How are my Health and Supplemental Insurance benefits and costs established?

For many employees, health insurance benefits are important benefits offered by the UW System. Every year, we may see changes to the health and supplemental insurance programs even if the only change is to the premium. Every fall, during the Annual Benefits Enrollment (ABE) period, there is an opportunity to enroll (or dis-enroll) in the health and/or supplemental insurance programs or make changes to coverage levels and/or change benefit plans. Below is information on the process of establishing the annual health and supplemental insurance program options and costs.


  1. 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.

  2. 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. All health plans follow GIB guidelines for eligibility and program requirements. The health plans all offer the same in-network benefit package called Uniform Benefits (as well as the option of electing Uniform Dental coverage for an additional cost) and annually compete in a complex process to determine the best premiums.

    The UW System does not determine the plan designs, premiums, employee premium contributions or which health insurance plan carriers are offered. Changes for 2019 are expected to be finalized and approved by the GIB on August 22, 2018.

  3. What is the Supplemental Insurance Program?
    The GIB also approves supplemental insurance plans, employee-pay-all group insurance plans that are offered via payroll deduction under the same authority as the State Group Health Insurance program. Dental and vision insurance are the two most popular supplemental insurance plans; both are offered to the same population of employees as the State Group Health Insurance program and available for employees to make changes to during ABE. The intent of the Supplemental Insurance Program is to complement the Uniform Benefits that are provided as a part of the State Group Health Insurance Program.

    The UW System does not determine the plan designs, premiums, or which supplemental insurance plans are offered. Changes to the Supplemental Insurance Program for 2019 were approved by the GIB on May 16, 2018. Information on the changes will be communicated this fall prior to ABE.

  4. Who decides health and supplemental insurance plan premiums?
    The health and supplemental insurance plans submit premium bids to the Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) each year for the following year. ETF reviews the bids and required claims data and takes recommendations to the Group Insurance Board (GIB). The GIB’s actuaries also review the bids, required claims data and ETF’s recommendations; then negotiations are conducted by ETF. The GIB must approve the premiums for each health and supplemental insurance plan.

    For the State Group Health Insurance program, while most employees do not pay the full premium, the full premium does impact the amount of the employee premium contribution. Each year, the monthly amount that employees are required to pay for health insurance is established by the State’s 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.

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

  6. Who decides what benefits are 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, input from the GIB actuaries and other guidance.

  7. Who is on the GIB and what are the responsibilities of the GIB?
    The GIB is an eleven-member board that meets 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 may also provide other insurance plans, if employees pay the entire premium. For more information about the GIB, please click here.

Source: UW System HR

Annual Benefits Enrollment Period: October 1 – 26, 2018

The Annual Benefits Enrollment (ABE) period, October 1 - 26, 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, 2019.

There are changes to benefits for 2019 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 2019 benefits changes. The Department of Employee Trust Funds It’s Your Choice Decision Guide is available on the website. Note: There are changes to the Supplemental Dental Insurance plans that require you to take action during ABE, since neither EPIC Benefits+ or Dental Wisconsin will be available in 2019. 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 2019 for the health plan carrier you select. You will receive a mailing from your current health plan with 2019 provider information.  You may also view a list of providers by using the Available Health Plan interactive map on the It’s Your Choice website.
  • 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
  • Visit with ALEX! ALEX is the UW System’s online personalized benefits counselor that 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 get started with ALEX 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, see: 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.

  • 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) 
  • Supplemental Dental Insurance – Delta Dental
  • Vision Insurance - VSP
  • Individual & Family Life Insurance
  • Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D) Insurance 
  • Flexible Spending Account (FSA) including Health Care FSA, Limited Purpose FSA, and Dependent Day Care FSA (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
Beginning October 1, use Self Service 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.

Don’t miss your chance to enroll in or make changes to your benefits for 2019!  All benefit elections must be submitted by 4:30 p.m., Friday, October 26, 2018.  If you have questions, contact your human resources office.

Source: UW System HR

Individual and Family Life Insurance Enrollees can Increase Coverage, October 1-26, 2018

If you are a currently enrolled in the Individual and Family Life Insurance plan as of October 1, 2018, you may increase your coverage during the Annual Increase Option (AIO) period from October 1 – 26, 2018. The AIO period coincides with the Annual Benefits Enrollment (ABE) period. Coverage increases will be effective January 1, 2019 with new premiums deducted from December earnings.

Making the Decision to Increase Your Coverage
To review your current coverage, and your 2019 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, note the 2019 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. 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 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 26, 2018. If you mail your Annual Increase Option form, it must be postmarked by October 26, 2018. For more information go to the Individual and Family Group Life insurance page.

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 (decreasing or canceling coverage cannot be done through Self Service).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, contact your human resources office.

Source: UW System Human Resources

Earn Your $150 Well Wisconsin Incentive

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

Three steps must be completed by October 19, 2018 to qualify and receive the incentive. The StayWell wellness portal provides more information on completing these steps: https://wellwisconsin.staywell.com, or watch a video that outlines the steps you need to take to earn your incentive.

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

Step 2: Complete the StayWell health assessment

Step 3: Complete a StayWell well-being activity

Once you have completed the three steps above, you must claim your incentive through the StayWell portal.

Step 4: Claim your incentive through the StayWell portal prior to October 31, 2018

Participants must claim the incentive. You can have the incentive instantly sent to you via email, or have a gift card mailed to your home address once all steps are completed. 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 deadlines!

Source: UW System HR

ALEX Available for 2019 Benefits Planning

You may already be aware that you have access to ALEX, a personalized online benefits counselor, to answer most questions surrounding your 2018 benefit plans.

With the 2019 Annual Benefits Enrollment (ABE) period just around the corner (October 1 – 26, 2018), we are pleased to announce that you will also have access to ALEX to help you make 2019 benefit plan decisions. The benefit plan elections made during ABE will be effective January 1, 2019.

As a reminder, ALEX is an interactive benefits decision tool to help you understand the benefit plans and options offered to you and your family year round. Whether you’re a new or long-term employee, ALEX is available to you at any time! As the ABE period quickly approaches, here is some additional information surrounding both the 2018 and 2019 versions of ALEX:

When will I be able to access the ALEX version that reflects the 2019 benefit plans?
The 2019 version of ALEX will be available late September, prior to the ABE period, which will give you an opportunity to educate yourself regarding the 2019 benefit plans and rates.

Will I still be able to access the ALEX version that reflects the current 2018 benefit plans?
Yes, the 2018 version of ALEX will also be available for you to use even after the 2019 version of ALEX is released.

Will there be any major differences between the 2018 and 2019 versions of ALEX?
The 2019 version of ALEX will be nearly identical to the 2018 version. However, you may notice during ABE the only plans that will appear in the 2019 version of ALEX are:

  • The plans that allow you to make changes during the ABE period 
  • The plans that can be changed at any time

Once the ABE period has ended, the 2019 version of ALEX will be updated to include all benefit plans. These additional plans include: life insurance and Income Continuation Insurance (ICI).

How do I access ALEX?
Visit the ALEX landing page to get started. This page will be updated late September to include the 2019 version for your use!

Will ALEX be my only resource for ABE information?
No, ALEX is just one resource for ABE information. You may begin to review the 2019 benefit plan change information on the ABE website.

Source: UW System HR

Important Reminder: Submit Flexible Spending Account Claim Documentation Timely

Employees currently enrolled in a Health Care or Limited Purpose Flexible Spending Account (FSA) for the 2018 plan year are reminded to provide documentation as required for FSA claims.

If you are currently participating in an FSA, review your account at https://partners.tasconline.com/ETFEmployee to see if you have any claims that require documentation (referred to as unsubstantiated claims).

Under Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations, FSAs are a pre-tax benefit, and all payments from a Health Care or Limited Purpose FSA require third party documentation (substantiation) unless the claim is automatically substantiated.

The FSA administrator, TASC, is able to auto-substantiate some (but not all) claims paid using the TASC debit card. If requested by TASC, you are REQUIRED to provide documentation to substantiate claims paid with the TASC debit card. This ensures the debit card was used for IRS approved items/services within the allowed time-frame.

Failure to provide documentation to TASC when requested will result in the requirement that the employee repay any unsubstantiated payments. Repayment is done by deducting money from the employee paycheck on an after-tax basis until repayment is complete. Unsubstantiated claims should be substantiated on a timely basis to avoid repayment.

Substantiation information can be found in the ERA Participant Guide. If you have questions, contact TASC at 1customercare@tasconline.com or 1-844-786-3974.

Source: UW System HR

WRS News Online, September 2018

External link: http://etf.wi.gov/news/WRS_news_09042018/WRS_News_09042018.asp

Enroll Today with the UW Tax-Sheltered Annuity (TSA) 403(b) Program!

The UW TSA Program is a voluntary supplemental retirement savings program. Saving for retirement is important – your Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) pension (if eligible) may only provide part of what you will need in retirement. Most people will need additional savings to supplement this income in retirement. An extra savings cushion can help cover major expenses in retirement – like healthcare -- it may also provide resources so you can do the things you enjoy, like travel and hobbies.

But why should you save with the UW TSA 403(b) Program?

  • You can choose to contribute on a pre-tax and/or Roth (after-tax) basis.
  • The TSA Program is flexible – you can start, stop, or change your contribution amount and your investments at any time, as often as you wish.
  • It’s automatic – once you sign up, your deferrals continue until you stop them.
  • It’s inexpensive – there is no participant fee and you have access to low-cost institutional share class funds with Fidelity, TIAA, and T. Rowe Price.
  • It’s easy – you can use EZ enrollment with Fidelity, TIAA, and T. Rowe Price and invest in Target Date funds.
  • It’s portable – you can take your savings with you if you move to a different employer.

Don’t hesitate – go to TSA Enrollment to find out how to enroll and start saving for your future retirement.

Source: UW System HR

Supplemental Dental Plan Changes for 2019

Effective January 1, 2019, there will be changes to the supplemental benefit plans. Most of the changes are specific to the supplemental dental insurance plans; therefore, this article focuses on the supplemental dental plans.

How do the upcoming supplemental plan changes affect current participants?

Dental WI and EPIC Benefits+ will no longer administer any supplemental insurance plans in 2019.

Employees currently enrolled in any of the plans with Dental WI and/or EPIC Benefits+ will be required to make a new dental plan election during the Annual Benefits Enrollment (ABE) period, October 1 – 26, 2018 (if they wish to have supplemental dental coverage in 2019).

Why are changes being made to the supplemental dental insurance plans?

Changes are being made to reduce benefit overlap, streamline the claims filing process for you and your dentist and to reduce the overall complexity of dental plan options. Due to these changes, you should be able to more easily determine which supplemental plan is best for you and your family.

Who will administer the supplemental dental plans in 2019?

Delta Dental will administer the supplemental dental insurance plans in 2019. Since Uniform Dental is already currently administered by Delta Dental, this will ensure that the plans do not duplicate coverage (i.e. preventive care will only be covered by Uniform Dental).

Will I be able to enroll in more than one supplemental dental plan in 2019?

No. There will be two supplemental dental insurance plans offered in 2019, the Select Plan and the Select Plus Plan; however, in 2019, you will only be able to enroll in one supplemental dental plan.

What are the main differences between the two supplemental dental plans offered in 2019?

The main differences between the plans are premium cost, annual maximums, the coinsurance amounts and whether orthodontia is covered.

What are the main enhancements to the supplemental dental plans for 2019?

One of the main enhancements is that there will not be any waiting periods before supplemental dental benefits take effect. Another enhancement is that the Select Plus Plan will cover adult orthodontia at 50% up to a lifetime maximum of $1,500; whereas in the past, some of the supplemental dental plans included orthodontia coverage; however, it was limited to dependents up to the age of 19.

Are there any dental services that were covered by the supplemental plans through Dental WI and/or EPIC Benefits+ that will no longer be covered by the supplemental plans through Delta Dental?

Neither of the supplemental dental plans with Delta Dental will cover preventive services; however, preventive services are covered by the Uniform Dental plan with Delta Dental.

To enroll in the Uniform Dental plan, employees must be enrolled in a State Group Health Insurance plan. If enrolled in a State Group Health Insurance plan, employees have the option of enrolling in the Uniform Dental plan.

Additional information regarding 2019 supplemental benefit plan changes, including premium rates, will be communicated during ABE, October 1 – 26, 2018. Please contact your human resources office with immediate questions.

Source: UW System HR

WRS Contribution Rates to Decrease in 2019

The Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) has announced that contributions made by employees covered under the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) will decrease slightly for all employee types effective January 1, 2019. WRS contribution rates are set and adjusted annually.

The 2019 rate changes are primarily due to higher favorable WRS Trust Fund investment performance.

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

2019 WRS Required Contribution Rates

 
General/Teacher/Executive
Protectives
with Social Security
  2018 2019 2018 2019
Employee Contribution 6.7% 6.55% 6.7% 6.55%
Employer Contribution 6.7% 6.55% 10.7% 10.55%
Total Contribution 13.4% 13.1% 17.4% 17.1%

The 2019 rates will apply to all paychecks in 2019; beginning January 2, 2019 for Faculty/Academic Staff and Limited Appointees paid monthly and January 3, 2019 for University Staff employees paid bi-weekly. As a reminder, WRS contributions are deducted on a pre-tax basis for state and federal tax purposes.

For More Information

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. The ALRA account may also be referred to as Banked Leave account.

Example:

  • Employee completes 10 fiscal years in May, 2018.
  • July 1, 2018 (beginning of 11th fiscal year) employee is eligible to accrue vacation to be banked.
  • July 1, 2019 (beginning of 12th fiscal year) employee is offered the option of banking up to 40 hours of vacation or vacation carryover as of 6/30/18.

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 2018 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, 2018 (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, 2018. 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 your Payroll Coordinator.

Source: UW Service Center

Tax Law Changes for Parking Fees, Vanpool, and Bus Passes

Due to tax liability implications of the Tax Cuts and Job Act passed by the Federal Government effective January 1, 2018, the UW System will need to change pre-tax payroll deductions for parking, vanpool, and bus passes. Starting with payrolls dated on or after June 1, 2018, these fees will be deducted on a post-tax basis for UW System employees.

  • Employees paid monthly, will see the post-tax deductions made on the June 1 paycheck (for the pay period of May 1 – May 31)
  • Employees paid biweekly, will see the post-tax deductions on the June 7 paycheck (for the pay period of May 13 – May 26).

Because of the federal tax law changes, UW employees will not be able to create Parking and Transit accounts, as administered by TASC. If you have an existing Parking and Transit account, funds cannot be added for payrolls dated on or after June 1, 2018. Any funds withheld prior to June 1 are still available to be used for parking and transit purposes until exhausted, or until you become ineligible for the plan(s).

The changes to the Parking & Transit accounts administered by TASC do not affect any other plans administered by TASC (i.e. Flexible Spending accounts and Health Savings accounts).

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

Source: UW Service Center

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