Special EAP Webinar: Building Resilience – Navigating the Anxiety and Stress of COVID-19

We are in the midst of unprecedented times when we’re continually reminder of the global threat of COVID-19

This continuous news cycle can cause anxiety and worry about what will happen to our family, our community, our workplace.

We may feel a lack of control or helpless in the face of the unknown and the uncertainties of what this will mean.

To help you understand the impact of this stress and uncertainty on our brains, FEI is presenting a webinar where we’ll provide tips on how to:

      • Avoid becoming overwhelmed
      • Be resilient despite the distances between us
      • Find our best selves in times like these







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:

  • This 90 second video explains the curve of the healthcare system and how you may contribute to flattening it out simply by doing your part.
  • If you are able to work from home, keep in mind these top five tips for working from home.

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.

If you are enrolled in the Dependent Day Care Account and have experienced a change in the cost of your day care provider (e.g. your day care has closed), you may be able to decrease your contribution amount. Per IRS guidelines, changes due to qualifying life events must be made within 30 days. To make a change, submit a change form to your human resources office.

Finally, 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 for more information.

Source: UW System Human Resources


State Group Life Insurance Annual Premium Update

Each year, State Group Life Insurance premiums are updated on April 1. For University Staff and Academic Staff non-exempt employees (paid bi-weekly), the premium update will be reflected on the April 9, 2020 paycheck. For Faculty/Academic Staff/Limited Appointees (paid monthly), the premium update will be reflected on the April 1, 2020 paycheck.

Current enrollees in the State Group Life insurance program can review their updated premiums at: State Group Life Premium Notice. Current enrollees were sent an email March 13 with a link to this customized web page.

State Group Life Insurance premium and coverage levels are based on:

    • An employee’s highest calendar year of eligible earnings
    • An employee’s age as of April 1 each year
    • The coverage level the employee has elected

Employees who have changed age categories, or have had a salary change since April 1, 2019, will have a premium change effective April 1, 2020.

Premium Increase
Effective April 1, 2020, in addition to the annual premium update, State Group Life Insurance premiums will increase for most age categories. Premiums for spouse and dependent coverage will decrease slightly. Review the 2020 State Group Life Insurance premiums.

The UW System contributes towards a portion of the cost of your State Group Life Basic and Supplemental Insurance coverage. You pay the full cost of Additional, Spouse and Dependent coverage.

The benefit premium changes were approved by the Group Insurance Board which oversees the administration of the State Group Life Insurance program.

For general information about the State Group Life insurance plan, visit the State Group Life Insurance plan page or visit ALEX. If you have questions about the premium update or increase, contact Human Resources at (920) 465-2390 or payrollandbenefits@uwgb.edu.

Source: UW System Human Resources

New W-4 Form Designed to Better Estimate Accurate Tax Withholding

In December 2019, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released a new Form W-4 designed to help employees better estimate accurate tax withholding throughout the year. Too little tax withheld can result in a tax bill when taxes are filed. Too much tax withheld means you will receive a tax refund, and your money will not be available to spend or invest until your tax refund is received.

Online Self-Service Form W-4

To facilitate the completion of the new Form W-4, the UW now offers an online self-service Form W-4. Completion of this new form is not required, but all employees are encouraged to review the new form and their individual tax situation.

To access the new form, log into the MyUW portal for UW System institutions or for UW-Madison. In the Payroll Information tile, click on the Update W-4 button.

The Update Federal and/or State Form W-4 tip sheet is a resource available to help you use self-service to complete Form W-4.

How do I Determine How Much Tax I Should Have Withheld?

The Tax Withholding Estimator is a tool on the IRS website designed to help you determine how to have the correct amount of tax withheld from your paychecks so you don’t have too much or too little federal income tax withheld.

Before you use the tax withholding estimator:

  • Gather the most recent earnings statements for yourself, and if you are married filing jointly, for your spouse.
  • Gather information for other sources of income.
  • Have your most recent income tax return available.
  • Use whole dollar amounts in the estimator.

Keep in mind that the tax withholding estimator’s results will only be as accurate as the information you enter. If you have questions about the new Form W-4 or the available resources, please contact your Payroll office. Please note that the UW is not authorized to provide tax advice.

Source: UW-Shared Services, Service Operations

Using Telemedicine For 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 to get you started:

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 be able to recommend treatment, prescribe medication, refer you to a specialist or tell you, based on your symptoms, if you should see a doctor in-person.
Note: These services vary among insurance carriers in the State Group Health Insurance Program.

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 your State Group Health Insurance?
This will depend on which plan design you are enrolled in.

  • Health Plan: Telemedicine services are covered at 100%.
  • High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP): Telemedicine services are covered at 100% after you meet your deductible. This is necessary to comply with Health Savings Account (HSA) eligibility requirements as well as coverage mandates per the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

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 plan online portal, contact your health plan directly by calling the toll-free number on your health insurance ID card.

Source: UW System Human Resources

Summer Prepay Insurance Premium Deductions

Summer prepay insurance premiums deductions will be deducted from spring paychecks along with regular monthly insurance premium deductions for the following employee groups.

  • Academic (9-month) employees who will return to UW employment in the fall of 2020 will have April 1, May 1 and June 1 deductions.
  • Academic (9-month) employees with a summer service/summer session appointment will have April 1, May 1 and June 1 deductions.
  • Academic (biweekly non-exempt employees) will have March 26, April 9 and 23, May 7 and 21 and June 4 deductions.

Affected employees will receive an email prior to these paychecks with an estimated Summer prepay deduction amount. Deductions will be taken for State Group Health and any other insurance programs in which the employee is enrolled.*

Why are Summer Prepay Insurance Premiums Deducted in the Spring?
The additional summer prepay insurance premium deductions are taken to continue an employee’s insurance coverage through the summer (contract break) months. The Summer prepay deductions must be taken in the spring since these insurance premiums cannot be taken during a contract break and cannot be deducted from summer service/summer session earnings.

What if an Employee’s Employment Status Changes?
If an employee’s summer 2020 or fall 2020 employment status changes after they have had summer prepay deductions, they may receive deduction refunds. If an employee will be terminating employment, and will not return in the fall, they should contact their human resources office to determine their employment termination and insurance coverage end dates.

Employees who anticipate that they will experience any other status change; marriage, adoption, birth, divorce, etc., should contact their human resources office so they understand the impacts to their insurance benefits.

What if an Employee does not Have Summer Prepay Insurance Premiums Deducted?
If an employee does not have summer prepay deductions taken in the spring, and then has a summer session/summer service appointment, they will be billed directly for payment of the additional premiums due to provide them with insurance coverage during the summer months.

Payment must be made by the billing invoice due date to insure that insurance benefits are not canceled due to non-payment. If benefits are canceled due to nonpayment, the next opportunity to add the insurance benefits may be during the fall 2020 Annual Benefits Enrollment period with an effective insurance coverage date of January 1, 2021.

For questions, contact Human Resources at (920) 465-2390 or payrollandbenefits@uwgb.edu.

* Does not include Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA) deductions which are calculated based on a 9-month schedule for academic (9-month) employees.

* Does not include Tax-Sheltered Annuity (TSA) and Wisconsin Deferred Compensation (WDC) deductions.

* Opt-Out Incentive and Health Savings Account (HSA) employer contributions will be processed in the summer months.

Source: UW-Shared Services, Service Operations

NEW Form W-4 for Tax Withholding

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has recently published a newly designed Form W-4 due to federal tax law changes.

Why Has the IRS Published a New Form W-4?

The new W-4 is designed to help employees more accurately calculate their withholding allowances. Federal tax law changes have removed personal and dependent exemptions from the W-4. In the past, the value of a withholding allowance was tied to the amount of a personal exemption. This is no longer the case.

Who Should Complete a New Form W-4?

Current employees are not required to submit a new form. It is only required if you are a new hire in 2020, OR if you wish to update your current W-4 for payrolls dated after January 1, 2020.

Each employee must make withholding decisions on their own, or with the assistance of their individual tax consultant. Withholding is a very individual decision based on each person’s financial and personal situation. The UW is not authorized to provide tax advice.

To help you decide if you should complete a new W-4, review the resources below, and consider if you have had any personal or financial changes in the past year. Remember, you are not required to submit the new form.

New Form W-4 Resources

To help employees learn about and complete the new W-4, FAQs are posted on the IRS website. In January 2020, an IRS Tax Withholding Estimator will be added to the IRS website to further assist employees in making decisions about the new form.

If You Want to Complete a New Form W-4

If you decide after reviewing the new W-4 and applicable resources that you would like to complete a new form, you can submit a Form W-4 at your campus human resource office. Before completing the 2020 form, read the instructions included with the form.

  • You must complete Step 1 (personal information) and Step 5 (signing the form).
  • Steps 2, 3, and 4 are optional, but completing them will help ensure that your federal income tax withholding will more accurately match your tax liability. Step 2 is for households with multiple jobs. Step 3 is used to claim tax credits for dependents. Step 4 is for other adjustments (additional income such as interest and dividends, itemized deductions that exceed the standard deduction, and extra tax you want withheld).

NEW Employee Self-Service Form W-4

Early in 2020, it is planned that electronic self service will be available for employees to update their W-4 on the MyUW portal. Stay tuned for updates on this as we begin the new year.

Please contact Human Resources at (920) 465-2390 or payrollandbenefits@uwgb.edu if you have questions.

Source: UW System Human Resources