Finding a New Health Insurance Plan Carrier

With WEA Trust no longer available in 2023, many of us need to find a new health insurance plan carrier.  The following steps can help with this process.

  • Determine which doctors and hospitals/clinics that you and your covered dependents currently use.
  • Visit the Health Plan Search website: https://etf.wi.gov/its-your-choice/2023/health-plan-search/state 
  • Enter your county in the Where You Want to Get Care box (ex. Brown County) and click Submit.  (Make sure to click on the county name that displays under the box when you are typing it in.)  This will list only those carriers who have coverage in that county.
    • Access Plan by Dean – provides freedom of choice for doctors and hospitals across the country, however the monthly premium is quite a bit higher (premiums: https://www.wisconsin.edu/ohrwd/benefits/premiums/).  The other carriers are regional plans, and you would need to see a provider covered by that carrier – out-of-network benefits are only covered for emergency and urgent care services.
  • Review the Major Health Systems listed under each carrier, and look for the hospitals/clinics that you use.  For example, Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative has Advocate Aurora Health Care, ThedaCare, and BayCare Clinic.
  • Click on the carrier name, and then View Provider Directory to see which doctors are covered.  The Health Plan Carrier’s phone number is also listed right there, so you can contact them if you have questions.
    • You may be able to search online in their provider directory, or it may open a PDF document of providers.  If the provider directory is a PDF, you can click [CTRL] + [F] to get a search bar.  Then type in the last name of your doctor and hit Enter.
  • What if my primary care provider is covered, but my specialist is not?
    • If your specialist is not covered, but your primary care provider is, you will have to decide which you would rather change.  Contact your current provider for recommendations on selecting a new provider or contact your new health plan for help.
    • You can also consider switching to the Access plan, which has nationwide coverage, but the monthly premium is higher.
  • If you are in the middle of medical treatment or have complex healthcare needs, it’s a good idea to contact the health plan you are interested in and explain your care situation, so they can help guide you through the transition.
  • Transitioning Care information from the Department of Employee Trust Funds:

Questions? Please stop by a Benefits Open Lab, schedule a meeting with a Benefits Specialist, attend the Health Plan Fair, or email hr@uwgb.edu.

WRS Webinars in September

ETF is offering a series of 30-minute, live, interactive webinars designed to increase your understanding of Wisconsin Retirement System benefits.  Individuals can also ask questions at the end of these sessions. To avoid connectivity issues during webinars, we highly recommend using Google Chrome as your web browser.

Additional Contributions

Looking to increase your WRS retirement? Learn how Additional Contributions can increase your WRS retirement benefit.

By the end of this webinar, you will be able to:

  • Define additional contributions.
  • Identify how additional contributions increase your retirement fund.
  • Arrange to make additional contributions to your WRS account(s).
  • Find and use ETF resources to calculate your additional contribution amount.

Tue, Sep 13, 2022 1:00 pm – 1:30 pm
Thu, Sep 29, 2022 6:00 pm – 6:30 pm

To register, go to: https://register.gotowebinar.com/rt/5016408976452107536

Beneficiary Designations – What Happens to My Account When I Die?

Death is never easy to talk about, but it’s important to know where your money is going. Learn what happens to your WRS account when you pass away, why it’s important to designate a beneficiary and the importance of keeping your account up to date.

By the end of this webinar, you will be able to:

  • Define beneficiary and standard sequence.
  • Explain the importance of a beneficiary form.
  • Identify who or what could be a beneficiary.
  • Select the appropriate beneficiary form.
  • Update your beneficiary.

Tue, Sep 6, 2022 11:00 am – 11:30 am
Wed, Sep 14, 2022 1:00 pm – 1:30 pm
Wed, Sep 21, 2022 11:00 am – 11:30 am

To register, go to: https://register.gotowebinar.com/rt/3261614806801359888

Variable Fund

Does putting money in the Variable Fund make sense for you? You and your employer put money in to your WRS account to save for your future. The money in your account is then invested to increase your savings. By default, your money goes into the Core Fund, but you can choose to put half your money into the Variable Fund.

By the end of this webinar, you will be able to:

  • Define Variable Trust Fund and explain how it works.
  • Analyze how the Variable Fund can affect your retirement benefit.
  • Elect to join or cancel the Variable Fund.

Wed, Sep 7, 2022, 1:00 pm – 1:30 pm
Tue, Sep 13, 2022 11:00 am – 11:30 am
Tue, Sep 27, 2022, 6:00 pm – 6:30 pm

To register, go to: https://register.gotowebinar.com/rt/6428457883935944720

Preparing for Your Retirement

Planning to retire in the next 5 years? Then this webinar is for you. Learn about your WRS benefits and the retirement process.

By the end of this webinar, you will be able to:

  • Explain how the WRS retirement benefit works.
  • Recognize eligibility and prepare to apply for benefits.
  • Identify the different types of annuity options.
  • Prepare for health and life insurance changes in retirement.
  • Find additional resources.

Thu, Sept 8, 2022 11:00 am – 12:00 pm
Wed, Sept 21, 2022 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Tue, Oct 4, 2022 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Thu, Oct 20, 2022 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Wed, Nov 2, 2022 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Thu, Nov 17, 2022 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Thu, Dec 1, 2022 11:00 am – 12:00 pm
Tue, Dec 13, 2022 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm

To register, go to: https://register.gotowebinar.com/rt/2592441029449835020

WRS Webinars in August

ETF is offering a series of 30-minute, live, interactive webinars designed to increase your understanding of Wisconsin Retirement System benefits.  Individuals can also ask questions at the end of these sessions. To avoid connectivity issues during webinars, we highly recommend using Google Chrome as your web browser.

Annuity Options

When you get your retirement estimate, you’ll see that there are many options for receiving your retirement benefit. You can choose to receive the payment for your life or extend it beyond your life to your loved ones. The choice is yours. We’ll discuss how each option impacts the size of your payment and affects your loved ones.

By the end of this webinar, you will be able to:

  • Define and explain annuity, annuitant, beneficiary and named survivor.
  • Compare the different annuity options.
  • Find resources with more information.
  • Identify the next steps for you to choose an annuity option.

Tue, Aug 2, 2022 1:00 pm – 1:30 pm
Thu, Aug 11, 2022 11:00 am – 11:30 am
Tue, Aug 30, 2022 6:00 pm – 6:30 pm

To register, go to: https://register.gotowebinar.com/rt/9049718892596506635

How to Use ETF’s Online Retirement Calculator

Curious about how much money you’ll get during retirement? Our most used online tool, the retirement calculator, lets you see how much money you may get in the future.

By the end of this webinar, you will be able to:

  • Find information on your Statement of Benefits used for calculations.
  • Enter information into the WRS Retirement Benefits Calculator.
  • See an unofficial estimate of your WRS Retirement Benefits online.

Wed, Aug 3, 2022 1:00 pm – 1:30 pm
Tue, Aug 16, 2022 11:00 am – 11:30 am
Thu, Aug 25, 2022 6:00 pm – 6:30 pm

To register, go to: https://register.gotowebinar.com/rt/3307910842676064271

WRS Retirement Benefit Calculations

Have you requested a retirement estimate? Thinking about it? In this webinar, we’ll discuss how we calculate your retirement benefit.

By the end of this webinar, you will be able to:

  • Explain the individual components of the two retirement benefit calculation methods.
  • Describe what affects your WRS retirement benefit for each type of calculation (money purchase and formula).

Tue, Aug 9, 2022, 11:00 am – 11:30 am
Thu, Aug 25, 2022 1:00 pm – 1:30 pm
Wed, Aug 31, 2022, 6:00 pm – 6:30 pm

To register, go to: https://register.gotowebinar.com/rt/3088936504935039758

WRS Webinars in July

ETF is offering a series of 30-minute, live, interactive webinars designed to increase your understanding of Wisconsin Retirement System benefits.  Individuals can also ask questions at the end of these sessions. To avoid connectivity issues during webinars, we highly recommend using Google Chrome as your web browser.

Beneficiary Designations – What Happens to My Account When I Die?

Death is never easy to talk about, but it’s important to know where your money is going. Learn what happens to your WRS account when you pass away, why it’s important to designate a beneficiary and the importance of keeping your account up to date.

By the end of this webinar, you will be able to:

  • Define beneficiary and standard sequence.
  • Explain the importance of a beneficiary form.
  • Identify who or what could be a beneficiary.
  • Select the appropriate beneficiary form.
  • Update your beneficiary.

Tue, July 12, 2022 6:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Wed, July 20, 2022 1:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Thu, July 28, 2022 11:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

To register, go to: https://register.gotowebinar.com/rt/1235712954144225294

Newly Retired? What to Expect

When you first retire, you may experience several changes.

We’ll help prepare you for some of these changes by discussing the following:

  • Explain your annuity payment and why it may change.
  • Identify mailings you will receive during retirement.
  • Be aware of life changes during retirement that may affect your benefits.

Thu, July 14, 2022 1:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Tue, July 19, 2022 11:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Wed, July 27, 2022 6:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

To register, go to: https://register.gotowebinar.com/rt/3312566174199303180

Overview of the Wisconsin Retirement System

Are you new to the Wisconsin Retirement System? We’ll let you know what to expect.

By the end of this webinar, you will be able to:

  • Identify and explain the elements of the Wisconsin Retirement System.
  • Explain how the WRS pension works.
  • Identify benefits available through the WRS.
  • Find resources for more information.

Tue, July 12, 2022, 11:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Thu, July 21, 2022 6:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Wed, July 27, 2022 1:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

To register, go to: https://register.gotowebinar.com/rt/3399334134305369869

Preparing for Your Retirement

Planning to retire in the next 5 years? Then this webinar is for you. Learn about your WRS benefits and the retirement process.

By the end of this webinar, you will be able to:

  • Explain how the WRS retirement benefit works.
  • Recognize eligibility and prepare to apply for benefits.
  • Identify the different types of annuity options.
  • Prepare for health and life insurance changes in retirement.
  • Find additional resources.

Wed, July 13, 2022 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Thu, July 28, 2022 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Tue, Aug 9, 2022 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Wed, Aug 24, 2022 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Thu, Sept 8, 2022 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Wed, Sept 21, 2022 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Tue, Oct 4, 2022 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Thu, Oct 20, 2022 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Wed, Nov 2, 2022 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Thu, Nov 17, 2022 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Thu, Dec 1, 2022 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Tue, Dec 13, 2022 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

To register, go to: https://register.gotowebinar.com/rt/2592441029449835020

Five to Thrive Wellness Challenge

Are you ready for the next Wellness Challenge?  To participate in the Five to Thrive nutrition challenge, track the fruits and veggies you eat for 21 of 28 days between July 11 and August 7.  Enjoy the delicious healthy food from your garden, the farmer’s market or your CSA, and get closer to earning your $150 wellness incentive!

Register here: https://www.webmdhealth.com/wellwisconsin/ 

Well Wisconsin: Daily Habits

Sometimes it just takes a little nudge to get in the habit of doing healthy things!  Sign up for a Daily Habits plan as part of your Well-Being Activity to earn your $150 Wellness Incentive.  You would log in to the wellness portal each day during your chosen activity period, and report on your progress.  Daily Habits uses behavioral science to help you improve your well-being.

Plan options include:

  • Enjoy exercise
  • Balance your diet
  • Keep stress in check
  • Lose weight
  • Quit tobacco
  • Cope with the blues

Sign up at: https://webmdhealth.com/wellwisconsin/

Submit Leave Reports by June 30, 2022

Faculty, Academic Staff and Limited appointees (who have or had an active leave-eligible appointment) are required to submit monthly leave reports for each appointment, whether or not leave is used. Employees are required to report leave on or before the day the leave is taken, or if no leave is taken, to enter a “No Leave Taken” at the end of the month.

Missing leave reports must be entered by June 30, 2022 for fiscal year July 2021 through June 2022.

Failure to submit leave for fiscal year 2022 will result in a permanent reduction of sick leave hours.

Even one unsubmitted leave report will reduce an employee’s sick leave balance resulting in less sick leave available to use if needed. Long term, a reduction of sick leave hours will result in fewer hours available to use for the Sick Leave Credit Conversion Program which allows employees to pay for health insurance in retirement.

How do I Know if I have Missing Leave Reports?

Employees with missing leave reports receive email reminders every two weeks listing their missing reports. Employees may also check for missing leave reports at any time in the MyUW portal.

Resources

Questions? Please email payrollandbenefits@uwgb.edu.

Source: UW System Human Resources

June 30th Deadline to use Carryover Vacation and Holiday Hours

The deadline for Faculty, Academic Staff and Limited Appointees to use carryover vacation, personal and floating legal holiday hours is June 30, 2022. Schedule and use this leave by June 30, 2022, or it will be lost.

Paid leave is granted to Faculty, Academic Staff and Limited Appointees in annual basis appointments on a fiscal year basis (July 1 – June 30).

Faculty, Academic Staff and Limited Appointees

Paid Leave Type Year Granted Deadline to Use
Personal Holiday July 1, 2021 – June 30, 2022  (2021-22 Fiscal Year) June 30, 2022
Floating Legal Holiday Hours December 25, 2021
January 1, 2022
June 30, 2022
Vacation Hours July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021  (2020-21 Fiscal Year) June 30, 2022

University Staff Employees

As a reminder, paid leave is granted on a calendar year basis.

  • Personal Holidays granted January 1, 2022, must be used by December 31, 2022.
  • Floating Legal Holidays (January 1, December 24, December 31, 2022) must be used by December 31, 2022.
  • Vacation carryover from 2021 must be used by December 31, 2022.

Resources:

UW System Policies:

Source: UW System Human Resources

Mental Health Support Available Through Employee Assistance Program

The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provides employer-paid mental health and other well-being resources for UW System employees and their household family members.

Mental health is a critical part of overall health. Everyone faces challenges in life that may impact their mental health. If life challenges are making it difficult for you to cope, how do you know if what you are experiencing is anxiety or depression? When is it time to get professional help? Are you turning to drugs or alcohol to help you cope?

Don’t wait to reach out for mental health support. Contact the EAP today for help.

The EAP is available twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year to help you connect with a counselor either in-person or virtually to discuss your concerns. Household family members are also eligible for counseling. EAP counseling is confidential and solution-focused with the goal of bringing measurable improvement to the situation.

Grief and Loss Support: Grief and loss are difficult emotions that most everyone experiences. The past few years have been especially difficult. Your EAP can help you work through the emotions that may be causing you distress.

Financial Support: Financial struggles can be a significant source of stress. EAP financial advisors can address your specific concerns and help you determine solutions for managing your financial situation. Take advantage of this free service.

Daily Living Support: Stress associated with daily life can be overwhelming. Whether you’re looking for a cleaning service, realtor, new gym, dog walker, day care options or a moving company, contact the EAP. The EAP will conduct a search and present their findings to you so you can evaluate your options.

Legal Support: Seeking legal advice can be time consuming and expensive. Through the EAP, you have access to creating wills, and a free 30-minute legal consultation with an attorney with expertise in your matter. If you choose to retain the attorney, there will be a 25% reduction in the hourly rate.

Resources: The EAP webpage includes contact information and resources.

Source: UW System Human Resources