Understanding the Income Continuation Insurance Plan

What is Income Continuation Insurance?
The Income Continuation Insurance (ICI) plan is an "income replacement" benefit payable if you become disabled.

ICI provides up to 75% of average monthly earnings, based on previous calendar year eligible earnings.

  • Standard Coverage - Covers up to $64,000 of annual earnings with a maximum monthly benefit of $4,000.
  • Supplemental Coverage - Available to employees whose earnings exceed $64,000 and covers between $64,000 and $120,000 of annual earnings. The maximum benefit is $7,500 per month. You must have standard coverage to apply for supplemental coverage.

Who is Eligible for ICI?
ICI is available to employees who participate in the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS). Employees are eligible to enroll during their initial benefits enrollment period upon hire, or during the Annual ICI Deferred Enrollment period typically the end of January until March 1. Employees who become eligible for Deferred Enrollment will be notified by their human resources office regarding their enrollment opportunity.

Employees must be enrolled in the ICI plan to file a claim for benefits.

How are ICI Benefits Paid?
Before a benefit begins, you must serve an elimination period (also known as a waiting period) of at least 30 calendar days, or you must use all your sick leave up to a maximum of 130 working days, whichever is longer. You must be completely off work due to disability during this time.

Since 2016, overall ICI premiums have increased approximately 20% a year, increases are expected to continue through 2020. The annual premium increases are in place to eliminate program deficits.

Employees can voluntarily cancel coverage at any time. However, re-enrollment is not guaranteed. You would need to meet one of the deferred enrollment opportunities described based on your employment category below or provide satisfactory evidence of insurability.

University Staff
ICI premiums for insured University Staff (bi-weekly) employees are updated annually based on your previous calendar year salary rounded to the next higher thousand and divided by 12 and the amount of your accumulated sick leave. The amount of sick leave accrued as of the final pay period of each calendar year is used to determine your premium in February of the following calendar year.

ICI premium category 3 is a special rate category which permits University Staff employees to qualify for employer contribution by increasing their accumulated sick leave balance by at least 80 hours in the previous calendar year. Important note: this means you increase your sick leave by at least 80 hours in the calendar year, not just have a sick leave balance of 80 hours. Premium category 3 is the only premium category that is pro-rated for part-time employees.

Insured University Staff employees who accumulate at least 520 hours of sick leave by the end of the last complete pay period of the calendar year have reached a “permanent plateau” and are placed in premium category 4. Once you reach a permanent plateau, future premiums will be determined using nothing lower than premium category 4, even though later use of sick leave may cause the total number of sick leave accumulated to drop below the plateau. Additional plateaus are reached at 728 hours (premium category 5) and 1040 hours (premium category 6). The permanent premium category plateau hours are not pro-rated for part-time employees.

If you did not elect ICI coverage when you were originally eligible, you have the option of enrolling under the following deferred enrollment opportunities:

  • the first time you become eligible for special ICI category 3
  • the first time you become eligible for an increase in the employer contribution towards your premium by reaching permanent plateaus, category 4 and 5
  • any deferred coverage enrollment in which you are eligible for permanent plateau category 6

If you do not enroll when first eligible or when eligible for a deferred enrollment opportunity you may enroll if you are medically insurable. You complete an ICI Evidence of Insurability Application. The form asks you and your physician to answer question concerning your past and present health and coverage is not guaranteed.

Faculty/Academic Staff/Limited Appointees (FA/AS/LI)
FA/AS/LI employees select a waiting period of 30, 90, 125 or 180 days. Benefits will not begin until the longer of you exhausting up to 1040 hours of accumulated sick leave or your selected waiting period.

Insured FA/AS/LI employees can elect at anytime to go to a longer elimination period by completing a new ICI Application.

If you did not enroll when originally eligible or would like to change to a shorter elimination period, you can apply by providing satisfactory medical evidence of insurability. Complete an ICI Evidence of Insurability Application, the form asks you and your physician to answer question concerning your past and present health and coverage is not guaranteed.

Resources
For more information about the ICI plan:

Source: UW Service Center

Human Resources System Outage July 29, 2018 Will Affect Employee Access

Employees will not have access to online timesheets, earnings statements and other related documents and services during a UW Human Resources System (HRS) outage Sunday, July 29 from 6:00 a.m. through 5:00 p.m. The outage is due to HRS System maintenance.

The following self-service features that employees access through the MyUW portals, UW System institutions and UW-Madison, will be unavailable during this outage:

  • Online timesheet
  • Absence reporting
  • Benefits Self Service (eBenefits)
  • 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
  • Access to TAM job application service


The rest of the MyUW portal, with the exception of the HRS System related features and documents, will be available during the HRS outage.

Source: UW Service Center

Timesheet to Offer New and Improved Features

The timesheet for University Staff-Non-Exempt, University Staff-Temporary, Monthly paid employees who report Affordable Care Act (ACA) hours, and Student Hourly is changing to offer new and improved features effective 7/29/18. Employees who record their time via web clock will continue to do so, and when they view their completed timesheets, they will see the new format.

Though this change is happening in the middle of a pay period, employees can rest assured that all data entered on a timesheet during the first week of the pay period will appear seamlessly in the new timesheet format.

User friendly and more efficient features will create a better experience for employees who complete and view the timesheet. Some features/changes will include:

  • New alert icons -- view status of submitted time/absence requests right on the timesheet.
  • Columns reordered, renamed, and condensed -- Users will see clearer labels for shift in and out and break in and out. The add/remove (plus/minus) buttons and the comp time column will be moved. These and other changes will make the most used components of the timesheet visible without scrolling.
  • New 'copy from previous period' button -- will allow users to copy hours from the previous pay period.
  • Ability to delete multiple rows at once
  • Request, edit and cancel absences on the new timesheet

Review resources for completing the new timesheet.

Source: UW Service Center

UW Tax-Sheltered Annuity (TSA) 403(b) Provider Online Workshops

Fidelity, one of the UW TSA 403(b) providers, will be presenting two online workshops in July -- Invest Confidently for Your Future on July 24 and Be in the Financial Front Seat on July 25. See below for workshop details. Both workshops are approximately one hour, and there will be time for questions at the end of each. All you need to do is log in from your desktop and listen to the audio portion from your phone. Don’t miss this opportunity!

Invest Confidently for Your Future
Tuesday, July 24, 11:00 a.m. Central Time*
The skills you’ll gain from this workshop will help you to:

  • Define your savings goals
  • Build an investment plan to help you optimize your savings
  • Understand the importance of continually managing your plan

Register here.

Be in the Financial Front Seat -- making financial health a priority for women
Wednesday, July 25, 11:00 a.m. Central Time*
Presented at this workshop is:

  • Why it's particularly important for women to make financial wellness a priority
  • What it means to be in the financial front seat, including:
    • Knowing what you own, and what you owe
    • Having a clear idea of your financial goals
    • The importance of an annual financial review

Register here.

*Please note that online registration provides the workshop times in Eastern Time. The times listed above are Central Time.

Source: UW System Human Resources

College Savings Made Simple

Saving for your child’s post-high school education may seem daunting, but with Edvest, Wisconsin’s 529 College Savings Plan, you can start making small contributions today that will benefit them in the future. Anyone – parents, grandparents, extended family members and friends – can set up an account for anyone else. An account can also be used to save for one’s own continuing education.

Edvest makes saving easy by offering low fees, a low minimum contribution of $15 per pay period, and tax deductions for Wisconsin residents (limitations apply). You may have contributions to Edvest allocated from your paycheck. Payroll deduction is not available.

The best part is the benefit to your child(ren), who can use these funds at universities, colleges, professional schools, technical colleges, and graduate programs across the country and even at some institutions abroad. Funds can cover tuition, books, room and board, computers, tablets, and many other expenses.

For more information and to open an account, visit the Edvest website.

Source: UW Service Center

Faculty, Academic Staff and Limited Appointees: Option to Bank Vacation in an Annual Leave Reserve Account

Faculty, Academic Staff and Limited Appointees (FA/AS/LI) with a 12-month appointment are eligible to bank vacation into an Annual Leave Reserve Account (ALRA) after they have completed 10 fiscal years of employment. The ALRA account may also be referred to as Banked Leave account.

Example:

  • Employee completes 10 fiscal years in May, 2018.
  • July 1, 2018 (beginning of 11th fiscal year) employee is eligible to accrue vacation to be banked.
  • July 1, 2019 (beginning of 12th fiscal year) employee is offered the option of banking up to 40 hours of vacation or vacation carryover as of 6/30/18.

Note: Employee is eligible to bank up to 80 hours per year of vacation in ALRA after completing 25 years of employment.

How is Vacation Allocated?

FA/AS/LI vacation is allocated on a fiscal year basis. Unused vacation can be carried over into the following fiscal year, but must be used by the end of that fiscal year or it will be lost.

Your July 2018 Leave Report

Your July Leave Report will indicate how many hours of unused vacation you are eligible to bank into ALRA. You are allowed to bank any unused vacation or vacation carryover as of June 30, 2018 (up to the allowable hours). If your institution uses Self-Service, you may be able to convert hours into your ALRA account via Self-Service with your July leave reporting. Check with your Payroll Coordinator to see if you may use the Self-Service option.

If you meet the Eligibility Requirements for ALRA:

  • You may bank vacation in an ALRA account to use at a future date (banked hours do not expire). You may accumulate up to 40 hours per fiscal year in your ALRA account after completing 10 fiscal years of employment and up to 80 hours after completing 25 fiscal years of employment. There is no limit to the total number of hours (balance) in your ALRA account.
  • With your supervisor\'s approval, you may use ALRA at any time. ALRA can be used in any circumstance in which you are allowed to use paid leave.
  • If you terminate employment, any unused ALRA will be paid to you at your current wage rate as a lump sum payment.
  • Banking Schedule (the amount of leave that can be banked is prorated if your appointment is part-time)
    • You are eligible to bank up to 40 hours of vacation into ALRA per year after completing 10 fiscal years of employment. Option to bank is the fiscal year following eligibility. (See example above)
    • You are eligible to bank up to 80 hours of vacation into ALRA per year after completing 25 fiscal years of employment. Option to bank is the fiscal year following eligibility. (See example above)
    • If you elect to bank hours to ALRA, the vacation hours you want to bank will first come from any remaining vacation carryover you had as of June 30, 2018. If you allocated more unused vacation to ALRA than you had as vacation carryover, the additional hours to be banked will come from your vacation balance as of June 30.

If you have questions, please contact your Payroll Coordinator.

Source: UW Service Center

ALEX: Your Personalized Benefits Counselor

Are you aware that you have access to ALEX, your personalized benefits counselor all year round?

ALEX is an interactive benefits decision support tool that will help you understand the benefit plans and options that are offered to you and your family. Whether you’re a new or long term employee, ALEX is available to you at anytime to learn more about the benefits that are offered or that you have selected. Even if you don’t have a current enrollment opportunity, ALEX can be a helpful tool.

ALEX has been enhanced since the initial implementation to include all benefit plans (other than just the plans that the Annual Benefits Enrollment (ABE) period focuses on). These additional plans include: life insurance, Income Continuation Insurance (ICI), the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS), the Tax-Sheltered Annuity (TSA) and Wisconsin Deferred Compensation (WDC).

ALEX currently reflects the 2018 benefit plans and premium amounts; however, will be updated at the end of September 2018 to reflect the benefit plan changes (if applicable) for 2019.

The 2019 Annual Benefits Enrollment (ABE) period will be held October 1, 2018 – October 26, 2018.

We hope that you will make it a habit to visit ALEX with your basic benefit questions!

Source: UW System Human Resources

Saving 1% More

It is recommended Americans save 15% of their annual income for retirement – are you?

If you are, great!

If you’re not, 15% probably seems a little intimidating, but don’t worry, there are easy ways you can begin increasing how much you save for retirement without breaking the bank. Consider increasing your UW Tax-Sheltered Annuity (TSA) 403(b) contribution by 1%. With this increase you may hardly notice a change in your take-home pay, BUT it could translate to tens of thousands of dollars to use in retirement (depending on future market values).

Your Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) benefit is a great tool in saving for retirement, but a UW TSA account can also help.

If you already have a UW TSA account and want to see how you are doing in saving for retirement, sign up for an individual counseling session with your provider. You can do so by visiting Counseling Sessions under the Education section of the UW TSA website.

If you do not have an account, there is no time like the present to sign up! Visit the UW Tax-Sheltered Annuity (TSA) 403(b) website for information on how to enroll.

Source: UW System Human Resources

Summer Prepay Deductions: Continuing Your Insurance Coverage During the Summer Months

What are Summer Prepay Deductions?

If you are a 9-month employee who will be returning to UW employment in the fall of 2018, or a 12-month employee who has a contract that does not include work for one or more summer months, then you had additional insurance premiums deducted from your March 30, May 1 and/or June 1 paychecks to continue your insurance coverage through the summer months. These additional insurance premiums, taken along with your regular monthly insurance deductions, are referred to as ‘summer prepay deductions.’

You must be expected to return for the fall semester or must continue employment in a summer service/summer session appointment to have benefits coverage continue during the summer contract break.

If you did not have prepayments taken and are returning in the fall, contact your human resources office immediately. If your insurance premiums are not collected through the summer prepay deduction process, you must be set up in benefit billing by your human resource office (benefit administrator) in order for a bill to be generated for you.

Once your bill is generated, you must remit timely premium payments to continue your insurance coverage. If you do not take the steps to set up benefit billing, a bill will not be generated. If you do not pay for your insurance, it will be cancelled due to non-payment.

Verifying Your Summer Prepay Deductions

Check your spring earnings statements to verify if you had summer prepay deductions taken from your paychecks. Summer prepay deductions appear as a lump sum with all pre-tax deductions added together and identified as ‘PREBTX’ and all post-tax deductions added together under ‘PREATX.’ PREBTX stands for before tax or pre-tax and ‘PREATX’ stands for after tax or post-tax.

In the fall, your regular insurance premium deductions will resume as payroll deductions starting with your October 1 paycheck.

What Happens if You Have a ‘Status Change’ During the Summer?

Are you getting married this summer, adopting a baby, terminating employment? If you anticipate a status change during the summer, contact your human resources office immediately about the impact to your insurance benefits.

For example, if you are getting married and need to change from single to family health insurance coverage, you should complete a new health insurance application within 30 days of the date of your marriage. Your new spouse (and family) will be covered as of the date of the marriage. The new rate will be deducted from your prepayments according to the new level of coverage, and you may have to pay an additional portion of the premium if the coverage increases.

If your anticipated fall 2018 employment status changes, refunds may be issued for premiums paid beyond your coverage end date. Your coverage will end at the end of the month in which your employment terminates.

If you will be terminating employment, and will not return in the fall, contact your human resources office immediately to determine when your insurance coverage will end.

Questions

If you have questions, contact your human resources office.

Source: UW Service Center

Tax Law Changes for Parking Fees, Vanpool, and Bus Passes

Due to tax liability implications of the Tax Cuts and Job Act passed by the Federal Government effective January 1, 2018, the UW System will need to change pre-tax payroll deductions for parking, vanpool, and bus passes. Starting with payrolls dated on or after June 1, 2018, these fees will be deducted on a post-tax basis for UW System employees.

  • Employees paid monthly, will see the post-tax deductions made on the June 1 paycheck (for the pay period of May 1 – May 31)
  • Employees paid biweekly, will see the post-tax deductions on the June 7 paycheck (for the pay period of May 13 – May 26).

Because of the federal tax law changes, UW employees will not be able to create Parking and Transit accounts, as administered by TASC. If you have an existing Parking and Transit account, funds cannot be added for payrolls dated on or after June 1, 2018. Any funds withheld prior to June 1 are still available to be used for parking and transit purposes until exhausted, or until you become ineligible for the plan(s).

The changes to the Parking & Transit accounts administered by TASC do not affect any other plans administered by TASC (i.e. Flexible Spending accounts and Health Savings accounts).

If you have additional questions, please contact your human resources office.

Source: UW Service Center

WRS News Online, May 2018

External link: http://etf.wi.gov/news/WRS_news_04262018/WRS_News_04262018.asp

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