Benefits

Fidelity Investments Individual Counseling Sessions

Fidelity Investments is offering individual counseling sessions where you can confidentially discuss your financial situation with a Fidelity representative.  These sessions will give you the opportunity to:

  • Explore your plan benefits in more depth
  • Consolidate retirement account into the UW 403(b) retirement plan
  • Explore distribution options for pre-retirees
  • Tap into Fidelity’s experience and expertise
  • Make decisions that help you meet your goals

David Eichler, Fidelity Planning & Guidance Consultant will be coming to campus on:

Thursday, October 16, 2014
8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Heritage Room, University Union

To schedule a confidential consultation with your Fidelity Investments representative, David Eichler, call 1-800-642-7131 or go to www.fidelity.com/atwork/reservations.

Health Plan Wellness Incentives are Taxable to Employees

The State of Wisconsin recently extended a number of financial incentives to employees through the Well Wisconsin employee wellness program. If you are covered under the State of Wisconsin Group Health Insurance program, you are eligible for a financial incentive to complete biometric testing and health risk assessment.  Depending on your health plan, you may also be eligible for financial reimbursements for wellness related expenses such as gym memberships, fitness classes, or the cost to participate in Community Support Agriculture (CSA) programs.  You can learn more information about the benefits available to you by accessing wellwisconsin.wi.gov.

Per guidance from the federal government and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), these benefits are classified as taxable fringe benefits. This means that any financial incentive you receive from the program is taxable income for state and federal tax purposes.

What this means for you:

  • Beginning in 2014 financial incentives will be reported by your employer as a taxable wage and will be subject to applicable withholdings and taxes. You will see withholdings for all incentives issued in the current calendar year reflected on your December pay stub. This will include incentives issued to your eligible family members.
  • Withholding will include 7.65% for Social Security and Medicare and may include withholding for federal and state taxes, depending on the number of exemptions you claimed on your W-4.
  • Due to the year-end reporting, incentives normally paid during the months of November and December will be delayed until the next tax year.
  • Federal regulations requires the UW Service Center to receive financial data regarding incentives issued to employees and their covered family members. Your health information is protected by federal privacy regulations and is not shared with your employer.

Even with the federal government’s tax regulations, eligible employees are able to receive substantial financial rewards for using the wellness incentives offered by the State of Wisconsin and participating health plans. Benefits available through the Well Wisconsin program are also available to any dependent over the age of 18 who is covered by your State of Wisconsin insurance plan.

If you have any questions or concerns feel free to contact ETF at 1-877-533-5020 or our office at 465-2390.

WRS Benefit Presentations

Attention Employees covered under the Wisconsin Retirement System:

WRS Benefit Presentations, Webinars, Group Appointments, Benefit Fairs Set for September – December 2014

Representatives from ETF frequently give presentations at a variety of locations throughout Wisconsin. These staff appearances offer members an opportunity to learn about the Wisconsin Retirement System and related benefits. We encourage all members to attend an ETF presentation. Statewide benefit presentations, group appointments, webinars and benefit fairs offer you an opportunity to ask questions of knowledgeable ETF staff. For more information on benefit presentations, groups appointments, webinars and benefit/health fairs, read Employer Bulletin Vol. 31, No. 12.

ETF Learning Opportunity Update — August Webinars

Attention Employees covered under the Wisconsin Retirement System

The Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) is offering the following webinars during the month of August.  See ETF’s information below regarding their upcoming webinars.

 

ETF Banner

You are subscribed to Current News/Press Releases, Benefit Presentations, Employer Training and/or Schedule of Benefits Presentations for the Wisconsin Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF). This information has recently been updated and is now available.

Webinars

Live Webinars Scheduled for August
ETF is offering a series of 30-minute, live, interactive webinars designed to increase your understanding of Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) benefits. Individuals can also ask questions at the end of these sessions. Visit our webinar page to learn more about any of the following sessions. Here is what others have said about our webinars:

  • “My participation in the webinar was a first for me, and I just want to compliment you on how easy it was to connect, follow along, and provide questions or requests. Excellent job!”
  • “Thanks for having these valuable webinars. The professional but conversational style helped me to understand the presentation as easily as an “in office” meeting. Really appreciate that the presenter fully understands the subject. Wonderful job.”

How Divorce Can Affect Your WRS Benefits/QDRO (Qualified Domestic Relation Order)

This webinar covers not only how divorce can affect your WRS benefits, but also the importance of properly completing the QDRO required by ETF under state law. We will also review what happens once a valid Qualified Domestic Relations Order is accepted and processed by ETF.

  • Tuesday August 12, 11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
  • Thursday August 21, 1:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Additional Contributions
Find out how making additional contributions to your WRS account can potentially increase your retirement. This webinar also provides examples of how contributions grow over time with interest, how to pay additional contributions (payroll deduction or direct pay), etc.

  • Thursday August 7, 12:00 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.
  • Monday August 18, 6:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday August 27, 11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Register for a webinar

ETF Learning Opportunity Update — July Webinars

Attention Employees covered under the Wisconsin Retirement System

The Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) is offering several webinars during the month of July.  See ETF’s information below regarding their upcoming webinars.

Webinars

Live Webinars Scheduled for July
ETF is offering a series of 30-minute, live, interactive webinars designed to increase your understanding of Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) benefits. Individuals can also ask questions at the end of these sessions. Visit our webinar page to learn more about any of the following sessions. Here is what others have said about our webinars:  “My participation in the webinar was a first for me, and I just want to compliment you on how easy it was to connect, follow along, and provide questions or requests. Excellent job!”   “Thanks for having these valuable webinars.  The professional but conversational style helped me to understand the presentation as easily as an “in office” meeting. Really appreciate that the presenter fully understands the subject. Wonderful job.”

WRS Employee and Employer Contribution Rates
This webinar will review how employer and employee contributions help keep the WRS fully funded. We will discuss how the contribution rates are calculated, why they change annually, where those dollars go and the contribution rate changes for 2015.

Tuesday July 1, 11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Thursday July 10, 12:00 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Wednesday July 23, 6:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Friday July 25, 12:30 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Wednesday Jul 30, 1:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Beneficiary Designation
Do you have a beneficiary designation on file with ETF and does it reflect how you’d want your WRS death benefits paid? This webinar reviews the importance of having a beneficiary designation on file and keeping it updated as life events occur. We’ll also review the process of how to correctly complete a designation form, what it means if you do not have one on file with ETF, and how to request a copy of your current form.
Wednesday July 9, 11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Tuesday July 15, 12:00 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Monday July 28, 6:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Overview of the Wisconsin Retirement System
This webinar will cover participation in the WRS, vesting requirements, how the WRS is funded and benefits available under the WRS.  Also included is a brief overview of the Core and Variable Trust Funds and how the WRS is structured.

Monday July 14, 1:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Thursday July July 24, 12:00 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Wednesday July 30, 11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Register for a webinar

Long Term Care Insurance

HealthChoiceNOTE:  This is a voluntary, employee-pay-all premium benefit plan.  Your State of Wisconsin employer does not pay any portion of the premium.

Important Insurance Protection for State, University of Wisconsin, UW Hospitals & Clinics Employees & Annuitants and their Family Members is now available.

Simply click here to request an information packet.

Mutual of Omaha Life Insurance Company is now offering a new plan; MutualCare Custom Solution policy to eligible Employees, Annuitants, and their family members. These voluntary purchase long-term care insurance policies are offered at a group-discounted premium. (Spouse, domestic partner, parents and in-laws are all eligible to apply, even if you don’t purchase)

Each year, many Americans lose significant income, savings and assets because of long-term care expenses. Long-term care insurance is designed to help protect against the high costs of long-term care if you or a family member can no longer perform activities of daily living without the need of assistance. Health insurance or Medicare will not pay for this type of care. For many, long-term care insurance is an important part of planning for their long-term financial security.

HealthChoice also provides CareOptions services to all State, University of Wisconsin and UW Hospitals & Clinics Employees, Annuitants and their family members at no charge and no insurance purchase required. To use this service, request an information packet and it will contain the CareOptions member access information.

The MutualCare Custom Solution policy offers additional built-in benefits that include:

  • If, prior to age 65, you sustain an injury requiring home health care, assisted living facility or nursing home care, your policy will pay up to two times the maximum benefit.
  • Cash benefits that  can be used any way you choose – you simply receive the full monthly cash benefit you select to pay for anything at all… family travel expenses, lost income, housekeeping services or other out-of-pocket expenses – there’s no need to collect or submit bills.
  • Cash beginning with the first day of need – no elimination period to satisfy.
  • Many other additional benefits and features listed in the information packet.

The CareOptions Program can assist you or family members with issues related to wellness, illness, disability, or aging. As an additional convenience, the CareOptions service can help you and your family members create Living Wills (advance directives for health care) as well as allow you to conduct care provider searches and medical information research seven days a week, 24 hours a day.

We urge you to investigate this plan for you and your family. To receive a complete information packet regarding your long-term care insurance options and access to the new CareOptions resources, simply click here to request an information packet. You may also call HealthChoice toll-free at 1-800-833-5823 or in the Madison area at 833-5823 or email info@healthchoice.com. For a direct information link, click or paste in your web browser’s address line: http://www.healthchoice.com/reply1

Since 1995, State of Wisconsin employees, annuitants, their spouses and parents have had the option of purchasing a long-term care insurance policy through HealthChoice. (Spouse, domestic partner, parents and in-laws are all eligible to apply, even if you don’t).

COOL™ and CareOptions® are registered trademarks of NavGate Technologies®, a division of CareQuest® Inc. The COOL and CareOptions system is owned and operated by NavGate Technologies and provided by HealthChoice Insurance Solutions as a service to its group members. CareOptions is a consumer driven wellness and care planning system – CareOptions is not insurance nor is it owned or operated by any insurance company, HMO or care provider.

This insurance plan has been authorized by the Group Insurance Board for the purpose of offering long term care insurance to eligible State of Wisconsin employees and retirees under authority granted by Wis. Stats. § 40.55 and as set forth in Wis. Admin Code Chapter ETF 41. The criteria the Board uses include, but are not limited to: documentation of financial stability, demonstration of a reasonable ratio of claims paid to the premium level, authority to conduct business in the State of Wisconsin, agreeing to conditions for the rate-making process and other administrative conditions. ETF staff and the Board’s actuary review proposals for participation prior to Board approval. However, the Board does not require competitive bids nor a benefit comparison with similar products from other vendors. Authorization for payroll deduction should not be construed as an endorsement of this plan by either the Group Insurance Board or the Department of Employee Trust Funds. This insurance has exceptions, limitations and reductions. This letter is used as a source of leads in the solicitation of insurance and you may be contacted by an insurance agent if you request an information packet.

Insurance products are offered through HealthChoice. HealthChoice is not affiliated with any insurance company or HMO. Long-Term Care Insurance is underwritten by United of Omaha Life Insurance Company, Omaha, Nebraska 68175.

Policy form ICC13-LTC13
ICC13-M28385-WIAG

HealthChoice
583 D’Onofrio Drive 101 • Madison, Wisconsin 53719
(800) 833-5823 • Fax (608) 833-7540
E-mail: info@healthchoice.comwww.healthchoice.com

ETF – Live Webinars

Live Webinars Scheduled

ETF is offering a series of live, interactive webinars – online presentations – designed to increase your understanding of Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) benefits. Unless otherwise noted, all webinars are 30 minutes with time for webinar-topic related questions at the end of the sessions.

NEW Topics:

  • Variable Fund
  • Buying Service
  • Annuity Options

Check the ETF Live Webinar Website for dates and times.

Unsolicited Telephone Calls Regarding Annuities and Retirement Benefits

Some members of the Wisconsin Retirement System have received unsolicited telephone calls from persons offering to come to the member’s home to discuss their retirement account. The caller claims to be associated with the Department of Employee Trust Funds. ETF is not associated with these solicitations and does not share or sell member information to third parties. In addition, ETF does not schedule meetings in the private homes of members. Individuals who have concerns about receiving one of these solicitations should contact ETF toll-free at 1-877-533-5020.

Your Annual WRS Statement of Benefits is Now Available Online

Your Annual Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) Statement of Benefits is now available online in the My UW System portal: http://my.wisconsin.edu.  Login to the portal and go to the “Benefit Information” module and click on the “Statements” tab.  Click on “ETF Annual Statement of Benefits (WRS) Issued 2014” to view and print your statement.  Please note that you will not receive a paper copy of the statement.

The WRS Annual Statement of Benefits provides you with information about your Wisconsin Retirement System account as of January 1, 2014. Information on the statement includes 2013 WRS earnings and creditable service; total years of WRS creditable service, and separation and death benefit calculations.  You should review this statement closely for accuracy.

Statement Section 2 – After Act 10 Service
The name of your retirement category is in both Sections 1 and 2 of the Statement.  If you are in a General, Teacher or Protective retirement category, all of your creditable service will be listed in the “Before 2000” and/or “After 1999” columns in Section 2 of the Statement.

Only employees in an Elected or Executive retirement category will have creditable service in the “After Act 10” column.  2011 Wisconsin Act 10 changed the way retirement benefits are calculated for Elected/Executive category employees so service earned after Act 10 must be tracked separately for this group of employees.

Information to Help You Understand Your WRS Statement
Explanation of Annual Statement of Benefits (ET-7333)

Video Explanation of the Statement 

WRS Annual Statement of Benefits Help Page (includes the above links plus additional information)

Webinars dates and times will be released soon and available on the ETF Webinars page

Information Regarding Interest Rates and Annuity Adjustments
Webinars and Video: Interest Rates and Annuity Adjustments

Please note that if you have recently been upgraded to Firefox 19 (with a new built-in PDF viewer) you may find your statement unreadable in the My UW System portal. For workaround instructions visit:
https://kb.wisc.edu/page.php?id=29006.  Please contact your institution’s IT helpdesk if further assistance is needed.