care FSA allows you to be reimbursed for certain out-of-pocket expenses with tax-free dollars. Since these are spending accounts, the money is intended to be spent. Eligible expenses include:

  • Medical (post-deductible only if you are also enrolled in the HDHP and HSA)
  • Dental
  • Vision 

How to Pay for Eligible Expenses

In most situations, you can use your payment card from the FSA administrator, Optum Financial, at the point of sale or service. Otherwise, you may pay for your eligible expenses with a personal credit card, a debit card, cash, or check.

How to Submit Eligible Expenses for Reimbursement

The most efficient way to submit your eligible expenses for reimbursement is electronically by using the Optum Financial mobile app, or website.

Remember to include the required IRS supporting documentation with your submission. Although, Optum Financial will contact you directly when additional information is needed. Failure to provide documentation when requested may require repayment. This is done by deducting money from your paycheck on an after-tax basis. Substantiate your claims by December 31, 2021, to avoid the repayment process.

Health Care FSA Carryover Reminder

Up to $550 of unused funds in a Health Care FSA will carry over from 2021 to 2022. This applies even if you did not enroll in a Health Care FSA for 2022. Unused funds greater than $550 will be forfeited.

For questions about your claims, eligible expenses, or your payment card, contact Optum Financial at (833) 881-8158.
For general information, review the UW System Employee Benefits FSA web page.

Source: UW System Human Resources

December 25 Floating Legal Holiday Deadline

Deadlines for Using December 25, 2021, Floating Legal Holiday

Saturday, December 25, 2021 (Christmas Day) is a floating legal holiday which employees may use in accordance with UW System policy.

University Staff employees must use this floating legal holiday by December 31, 2021. For University Staff employees, a floating legal holiday must be used by the end of the calendar year in which it was earned. If it is not used, it is lost and cannot be carried over into the new calendar year.

Faculty, Academic Staff or Limited appointees must use the December 25, 2021 floating legal holiday by the end of the fiscal year (June 30, 2022). If it is not used, it is lost and cannot be carried over into the new fiscal year.

Saturday, January 1, 2022 (New Year’s Day) will also be considered a floating legal holiday. Faculty, Academic Staff, and Limited Appointees must use the January 1, 2022 floating legal holiday by June 30, 2022. University Staff employees must use the floating holiday between January 1 and December 31, 2022.

A floating legal holiday occurs when a legal holiday falls on a Saturday. An employee is granted eight hours of floating legal holiday (prorated, if part-time). When a legal holiday falls on a Sunday, the legal holiday is observed, and the UW System is closed on the Monday following the legal holiday.

Find more information, including eligibility to be paid for a legal holiday, on the UW System Employee Benefits website.


Title: Deadlines for Using December 25, 2021, Floating Legal Holiday, updated 11/08/2021

Source: UW System Human Resources

2022 Benefit Highlights

Employee benefit changes and highlights for 2022 are featured in this article. Changes made during the Annual Benefits Enrollment (ABE) period, held September 27 - October 22, 2021, are effective January 1, 2022.

State Group Health Insurance
The health plan designs (health plan and high deductible health plan) and most health plan components (deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance) will remain the same. There will be a modest increase in employee premiums effective January 1, 2022.

These are the health insurance plan carrier changes:

  • Quartz Community will split into Quartz Central and Quartz West. Since Quartz Community will no longer be offered, employees enrolled in Quartz Community will need to select a different health insurance carrier.
  • Aspirus will be offered for select counties in Central Wisconsin

Here are some of the enhancements to covered services:

  • Coverage will be added for medically necessary corrective jaw surgery
  • Access to coverage for continuous glucose monitors will be expanded to the pharmacy benefit
  • Timeframe requirement will be removed for extractions and dental repairs due to accidents
  • The age for colonoscopy screenings to begin will be reduced to age 45

Uniform and Preventive Dental Insurance Plans
These plans provide coverage for preventive dental services, most basic dental services, and orthodontia services (up to age 19). Coverage for composite/resin fillings for the back teeth will be added to these plans for 2022. Employee premiums effective January 1, 2022 will decrease for uniform dental (employee only coverage) and will increase for the preventive plan.

Supplemental Dental Insurance Plans
These plans (Select and Select Plus) provide coverage for most basic and major dental services. In addition, one of the plans (Select Plus) covers orthodontia services for children and adults. You may enroll in one supplemental dental insurance plan (and either the Uniform or Preventive Dental plan). Employee premiums will increase effective January 1, 2022.

Vision Insurance Plan
This plan provides coverage for an annual eye exam as well as materials (contacts and/or glasses). There is no change in employee premiums for 2022.

Accident Insurance Plan
This plan is designed to protect employees and their families in the event of an injury due to an accident. For 2022, cash benefit payment amounts for most covered injuries (due to an accident) will increase. In addition, a cash benefit will be added for outpatient rehabilitation therapy, when necessary due to an accident. This plan includes an Accidental Death & Dismemberment component. There is no change to premiums for 2022.

Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D) Insurance Plan
This plan will continue to be offered. Employees may enroll in both the Accident Insurance plan and the AD&D Insurance plan. There is no change to premiums for 2022.

Pre-tax Spending and Savings Accounts
Here are the annual contribution limits for 2022 for the pre-tax spending and savings accounts:

  • Healthcare Flexible Spending Accounts: $2,750
  • Dependent Day Care Account: $2,500 or $5,000 (depending on tax filing status)
  • Health Savings Accounts: $3,650 for single health insurance, $7,300 for family health insurance

The Healthcare FSA will have a carryover limit of $550. The Dependent Day Care Account does not have a carryover provision. Health Savings Account balances continue to rollover from one year to the next.

403(b) Program
UW System is making changes to enhance the 403(b) Program, the University’s supplemental retirement savings plan.

Changes to the program will focus on cost-effectiveness, simplification and ease of use for 403(b) participants. UW System’s goal is to make it easier to enroll, select investments, and monitor investment performance on an ongoing basis.

Along with upcoming program changes, the 403(b) program has been rebranded to the UW 403(b) Supplemental Retirement Program (SRP), from the UW Tax-Sheltered Annuity (TSA) 403(b) Program.

In addition to the name change, the 403(b) Program will undergo enhancements to the recordkeepers (providers) and investment line-up effective January 1, 2022.

  • TIAA and Fidelity will remain as active recordkeepers in the program
  • T. Rowe Price, Ameriprise, and Lincoln will no longer be offered as recordkeepers

If you are a current program participant or enroll in the program in the next few months, you may need to take action based on these upcoming changes.

Watch for emails with additional information and the 403(b) Program changes. Or refer to the 403(b) Program Enhancements web page for additional information.

Updated: 09/27/2021, 10/25/2021

Source: UW System Human Resources

Your TSA 403(b) Program - Reimagined!

UW System is making changes to enhance the TSA 403(b) Program, the University’s supplemental retirement savings plan.

Changes to the program will focus on cost-effectiveness, simplification and ease of use for 403(b) participants. UW System’s goal is to make it easy to enroll, select investments, and monitor investment performance on an ongoing basis. You can read more about the changes on the 403(b) Program Enhancements web page.

Along with upcoming program changes, there is a new program name: the University of Wisconsin 403(b) Supplemental Retirement Program, or 403(b) SRP. We are in the process of updating this name with the providers (also known as recordkeepers) and on relevant materials and web pages.

In addition to the name change, the 403(b) SRP will be undergoing enhancements to the recordkeepers and investment line-up effective January 1, 2022. If you are a current program participant – or enroll in the program in the next few months – you may need to take action based on these upcoming changes. Current participants will be notified via an email about these upcoming changes and any required action in September.

Stay up-to-date on deadlines and actions you may need to take by bookmarking the 403(b) Program Enhancements web page and watching for articles in the Portal or your institution newsletter.

Source: UW System Office of Trust Funds

Register for your Flu Vaccine Appointment

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

The Well Wisconsin Program offers workplace flu vaccine clinics because a quick needle stick now is better than a nasty illness later. Flu vaccinations are free and voluntary for employees and spouses enrolled in the State Group Health Insurance Program.

To receive a flu vaccination, you must:

    • Pre-register
    • Wear a mask to your appointment
    • Present your health insurance ID card at your appointment
    • Complete the digital consent form (available after you register for an appointment online)

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

      • Allergic to eggs or egg products
      • Have an active neurological disorder
      • Have a fever, acute respiratory or other active infection or illness
      • Pregnant (contact your physician to discuss if you should get the vaccine)

To register for your appointment, go to the Well Wisconsin website, either log in or create an account, then scroll down to find the Get Your Flu Vaccination tile and click Register.

For more information:

Source: UW System Human Resources

University Insurance Association (UIA) Life Insurance - Annual Premium Deduction

If you have University Insurance Association (UIA) Life Insurance, the annual premium of $24 will be deducted from your biweekly paycheck dated December 16, 2021. The annual premium was previously deducted in October. Due to the change in the Plan Year starting date from October 1 to January 1, the annual premium will be deducted from pay received during December going forward.

Participation in the UIA Life Insurance plan is a condition of employment for UW System Faculty, Academic Staff, Limited Appointees. Eligible employees must requalify for coverage each year. Employees who meet the minimum monthly salary threshold will be automatically enrolled in the plan effective January 1 with coverage through December 31.

For 2022, the minimum monthly salary threshold is $2,896. Eligible employees who meet the minimum salary threshold will be enrolled in the plan January 1, 2022 with coverage through December 31, 2022.

For more information about the plan, including coverage levels and detailed eligibility requirements, visit the UIA Life Insurance web page.

Source: UW System Human Resource

2022 Increase: Retirement Plan Contribution Limits

The IRS recently announced an increase in the 2022 retirement plan contribution limits. The limits apply to the UW 403(b) Supplemental Retirement Program (SRP) and the Wisconsin Deferred Compensation (WDC) 457 Program.

Contributions

In 2022, employees may contribute a basic maximum of $20,500  to the UW 403(b) SRP (an increase from $19,500 in 2021). Employees age 50 and over can contribute an additional $6,500 (no change from 2021 limit) for a total of $27,000. 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 UW 403(b) SRP. Contact your institution benefits contact 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 UW SRP and WDC Program and have separate limits.

Change Elections and Enrolling in the 403(b) SRP
To increase (or decrease) your UW 403(b) SRP deduction:

• Login to the MyUW portal
• Launch the Benefits Information tile
• On the bottom of the screen, click on “Update 403(b) Deductions” and follow the additional instructions to make your change(s)

To enroll for the first time:
• Use the EZ Enrollment Form
• Or complete a Salary Reduction Agreement eForm and set your account up online (or paper application) with the provider(s) of your choice

For questions on the 403(b) SRP, visit the SRP web page. As a reminder there are changes effective January 1, 2022, to the 403(b) SRP. To review information on upcoming changes to the UW 403(b) SRP, see the UW 403(b) Program Enhancements web page.

WDC Program

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

2022 Social Security and Medicare Tax

The Social Security Tax wage base will increase to $147,000 in 2022 from $142,800. This means that the first $147,000 of an employee's taxable wages are subject to Social Security Taxes. An Employee and the UW System will each pay 6.2% on taxable wages up to $147,000.

The Medicare Tax remains the same for 2022. Both the UW System and the Employee pay 1.45% on all taxable compensation. Any taxable wages that exceed $200,000 ($250,000 for married couples filing jointly) are subject to an additional 0.9% tax.

Source: UW System Human Resources

WRS News Online, November 2021

External link: https://etf.wi.gov/news/wrs-news-online/issue/18581

What is an Explanation of Benefits?

An Explanation of Benefits (EOB) is a statement that shows claims information about the services provided during your health and dental appointment visits. 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 discounts (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:

How do I access my EOB and who should I contact with questions?

You may access your EOB by logging into your health or dental insurance plan carrier’s website. If you have questions about the information on your EOB, you should contact your health or dental insurance plan carrier. The website and contact information may be found on your EOB or your insurance cards.

When should I expect an EOB?

You should expect an EOB every time you obtain medical or dental services. It is important that you show your health or dental insurance ID card whenever you receive services. It may take a few weeks for your insurance carrier to send you your EOB.

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

An EOB is not a bill. Your doctor or dentist will send you an invoice after they receive payment from your insurance. The invoice sent to you by your doctor or dentist should match the amount indicated as your responsibility on your EOB.

What should I do with my EOB?

Review your EOB for accuracy and save it in a secure place since it contains personal health information. Remember that EOBs may be used for the following:

  • 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. 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, except preventive services, before you meet your deductible.
  • If you are enrolled in a Flexible Spending Account (FSA), your EOB is an ideal document to:
    • Substantiate your claims with the FSA administrator
    • Estimate how much to put into your FSA on an annual basis

Reminder: Save your EOBs as documentation to show you are using your funds for IRS eligible expenses.

Source: UW System Human Resources

Health Plans: High Deductible vs Non-High Deductible

This article highlights the similarities and differences of the High-Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) and Non-HDHP.

Similarities between the HDHP and Non-HDHP

  • In-network preventive services are covered at 100%
  • Coverage for federally required preventive drugs at 100%
  • Both have a deductible
  • In-network coinsurance is 10% (the amount you pay after the deductible for specific services; the plan pays the remaining 90%)
  • In-network providers will provide lower out-of-pocket expenses than out-of-network providers
  • Both allow participation in the Well Wisconsin program to earn a $150 wellness incentive
  • Both provide an opportunity to enroll in Uniform Dental Benefits for preventive dental services
  • Both offer out-of-network coverage through the Access HDHP and Access Non-HDHP. Note: Access plans are more expensive.
  • Premiums will be deducted from your paycheck regardless of whether you use your health insurance

Differences between the HDHP and Non-HDHP

  • HDHPs have lower premiums
  • HDHPs include a Health Savings Account (HSA) to help you prepare for out-of-pocket expenses. An HSA provides three separate tax benefits:
       o   Contributions are tax-deductible
       
    o   HSA assets may grow tax-free (through interest and/or investing)
       o   Withdrawals for qualified medical, dental, and/or vision expenses are not taxed
  • HDHPs include an employer contribution to the HSA (up to $750 for single coverage, $1,500 for family) which remains in your HSA until you use it
  • Non-HDHP have a deductible for medical services and a separate deductible for pharmacy benefits; HDHPs have a deductible that includes medical services and pharmacy benefits
  • Non-HDHP have an out-of-pocket limit for medical services and a separate out-of-pocket limit for pharmacy benefits; HDHPs have a combined out-of-pocket limit that includes medical services and pharmacy benefits
  • Non-HDHP have lower deductibles

Prepare for expected/unexpected out-of-pocket health, dental, and/or vision expenses

Review the expenses you have incurred in the past calendar year for health, dental, and vision services to help you prepare for the next calendar year. Some of the ways you can save for expected and unexpected out-of-pocket expenses include:

  • With a HDHP you may use the HSA for qualifying medical, dental and/or vision expenses or Limited Purpose Flexible Spending Account (FSA) for qualifying dental, vision, and post-medical deductible expenses. The intent of these accounts is to set aside pre-tax earnings to help pay for qualifying out-of-pocket expenses.
  • With a Non-HDHP you may set aside pre-tax earnings in a Health Care FSA for qualifying medical, dental and vision expenses, or after-tax earnings in a personal account for out-of-pocket expenses.

For additional information, review the UW System Human Resources Employee Benefits website.

Source: UW System Human Resources

WRS Contribution Rates for 2022 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, 2022. The employee contribution for 2022 will decrease slightly.

The 2022 rates will apply to all paychecks paid in 2022, starting with the January 13, 2022 biweekly paycheck. As a reminder, WRS contributions are taken on a pre-tax basis for state and federal tax purposes.

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 2021 2022 2021 2022
Employer Contribution 6.75% 6.50% 11.75% 12.0%
Employee Contribution 6.75% 6.50% 6.75% 6.50%
Total Contribution 13.5% 13.0% 18.5% 18.5%

WRS contribution rates change annually, based on investment performance of the WRS and actuarial factors to pre-fund retirement benefits. In general, when investment earnings are greater than expected, contribution rates may decrease the following year. When returns are lower than expected, rates may increase to make up for the shortfall.

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

For more information visit the WRS web page on the UW System Employee Benefits website.

Source: UW System Human Resources

Employee Assistance Program

The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a confidential resource that can help you and your household family members address personal and/or work-related challenges. 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 provides you and your household family members up to six sessions per person per issue per year.

For most UW System institutions (except UW-Madison) the EAP administrator is Kepro.

How to Contact the EAP:

  • 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

UW-Madison employees contact the Employee Assistance Office for EAP services.

For more information, visit the UW System EAP web page.

Source: UW System Human Resources

Free Self-Guided Mental Health Resource

SilverCloud is an online platform that offers self-guided, interactive programs and skill-building tools to help manage anxiety, depression, stress, resilience, and insomnia. If you are experiencing mild to moderate symptoms for any of the above conditions, this may be an effective way for you to help manage your condition(s). Mental health resources offered through SilverCloud are confidential and available to all UW System employees at no cost.

What does each SilverCloud module contain?
Each module takes about 40 minutes. Your progress is automatically saved so you can come back later if you get interrupted. A typical module contains seven parts:

1. Introduction: Helps you decide which module to start 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 web 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.).

Additionally, students are not eligible for the EAP; however, they may be eligible for similar services through the student health center at their institution.

Note: Both programs are free and confidential.

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

Source: UW System Human Resources

Review Your Beneficiary Designations

When was the last time you reviewed your beneficiary designations?

Naming a beneficiary allows you to pass a financial interest on after you have passed away. If you do not recall who you have listed as your beneficiary, or you have experienced a life event such as a marriage, divorce or birth of a child, review your designations and submit updated beneficiary designations. The most recently dated beneficiary designation on file at the time of your death is binding for the payment of any proceeds. If a beneficiary is not designated, benefits will be paid according to plan provisions.

Here is a list of the plans that have benefits payable to beneficiaries:

  • State Group Life Insurance
  • Individual & Family Life Insurance
  • UW Employees, Inc. Life Insurance
  • University Insurance Association Life Insurance
  • Accidental Death & Dismemberment Insurance
  • Accident Insurance (accidental death and dismemberment component of the plan)
  • Health Savings Account (HSA)
  • Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS)
  • UW Tax-Sheltered (TSA) Annuity 403(b)
  • Wisconsin Deferred Compensation (WDC) 457

To see which benefit plans you are enrolled in, log into the portal for UW System institutions or for UW-Madison and follow these steps:

1. Go to the Benefit Information module and click Launch full app.

2. On the Summary page, review the Coverage column to see which plans you're enrolled in (Waive indicates you are not enrolled).

3. Click Next to see additional plans.

4. Review the plans you are enrolled in that have benefits payable to beneficiaries.

Some plans allow you to update your beneficiary designations online while others require a signed paper designation beneficiary form. The UW System Beneficiary Information page provides information on how to designate a beneficiary for each benefit plan. If a plan you are enrolled in requires a paper form, you may print the applicable beneficiary form(s) from the Beneficiary Information page.

Once you have completed the appropriate forms, mail them directly to the address listed on the form (not to your human resources office).

Source: UW System Human Resources

Mid-Year Changes: Healthcare FSA and Dependent Day Care Accounts

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Group Insurance Board recently approved the following flexibility granted by the IRS for Healthcare FSAs and Dependent Day Care Accounts.

Healthcare FSAs

    • Increase annual carryover limit to $1,000 (from $550) from plan year 2020 to plan year 2021
    • Add personal protective equipment such as masks, hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes as eligible expenses retroactive to January 1, 2021

Dependent Day Care Accounts

    • Increase age limit for qualifying dependent child(ren) to under age 14 (for 2021)
    • Add an annual carryover limit of up to $2,500 from plan year 2020 to plan year 2021
    • Increase annual contribution limit to up to $10,500 for individuals or married couples filing jointly and $5,250 for married couples filing separately (for 2021)
    • Allow a one-time opportunity from June 1- June 30, 2021 for current participants to increase their annual contribution, without a qualifying life event.

Healthcare and Dependent Day Care Account Carryover from 2020 to 2021: No action is necessary on your part to receive the additional healthcare carryover and/or the dependent day care account carryover. If you have funds that are eligible to be carried over, the funds will automatically be applied to your account mid-June.

Questions: For questions about your flexible spending account, contact Optum Financial/ConnectYourCare at 833-881-8158.

For questions on submitting a dependent care change form or your flexible spending account payroll deductions, contact your institution’s benefits office.

Source: UW System Human Resources