Domestic Partnership Impacts - 2017-19 State Budget Bill Signed

On September 21, 2017, Governor Walker signed the 2017-2019 State Budget Bill (2017 Wisconsin Act 59). The budget bill contains a provision that eliminates the Chapter 40 domestic partnership program which will impact employees who are in a domestic partnership.

The Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) has completed its initial review of the budget bill to identify all implications for the Wisconsin Retirement System and ETF-administered benefit programs (including health insurance, life insurance, dental insurance, vision insurance and flexible spending accounts). An ETF summary of the budget bill is available below.

Targeted communications will be mailed by ETF to employees who currently cover a domestic partner and/or dependent step-children to inform them of the impacts of the budget bill and any action they may need to take. Information about continuation of coverage (for up to 36-months) will be sent to affected domestic partner and dependent step-children in late December 2017. The notices will be sent by the UW Service Center.

Resource: ETF Summary of 2017 Wisconsin Act 59

Source: UW System Human Resources

Health Plan Changes for 2018

The following health plan changes to the 2018 State Group Health Insurance program were approved by the Group Insurance Board on August 30, 2017.

The following health plans have elected not to participate in the program in 2018:

  • Anthem Blue Preferred Northeast
  • Arise Health Plan
  • Health Tradition Health Plan
  • Humana Eastern and Western
  • UnitedHealthcare of Wisconsin

If you are currently enrolled in one of the plans listed, you will be required to select a new health plan during the Annual Benefits Enrollment (ABE) period, October 2-27, 2017. In order to assist you in choosing a new health plan for 2018, in the Resources section below a map with health plans by county is available.

Other Plan Changes

Network Health Northeast and Network Health Southeast will combine into Network Health to offer one coverage area. Participants will be auto-enrolled in the new combined plan, Network Health, unless they select a different plan during ABE.

Gundersen Health Plan, Physicians Plus and Unity Health Insurance will be offered under the name \"Quartz\". Participants of these plans will be auto-enrolled in either Quartz-Community or Quartz-UW Health and can select a different plan during ABE. You will see Quartz-Community or Quartz-UW listed as your health plan in Self Service (eBenefits) during ABE.

WEA Trust will replace WPS as the new administrator of the Access Plan and the State Maintenance Plan (SMP) for 2018.

SMP will only be available in Florence county. SMP is not available in Bayfield, Buffalo, Forest, Iron, Marquette, Menominee and Pepin counties.

If you are currently enrolled in the SMP, and you live OUTSIDE of Florence county, you must re-enroll in the SMP or select a new health plan during ABE. If you take no action during ABE, you will not have coverage as of 1/1/2018. If you are currently enrolled in the SMP, and you live IN Florence county, you will continue to be enrolled in this plan unless you select a new health plan.

Health Plans Being Offered in 2018

The Group Insurance Board approved the following health plan carriers to be available in 2018.

Health Plan and High Deductible Health Plan:

  • Dean Health Insurance and Dean Health Insurance-Prevea360
  • Group Health Cooperative of Eau Claire
  • Group Health Cooperative of South Central Wisconsin
  • HealthPartners Health Plan
  • Medical Associates Health Plans
  • MercyCare Health Plans
  • Network Health
  • Security Health Plan – Central and Valley
  • Quartz – Community and UW Health (formerly Gundersen, Physicians Plus and Unity)
  • WEA Trust – East, Northwest Chippewa Valley and Mayo Clinic Health System

Access Plan, Access High Deductible Health Plan and State Maintenance Plan (SMP):

  • WEA Trust

Resources

Click here for a health plan map to see which health plans are available in your county for 2018.

It is important to review the provider directory of the health plan you select to ensure that your preferred providers are covered. Click here for a list of health plan provider directories.

Questions

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

Source: UW System Human Resources

Individual and Family Life Insurance Enrollees can Increase Coverage, October 2-27, 2017

If you are a currently enrolled in the Individual and Family Life Insurance plan as of October 1, 2017, you may increase your coverage during the Annual Increase Option (AIO) period from October 3 – 27, 2017. Coverage increases will be effective January 1, 2018 with new premiums deducted from December earnings.

Making the Decision to Increase Your Coverage

To review your current coverage, and your 2018 premiums if you decide to increase your coverage, use the personalized Individual and Family Annual Increase calculator: https://uwservice.wisconsin.edu/indfam-increase-calculator/

You may increase your current coverage during the AIO period by the following amounts:

  • Employee coverage: $5,000; $10,000; $15,000 or $20,000
  • Spouse/domestic partner coverage: $5,000 or $10,000
  • Child(ren) coverage: $2,500

As you consider increasing your coverage, please note the 2018 maximum coverage levels:

  • Employee coverage: $300,000
  • Spouse/domestic partner coverage: $150,000
  • Child(ren) coverage: $25,000

Important Reminder: Spouse/domestic partner or child(ren) life insurance coverage may not exceed your total (employee amount) coverage.

Application Information and Deadline

To increase your coverage during the AIO period, submit your election via Self Service (eBenefits). Log into the MyUW portal for UW System institutions or for UW-Madison. Go to the ‘Benefit Information’ module and click on the ‘Open Enrollment’ link. You will receive a Confirmation Statement via email after you have submitted your election.

All elections to increase coverage must be submitted online or received by your human resources office by 4:30 p.m. on October 27, 2017. If you mail your Annual Increase Option form, it must be postmarked by October 27, 2017. For more information: Individual and Family Group Life insurance.

Decreasing or Canceling Coverage

If you decide to decrease or cancel your coverage, you must complete the Individual and Family Group Term Life Insurance application. You may decrease or cancel coverage any time during the year. Coverage decreases or cancellations are effective the first of the month following the receipt of the application.

Questions?

Visit the Annual Benefits Enrollment website for more information about the Individual and Family Life Insurance plan and other benefits enrollment opportunities available this year. If you have questions, please contact your human resources office.

Source: UW System Human Resources

Annual Benefits Enrollment Period: October 2 - 27, 2017

The Annual Benefits Enrollment (ABE) period, October 2 - 27, is the only annual opportunity you have to enroll in or make changes to most of your benefits unless you have an eligible life event (family status or employment change) during the year. Changes made during ABE are effective January 1, 2018.

There are changes to benefits for 2018 that may require your action. In addition, certain benefits you may be enrolled in require action each year. Continue reading for more information.

Prepare

  • Review your current benefits and visit the Annual Benefits Enrollment website for 2018 benefits changes. Note: Some State Group Health Insurance plans will no longer be available in 2018. Please review the information on the ABE website carefully to determine if you need to take action.
  • Confirm that the doctors, clinics, hospitals and dentists you currently use will still be available in 2018 for the plan you select. You may also view a list of providers here
  • Some plans require that you enroll each year to continue your participation. If you are participating in one of these plans, you must enroll each year:
    • Flexible Spending Account (FSA) including Health Care FSA, Limited Purpose FSA, Dependent Day Care FSA
    • Health Savings Account (HSA) requires that you enroll each year you are enrolled in a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP)
    • State Group Health Insurance Opt-Out Incentive Plan (new this year, you can enroll through Self Service in this plan)
  • New this year, meet ALEX! ALEX is the UW System’s new online personalized benefits counselor who can walk you through your ABE benefits options. Through a series of easy, intuitive questions, ALEX will help you choose the benefits that best fit your needs based on your answers. To meet ALEX and get started click here.
  • Attend a benefits fair to meet with health plan representatives and other benefits vendors. For a list of fairs throughout the UW System: UW System Benefits Fairs

Decide

You may be eligible to enroll in, change, increase, decrease or cancel coverage for the plans listed below. For some plans you can add or delete dependents. Visit the Annual Benefits Enrollment website for opportunities and premiums for each plan.

Remember, this year you don’t have to navigate all of these benefits options alone. Let ALEX, the new online personalized benefits counselor, walk you through your options. It’s easy, educational, and it’s fun! To meet ALEX and get started click here.

  • State Group Health (Graduate Assistants and Short-Term Academic Staff are not eligible for the High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) or the Health Insurance Opt-Out Incentive Plan)
  • Dental Wisconsin Dental Insurance
  • EPIC Benefits + (includes dental, Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D), hospital/surgical benefits and optional vision insurance)
  • VSP Vision Insurance 
  • Individual & Family Life Insurance
  • Flexible Spending Account (FSA) including Health Care FSA, Limited Purpose FSA, Dependent Day Care FSA and Parking/Transit Accounts (University Staff Temporary Employees, Fellows, Scholars, Graduate Interns/ Trainees, or Post-Doctoral Fellows/ Trainees are not eligible to participate in Health Care, Limited Purpose and Dependent Day Care FSAs)
  • Health Savings Account (HSA) (Graduate/Short-Term Academic Staff benefits are not eligible for the HSA)

Act

How to Make Elections
Use Self Service (eBenefits) to make your elections online. Log into the MyUW portal for UW System institutions or for UW-Madison. Go to the ‘Benefit Information’ module and click on the ‘Enroll’ link. You will receive a Confirmation Statement via email 24-48 hours after you have submitted your elections.

A Parking/Transit Account is the one exception that requires a paper application. To participate, you must complete, print and sign an application and submit it to your human resources office by 4:30 p.m., Friday, October 27, 2017. Mailed applications must be postmarked by October 27, 2017.

Don’t miss your chance to enroll in or make changes to your benefits for 2018! All benefit elections must be submitted by 4:30 p.m., Friday, October 27, 2017. If you have questions, contact your human resources office.

Source: UW System Human Resources

Meet ALEX: Your Personalized Benefits Counselor

The UW System is excited to introduce ALEX, a new interactive benefits decision tool. ALEX is a personalized benefits counselor and can help you understand the benefits options that may be best for you and your family.

The Annual Benefits Enrollment (ABE) period, October 2 - 27, 2017, is a great time for you to meet ALEX! Before you make your benefits elections during ABE, we strongly encourage you to let ALEX walk you through your options. ALEX is engaging and efficient and will give you peace of mind as you make your benefits elections.

To meet ALEX and get started click here.

Source: UW System Human Resources

How are UW Employee Health Insurance Benefits and Costs Established Each Year?

Good question! For many employees, health insurance benefits are the most important fringe benefit offered by the UW System. Every year, we see changes to the health insurance program even if the only change is your monthly premium contribution. Then in the fall, during the Annual Benefits Enrollment (ABE) period, you have the opportunity to enroll in the health insurance program, make changes to your coverage level or change health insurance carriers. So let’s learn about the process of establishing those annual health plan options and costs.

What is the State Group Health Insurance Program?
The State Group Health Insurance program is an employer-sponsored program offering group health insurance to employees of state agencies, UW System, UW Hospital and Clinics Authority and participating local government employers.

The UW System does not determine the benefits, premiums, employee premium contributions or which health plans are offered. Changes for 2018 are expected to be approved by the Group Insurance Board (GIB) on August 30, 2017.

Who decides how much I have to pay for health insurance premium contributions?
The health plans submit premium bids to the Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) each July for the following year. The bids and required claims data is examined by the Group Insurance Board’s (GIB) actuaries and negotiations are conducted by ETF. The GIB must approve the premium rates for each health plan.

While most employees do not pay the full premium cost, the full premium cost does impact the amount of the employee monthly premium contribution. Each year, the monthly amount that employees are required to pay for health insurance is established by the state Division of Personnel Management (DPM). DPM determines the employee contribution towards premium based on the provisions in Wis. Stat. § 40.05 (4) (ag) and (ah). For most employees, the monthly premium contribution may not exceed 12 percent of the average premium cost of plans offered in each premium tier.

What are premium tiers?
ETF assigns each health plan to one of three premium tiers based on the relative efficiency with which a plan is able to provide the benefits and the quality of care that is required by the GIB. Plans are given extra credit in the tier assignment process if they scored well on measures of quality, patient safety, and customer satisfaction.

For most full-time employees, your monthly health insurance premium contributions are based upon the Tier in which your health plan is placed. A plan’s Tier may change from year to year but there will always be at least one Tier 1 plan offered in your area.

Who administers the State Group Health Insurance Program?
The Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) and the Group Insurance Board (GIB) have statutory authority for program administration and oversight [Wis Stat § 15.165 (2) and 40.03(6)]. All health plans follow GIB guidelines for eligibility and program requirements. The health plans (except the Access Plan and Access HDHP) all offer the same benefit package called Uniform Benefits (as well as the option of electing Uniform Dental coverage for a small additional cost) and compete in an annual competitive premium rates bid process.

Who decides what’s covered under the State Group Health Insurance Program?
The GIB generally determines the coverage offered by the health plans, however, the program must also comply with applicable state and federal laws. The GIB has a fiduciary responsibility to administer the program in accordance with state statute. The GIB decisions are based on ETF recommendations, GIB actuaries and other guidance.

Who decides which health insurance carriers are offered?
In today’s environment, the health plan decides if they want to participate in the State Group Health Insurance program and determines the counties in which they will offer plan providers.
The health plans must meet strict contractual requirements and their participation is authorized annually by the GIB if they meet the required criteria. If a health plan leaves the program, its members must select a new health plan during ABE.

Who is on the Group Insurance Board (GIB)?
The GIB is an eleven-member board that meet specified membership requirements. The GIB sets policy and oversees administration of the group health, life insurance and Income Continuation Insurance plans for state and UW employees and retirees and the group health and life insurance plans for local employers who choose to offer them. The Board also can provide other insurance plans, if employees pay the entire premium.

For more information about the GIB, please click here.

What is the role of the Legislative Joint Finance Committee (JFC)?
The 2017-2019 executive state budget included a requirement that any contracts for a self-insured health insurance program must be submitted to the JFC for review. The JFC then has a 21-day during which the JFC must decide if they will act to reject or modify the contracts.

The State of Wisconsin currently administers three self-insured benefit programs: pharmacy, Uniform Dental and the state-wide Access Health Plan. The other health plans currently offered are not self-insured (they are “fully-insured”). Because the JFC rejected the contracts for a self-insured health insurance program, all health plans, including the Access Plan, will be fully-insured in 2018. The pharmacy and Uniform Dental will remain self-insured.

Source: UW System Office of Human Resources & Workforce Diversity

UW Employees, Inc. Life Insurance Premium Decrease

Effective October 1, 2017, premium rates for the UW Employees, Inc. Life Insurance plan will decrease by approximately 25%. If you are currently enrolled in UW Employees, Inc., you may want to review the decreased premium rates.

This is also an opportunity to remind all current enrollees to review their current Beneficiary Designation for this life insurance plan. To make changes to your beneficiary designation, complete the Beneficiary Designation and Change Request. Mail the completed form to Minnesota Life Insurance Company, 400 Robert Street North, St. Paul, MN 55101-2098.

If you have questions, contact your human resources office.

Source: UW System Human Resources

WRS News Online, September 2017

External link: http://etf.wi.gov/news/WRS_news_09052017/WRS_News_09052017.asp

Earn Your $150 Well Wisconsin Incentive

Employees and spouses/domestic partners currently enrolled in the State Group Health Insurance Program are eligible for a $150 Well Wisconsin Incentive.  The incentive is administered by the StayWell Company.

Two steps must be completed to qualify and receive the incentive. The StayWell wellness portal provides more information on completing these steps: https://wellwisconsin.staywell.com.

Step 1:    Have a health screening and submit the results to StayWell

Step 2:  Take the StayWell health assessment

Both steps must be completed and submitted to StayWell prior to October 20, 2017 to receive a 2017 incentive payment.  Participants can claim the incentive instantly or have a Visa gift card mailed to their home address.  The incentive is taxable to the health plan subscriber (employee).

For questions or upcoming screening dates, visit https://wellwisconsin.staywell.com, or call the StayWell HelpLine at 800-821-6591.

Don’t miss the October 20, 2017 deadline!

Source: UW Service Center

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