WRS Webinars Offered in April

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. Visit their webinar page to learn more about any of the following sessions.

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


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.

  • Fri, Apr 3, 2020 11:00 AM – 11:30 AM
  • Wed, Apr 8, 2020 11:30 AM – 12:00 PM
  • Thu, Apr 23, 2020 12:00 PM – 12:30 PM
  • Mon, Apr 27, 2020 6:00 PM – 6:30 PM

WRS Effective Rates and Annuity Adjustments


Do WRS accounts receive an investment return? Do investment returns affect how much a retiree will initially receive when they begin their pension? Do those retired in the WRS receive adjustments to their monthly pension amount over the years?

This webinar will cover the process of how account effective rates and annuity adjustments are calculated, starting with the investment return reported by the State of Wisconsin Investment Board. Also covered during the webinar will be explanations of both the Core and Variable Trust Funds and the calculations specific to each fund for effective rates and annual adjustments. At the end of this webinar, we hope you may have a better understanding of how the State of Wisconsin Investment Board investment returns affect your WRS pension.

  • Fri, Apr 3, 2020 12:30 PM – 1:00 PM
  • Thu, Apr 9, 2020 12:00 PM – 12:30 PM
  • Thu, Apr 23, 2020 6:00 PM – 6:30 PM
  • Wed, Apr 29, 2020 11:30 AM – 12:00 PM

How to Use ETF’s Online Retirement Calculator to Estimate a Retirement Benefit


ETF’s online retirement calculator, one of the most-used tools on our website, allows you to calculate an unofficial projection of your WRS retirement benefit at any point in the future. This webinar will cover where to find and how to use the calculator, specific information required for data entry (e.g., desired retirement date, spouse or partner’s birthdate, etc.) and how to interpret the results. There will be time at the end of the webinar to ask specific questions on this topic.

  • Wed, Apr 1, 2020 6:00 PM – 6:30 PM
  • Mon, Apr 6, 2020 11:00 AM – 11:30 AM
  • Thu, Apr 16, 2020 12:30 PM – 1:00 PM
  • Tue, Apr 21, 2020 11:30 AM – 12:00 PM

Preparing for Your Retirement


Who should attend? Employees who are planning to retire in the next 1 – 10 years. Learn about your steps to retire with the WRS. Attend this event by live webinar! You will learn about the impact of contributions and investment returns on your account, when you can retire, your WRS annuity options, returning to work after you retire, what happens to your account when you die, health and life insurance, and more.

Questions are welcome during and after the event!

  • Thu, Apr 2, 2020 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM
  • Tue, Apr 14, 2020 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
  • Wed, Apr 29, 2020 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM
  • Tue, May 12, 2020 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM
  • Thu, May 28, 2020 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM
  • Fri, Jun 12, 2020 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM
  • Thu, Jun 25, 2020 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM

One-on-one Meetings with a TIAA Financial Consultant Available on April 1st

One-on-one meetings with a TIAA Financial Consultant are available via phone on Wednesday, April 1st, but you do need to register ahead of time!

You can register for a meeting with a TIAA financial consultant via phone.  No matter where you are in life—just getting started or planning for retirement—a session with a TIAA financial consultant can help you create a plan for your goals. And, it’s at no additional cost as a part of your retirement plan. You’ll get answers to these questions and more:

  • Am I invested in the right mix of investments to help meet my goals?
  • Am I saving enough to create the retirement income I need?
  • How do I take income from my retirement account once I stop working?

You can register by visiting www.TIAA.org/schedulenow  or calling 800-732-8353, weekdays, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (ET).  We look forward to working with you.

This material is for informational or educational purposes only and does not constitute investment advice under ERISA. This material does not take into account any specific objectives or circumstances of any particular investor, or suggest any specific course of action. Investment decisions should be made based on the investor’s own objectives and circumstances. Investment, insurance, and annuity products are not FDIC insured, are not bank guaranteed, are not bank deposits, are not insured by any federal government agency, are not a condition to any banking service or activity, and may lose value. The TIAA group of companies does not offer tax advice. See your tax advisor regarding your particular situation. TIAA-CREF Individual & Institutional Services, LLC, Teachers Personal Investors Services, Inc., and Nuveen Securities, LLC, Members FINRA and SIPC, distribute securities products. ©2018 Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America-College Retirement Equities Fund, 730 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017

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

State Health Benefits and COVID-19

The following information is for individuals who participate in the State of Wisconsin Group Health Insurance Program.

The Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) is working with state health officials and health plans participating in the State of Wisconsin Group Health Insurance Program to ensure you receive the care you and/or your covered dependents need during the COVID-19 outbreak.

ETF will provide updates on group health insurance benefits and coverage related to the COVID-19 outbreak as the situation continues to develop.

Below you will find answers to commonly asked questions about your health benefits in relation to COVID-19.

Source: Department of Employee Trust Funds