Update on State Group Health Insurance

As you may be aware, the Group Insurance Board (GIB) approved a motion on February 8, 2017 to move to a self-insured health insurance model for State Group Health effective January 2018. Under the self-insured model, the Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) would hold health insurance funds in a reserve to pay individual health care claims instead of paying health insurance companies a fixed dollar amount for employee health insurance.   ETF has developed a 5 minute video that helps explain the self-insurance concept. The proposed self-insured funding model requires approval by the State Legislature.

Along with moving to a self-insured model, the GIB also approved changes to the service model to regionalize the health plans, dividing the state into four regions.  This regionalization will move the State Group Health Insurance from 17 options to 6 regional options.  In addition, there will be 1 statewide/nationwide option.  Brown County and the greater Green Bay area will be under the Eastern region, with two regional vendors, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield and Network Health Administrative Services.

 

Why the change?

The Board’s decision was based on a potential taxpayer savings of an estimated $60 million over the 2017-2019 biennium, with additional savings predicted in future years.  The new structure will provide the same level of benefits to employees, while retaining access to 98% of current plan providers, according to the Board’s consulting actuary.

 

Will my health insurance premiums increase?

A self-insurance model or moving to regions does not mean higher premiums or out-of-pocket costs.  Uniform benefit cost sharing (copay/deductible/coinsurance) is expected to stay the same in 2018 and premium contribution amounts are not available yet, but will be provided during the Annual Benefits Enrollment period this fall.

 

Will I need to choose a new health plan?

Yes, all employees enrolled in the State Group Health Insurance will need to evaluate health plan information and providers when the information is provided during the Annual Benefits Enrollment period this fall.

 

How can I learn more?

For more information on coverage areas, providers and an action step timeline, please visit the ETF Site.

 

We will continue to communicate with you as we have more information available.  As always, please contact out office at (920) 465-2390 or payrollandbenefits@uwgb.edu with any quesitons.

 

 

 

 

 

 

February Payroll Processing Change for Employees Paid Bi-Weekly

The February B payroll period (2/5/17 to 2/18/17) has been moved ahead of its regular processing schedule, so we are requesting that employees paid on a bi-weekly basis submit their timesheets and absence requests by Friday, February 17th at 4:30 p.m.  Supervisors should review and approve timesheets and absence requests by Monday, February 20th at Noon.  Please e-mail payrollandbenefits@uwgb.edu if you have any questions or concerns about the adjustment to this deadline.  Thank you for your help!

America Saves Week, February 27 – March 4: Resources and Events for UW Employees

America Saves Week, a national campaign encouraging savings and financial planning, is February 27 – March 4, 2017. The University of Wisconsin is a partner in the America Saves campaign and has many resources and events planned to help UW employees expand their financial knowledge and set new savings goals.

Take a look at the UW’s America Saves website which lists all of the resources and events planned throughout the state. In-person events include workshops on valuable financial wellness topics presented by the UW Credit Union, Summit Credit Union, TIAA, Fidelity, T. Rowe Price, Ameriprise, Lincoln, UW faculty members and Tax-Sheltered Annuity Program staff, as well as credit report consultations and individual counseling. The UW is committed to helping you plan, save, and build wealth, so you can fulfill your long-term goals.

Click here to find out more information regaring the Achieving Financial Goals Workshop being held on campus and go to the website to view live, interactive webinars and videos, and read handy tips and information on savings and financial wellness. Visit the website often in the coming weeks as more information and events may be added.

America Saves will keep you motivated with information, tips, and reminders to help you reach your savings goal. Think of them as your own personal support system.

America Saves Week is an opportunity to commit—or recommit—to saving for today and for the future. Saving is more than just a good idea. It’s possible!

Human Resources System (HRS) Outage in Late February 2017 Will Affect Employee Access

Employees will not have access to their online timesheet, earnings statements and other related documents and services during a UW Human Resources System (HRS) outage that will occur in late February 2017.

The outage is due to an HRS System technical upgrade and is tentatively scheduled to begin at noon on Wednesday, February 22 and continue until the morning of Monday, February 27.

The following self-service features that employees access through the MyUW portals, will be unavailable during the outage:

  • Online timesheet
  • Absence reporting
  • Web Clock
  • Benefits Self-service (‘e-Benefits’)
  • Updates to personal information
  • Access to electronic earnings statements, tax statements (W-2, 1042-S, etc.), leave statements and other HR, Payroll and Benefits documents.

Employees are encouraged to plan ahead and take care of HR, Payroll and Benefits related tasks in the portal before the outage begins. The rest of the portal, with the exception of the HRS System related features and documents, will be available during the HRS outage.

Once the HRS System is upgraded, employees will experience the same functionality that they are currently accustomed to. The upgrade will have minimal impact on system users.

The HRS System manages UW Human Resources, Payroll and Benefits processing for all UW System institutions.  The system is currently running on PeopleSoft’s Human Capital Management software version 9.0. The upgrade will move the system to version 9.2.

Source: UW Service Center

Dean Assistant

This position reports to the Dean of the Austin E. Cofrin School of Business (AECSB) and is primarily responsible for all matters related to budget and financial management, which includes functioning as the division’s liaison for payroll, purchasing, controller/accounting functions, and invoices. This position will also be the primary point of contact and support for the Dean, providing administrative support, scheduling, and other office management functions. In addition, this position will assist with planning various events hosted by the college.

For more information and position responsibilities, please see the full position announcement.

To ensure consideration, please submit application materials by Friday, February 17, 2017.

February Wellness Webinar: Demo of the StayWell Wellness Portal

StayWellPortal

 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

12:00 to 1:00 p.m.

Learn more about the new StayWell wellness portal and how you can utilize it to support your health and well-being goals. This webinar will provide an overview of the wellness portal including features, resources and tools available to you as part of the Well Wisconsin Program including the steps to earn your 2017 $150 incentive.

To register, visit wellwisconsin.staywell.com and go to Webinars, or join us for a group viewing in the Cofrin Library, 7th floor, room 735.

Wellness webinars highlighting various health and well-being topics will take place the 3rd Wednesday of each month. All webinars will be recorded and available to Well Wisconsin Program participants on the wellness portal after the event date.

To access the wellness portal, you must be an employee, retiree, or enrolled spouse/domestic partner enrolled in the State of Wisconsin or Wisconsin Public Employers Group Health Insurance Program.

Winter Break Fitness Challenge – Week Three

During the third and final week of the Winter Break Fitness Challenge (January 16th to January 22th), 35 entries were submitted at the Kress Events Center from 22 employees.  Jena Landers and Laura Schley were picked to select prizes – Congratulations Jena and Laura!  During the three week challenge, there were a total of 122 entries, so about 40 visits to the Kress by employees per week – great job staying healthy during the winter months!  Thanks to Sam Goeller for coordinating this fun challenge at the Kress Events Center!

Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy

Pregnant

Eat this! Don’t eat that! Pregnancy is an exciting time but knowing what foods are safe to eat can cause confusion for a lot of women. There is an abundance of information being thrown around that can make it even more overwhelming. Knowing exactly what foods to avoid can take the burden away and help women prepare for their upcoming addition.

One of the most controversial foods for pregnant women is seafood.  There is some belief that pregnant women should not eat any but the USDA recommends that pregnant women eat at least 8 ounces of seafood a week and no more than 12 ounces. However, it is important to choose the right kinds of seafood. The environment where the fish come from has an affect on the amount of methyl mercury that may be found in fish. It is always beneficial to check with the DNR for a guide on healthy fish to eat in a specific area. Mercury found in fish can cause damage to the baby’s developing brain, which is why it is so important to avoid foods that are high in it. Always avoid swordfish, shark, king mackerel or tilefish. Pregnant women should also avoid smoked seafood and raw fish, such as sushi due to food borne illnesses or food poisoning. “White” tuna or albacore is safe in small amounts but no more than 6 ounces a week should be consumed.

Other foods that pregnant women should be mindful of include any kind of raw meat. Undercooked beef or poultry should be avoided because of the risk of foodborne illnesses. Lunch meats and hot dogs are also foods that should be avoided. These may contain Listeria, which can cause miscarriages, stillbirths, or other serious health problems. It is advised that if pregnant women are going to consume lunch meats they should heat them until they are steaming. Soft cheeses made from unpasteurized milk should also be avoided. Brie, feta, Roquefort, or queso blanco are all examples of these. Raw vegetable sprouts are another food item to stay away from. Bacteria can easily exist in raw sprouts such as alfalfa, clover radish, or mung bean sprouts.

Another food item to consider with caution when pregnant is raw eggs. Some foods such as Caesar dressing, mayonnaise, hollandaise sauce, and homemade custards or ice cream may contain raw eggs without the consumer even knowing. Usually if these foods are commercially made they will be cooked at some point or made with pasteurized eggs but it is best to always double check.

What a person chooses to eat or drink will always directly affect their health. Pregnant women need to take the extra step or precaution to make sure that what they are eating is safe for not only themselves but for their baby too.

Article by Melanie Jaecks, UWGB Dietetic Intern

Should I Take a Supplement?

Supplements

Vitamins and minerals are essential nutrients, meaning that we must get them from our diets. They are important in many bodily functions such as growth, reproduction, and physiologic processes. Not consuming enough can result in deficiencies that can lead to permanent damage.

In general, the best sources for these nutrients are the foods that we eat. By eating a variety of foods from each main food group, you can ensure that you are getting a sufficient amount of these nutrients along with all the other benefits of eating a varied diet which include other important nutrients such as fiber, phytochemicals, and antioxidants. Getting vitamins and minerals from food can also improve the bioavailability (or degree to which they can be absorbed) of the nutrients.

While most populations can get a sufficient amount of vitamins and minerals from food, there are some who may benefit from taking a supplement. These populations include those who are going through periods of growth or repair, such as pregnant or lactating women, those who have diets that restrict certain food groups such as meats, dairy, or grains, those of advanced age, or those who have certain medical conditions that may decrease the absorption or increase the need of certain vitamins and minerals. These should be treated on a specific nutrient basis and not by a multivitamin or mineral supplement. Taking a vitamin or mineral supplement of a specific nutrient missing from your diet will prevent deficiency of that nutrient. Those who restrict total calories for weight loss or other purposes or those who have low appetites may benefit from a multivitamin or mineral supplement to cover the range of nutrients missing from their diet.

The large amount of other vitamins and minerals in a multi-supplement can be detrimental to the absorption of other vitamins and minerals, or when taken incorrectly over a period of time could lead to toxicity. Another issue related to supplement use is the question of purity and dosage of the supplement. These products are not heavily regulated and may contain other contaminants or a different actual dosage than what is advertised on the bottle.

Consuming a variety of foods should ensure proper vitamin and mineral intake along with other important nutrients for most populations. If you are someone with a restricted diet, have increased needs or decreased absorption due to age, medical condition, or period of growth, you may benefit from taking either a specific nutrient supplement or a multivitamin from a reputable processor.

Article by Alyssa Blume, UWGB Dietetic Intern

Homemade Hummus

Hummus

Ingredients:

  • 1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained, liquid reserved
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 drops sesame oil, or to taste (optional)

Directions:

Blend garbanzo beans, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, cumin, salt, and sesame oil in a food processor; stream reserved bean liquid into the mixture as it blends until desired consistency is achieved.

Recipe provided by Alyssa Blume, UWGB Dietetic Intern