Keep Your Beneficiary Designations Up-to-Date

What is a beneficiary?

A beneficiary is someone you designate to receive insurance benefits that are payable upon your death. Naming beneficiaries ensures that your assets are distributed according to your wishes.

Keep your beneficiary designations up-to-date

You may change your beneficiary designations at any time. It is important to review your beneficiary designations regularly, especially when you have experienced a life event; birth or adoption of a child, marriage, divorce, etc.

Your assets are distributed according to the beneficiary designations that you have on file at the time of your death. If you are unsure of your current beneficiary designation for any of your current insurance plans, complete a new beneficiary designation form to ensure that your designations are current.

How do I know what benefits I have?

To make sure that you review and update the beneficiaries for all of your insurance plans, confirm your current plan enrollments. Log in to the MyUW portal for UW System institutions or for UW-Madison. Go to the Benefit Information module, choose the View Benefits Summary Detail tab at the bottom of the page to see your current benefit enrollments. Contact your human resources office to confirm your coverage.

Beneficiary designation forms

To change a beneficiary designation, complete a beneficiary form for each plan in which you are enrolled. Keep a copy of each completed beneficiary form for your records. Return completed forms to the address on the form, not to your human resources office.

The plans that have a beneficiary designation form are listed below. Beneficiary Designation forms are also available on the UW System Employee Benefits website.

Source: UW System Human Resources

Review/Update Your Personal Information Before the Semester Ends

As the academic year winds down, many UW employees will leave for summer break, permanently leave UW employment, or begin summer session/summer service duties. As you finish the year, you are encouraged to review your Personal Information in the MyUW portal for UW System institutions or UW-Madison and make changes as needed.

Your personal information includes your home and office addresses, phone numbers, legal and preferred name, and other information such as disability and veteran status. It is especially important to update your address information if you will be moving over the summer. All employees are also strongly encouraged to update their emergency contact information if needed.

Why is This Important?

It is important to have your current personal information on file for many reasons:

  • Your employer may need to contact you.
  • Your home address will be used at the end of the calendar year for Form W-2 Wage and Tax Statement distribution.
  • Having current information on file ensures that you will receive important information concerning your benefits, paychecks, or UW employment.
  • Employees currently enrolled in benefits plans should note that changes to your name and/or address may need to be reported directly to the benefit plan company. More information regarding these reporting requirements is available here:


If you have questions, review the instructions on how to update your personal information:, or contact your human resources office.

Source: UW Service Center

WRS Annual Statement of Benefits Now Available in the MyUW Portal

If you were covered by the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) in 2017, your WRS Annual Statement of Benefits is now available in the MyUW portal for UW System institutions or for UW-Madison.

Log in to the portal. Go to the Benefit Information module and click on the Statements tab. Choose “2017 ETF Annual Statement of Benefits (WRS) Issued 2018” to view or print your statement. The WRS Annual Statement of Benefits provides you with information about your WRS account as of January 1, 2018.

Understanding Your Statement

Your WRS Annual Statement of Benefits includes your 2017 earnings and service, years of creditable service as of January 1, 2018, retirement benefit projections, separation benefit, death benefit, and primary beneficiary designation(s) for your WRS account.

The Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) has many resources available to assist you in understanding your Statement of Benefits. Review and verify each section of your statement using these resources as a guide.

May 3, 2018, 6:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
May 7, 2018, 11:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
May 18, 2018, 11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
May 22, 2018, 12:30 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Reviewing Your Beneficiaries

It is important to review your WRS account primary beneficiary(ies) on your statement. If you do not have beneficiaries listed on your statement, it may be that you do not have a beneficiary designation on file, or your designation was made before 1998 (beneficiaries added before 1998 are not listed on your statement). It is suggested that if you do not have a beneficiary designation listed on your statement that you complete a Beneficiary Designation Form.

Death benefits are always paid according to the most recent valid beneficiary designation form on file with ETF prior to an individual’s death. Your beneficiary information does not automatically change when a significant life event occurs, such as a divorce or a marriage. You may add, change or remove beneficiaries by completing a Beneficiary Designation form (ET-2320) or Beneficiary Designation-Alternate form (ET-2321). Mail your completed beneficiary designation directly to ETF at the address listed at the top of the form.


If you have questions about your statement, contact your human resources office.

Source: UW Service Center

Long-Term Care Insurance Available to UW Employees

Long-Term Care Insurance covers services that are typically not covered by health insurance, but are vital for a patient, such as assistance with activities of daily living (walking, eating, bathing, etc.). This type of insurance provides financial protection from the rising costs of long-term care. Coverage for care in non-institutional settings such as assisted living, adult day care, and in-home care is also available.

Review Long-Term Care Insurance for plan eligibility and enrollment information.

Each year, the Long-Term Care Insurance plan, authorized by the Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF), may distribute one piece of advertisement to employees. The notice from HealthChoice, the Long-Term Care Insurance vendor, can be accessed by clicking here.

For questions contact HealthChoice at 1-800-833-5823 or Visit to request an information packet.

Source: UW System Human Resources

Duplicate Tax Statements

Duplicate tax statements (Form W-2, 1095-C, 1042-S, etc.) are available on the MyUW portal. Log into the MyUW portal for UW System institutions or for UW-Madison. Launch the Payroll Information module and choose the Tax Statements tab. Statements for 2014 through 2017 are available.

The tax statements available on the portal do not include social security numbers. If you require a tax statement that displays your social security number, or you need a statement from a year prior to 2014, you may request a duplicate tax statement by completing a Duplicate Tax Statement Request.

The 2017 statements are processed at no charge. Processing fees for years prior to 2017 are:

  • Requests for duplicates from the previous 2 - 5 years are $5.00 per statement.
  • Requests for duplicates from the previous 6 or more years are $10.00 per statement.

Submit a check, cashier’s check or money order payable to the University of Wisconsin for the correct dollar amount. Duplicates will not be processed or issued without payment. Mail your request and check to: UW Service Center, 660 W. Washington, Suite 201, Madison WI 53703. Please allow 10 days for processing.

Source: UW Service Center

Distribution of 1042-S Forms for Foreign Nationals

The 1042-S Forms (Foreign Person's U.S. Source Income Subject to Withholding) are available electronically via to employees who elected electronic distribution of their 1042-S Form through GLACIER (the online system used to handle data collection for UW foreign nationals). 1042-S Forms were mailed in early March via U.S mail to employees who elected hard copy distribution.

All 1042-S Forms (distributed electronically via Glacier or via U.S. mail) are also available on the MyUW portal. To view your statement, log into the MyUW portal for UW System institutions or for UW-Madison. Launch the Payroll Information module and choose the Tax Statements tab.

The deadline for filing state and federal income tax returns is Tuesday, April 17, 2018.

Source: UW Service Center

State Group Life Insurance Annual Premium Update

Each year, State Group Life Insurance premiums are updated on April 1. For University Staff (paid bi-weekly), the premium update will be reflected on the March 29, 2018 paycheck. For Faculty/Academic Staff/Limited Appointees (paid monthly), the premium update will be reflected on the March 30, 2018 paycheck.

Current enrollees in the State Group Life insurance program can review their updated premiums at this link: State Group Life Premium Notice. Additionally, current enrollees in the program were sent an email with a link to this customized web page.

State Group Life insurance coverage level and premiums are based on a participant\'s age as of April 1 each year, and their highest calendar year of Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) earnings.

For a full list of premiums and more information about the plan, visit the State Group Insurance plan page. If you have questions, contact your human resources office.

Source: UW Service Center

Form 1095-C Available Online

IRS Tax Form 1095-C is available online in the MyUW portal. Log into the portal for UW System institutions or for UW-Madison. The statement is located in the Payroll Information module under the Tax Statements tab. Paper copies of the 1095-C were mailed to employees via U.S. mail in February 2018 using the same address as the W-2 Form distribution.

The UW System is providing Form 1095-C to all employees who were full-time, as defined by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), for all or some months of 2017. The information on this form will be used by the IRS to determine whether individuals and/or employers are subject to penalties under the ACA’s individual and employer mandates. Employees should retain Form 1095-C with their tax records.

In addition to Form 1095-C, some employees will receive a Form 1095-B from their insurance carrier. Form 1095-B reflects health insurance coverage provided to an employee or their family member(s) during the previous calendar year. Form 1095-B also documents employee compliance with the ACA Individual Mandate. Employees should retain Form 1095-B with their tax records.

For more information regarding Form 1095-C, Form 1095-B and the ACA, visit the UW System Human Resources website: Affordable Care Act (ACA). If you have questions regarding your Form 1095-C, contact the UW System Service Center at or (855) 489-7877 or (608) 262-0600.

If you have any questions regarding Form 1095-B, contact your health insurance carrier that provided the form.

Source: UW Service Center

Summer Prepay Insurance Premium Deduction Schedule for 2018

Summer prepay insurance premiums will be deducted from March 30, May 1, and/or June 1 paychecks for the following employee groups:

  • Academic (9-month) employee who will be returning to UW employment in the fall of 2018.
  • Academic (9-month) employee with a summer service/summer session appointment.

Why are Summer Prepay Insurance Premiums Deducted in the Spring?

The additional summer prepay insurance premium deductions are taken to continue an employee’s insurance coverage through the summer (contract break) months. These additional premium deductions must be taken in the spring, along with regular monthly premium deductions, since insurance premiums cannot be deducted from summer service/summer session earnings.

What if an Employee’s Employment Status Changes?

If an employee’s summer 2018 or fall 2018 employment status changes after they have already had summer prepay deductions, they may receive refunds for the summer prepay deductions. If an employee will be terminating employment, and will not return in the fall, they should contact their human resources office immediately for assistance in determining their employment termination date and the date their insurance coverage will end.

Employees who anticipate that they will experience any other status change; marriage, adoption, divorce, etc., should contact their human resources office immediately so they understand the impacts to their insurance benefits.

What if an Employee does not Have Summer Prepay Insurance Premiums Deducted?

If an employee does not have summer prepay deductions taken in the spring, and then has a summer session/summer service appointment, they will be billed directly for payment of the additional premiums due to provide them with insurance coverage during the summer months. Payment must be made by the billing invoice due date to insure that insurance benefits are not canceled due to non-payment.

2018 Summer Prepay Deduction Schedule

Important: This schedule outlines premium deductions for an employee scheduled to return to fall 2018 UW employment, or who has a summer appointment and is then terminating. Most employees will have deductions taken according to this schedule. Human resources offices can assist employees whose deduction schedule may vary from the schedule below based on appointment, summer employment, fall return date, or termination date.

Paychecks on Which Premiums will be Taken Insurance Premiums to be Taken
March 30, May 1, June 1 Health and other insurance deductions for programs in which you are enrolled.* Regular premium deduction PLUS one summer premium deduction.
May 1  Income Continuation Insurance Regular premium deduction PLUS two summer premium deductions.
June 1  Income Continuation Insurance Regular premium deduction PLUS one summer premium deduction.

*Does not include Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA) deductions. These deductions are calculated based on a 9-month schedule for academic (9-month) employees so no additional premiums are taken for these programs.

*Does not include Tax-Sheltered Annuity (TSA) and Wisconsin Deferred Compensation (WDC) deductions. These deductions are based on an employee’s earnings. Since the employee will not have earnings during the summer months, there are no additional premiums taken for these programs.

*Opt-Out Incentive and Health Savings Account (HSA) employer contribution will continue to be processed during the summer months for these programs.

How Will Summer Prepay Appear on Earnings Statements?

Summer prepay will appear as a lump sum amount on earnings statements. All deductions taken pre-tax (most medical-related premiums and a portion of State Group Life Insurance premiums) will be added together under the name ‘Prebtx’ and all deductions taken post-tax (most life insurance premiums) will be added together under the name ‘Preatx.’ Note: ‘Prebtx’ stands for before tax or pre-tax and ‘Preatx’ stands for after tax or post-tax.

Regular benefit deductions for the month will continue to be listed under the plan name. These deductions are typically taken on a pre-tax basis. If an employee has one extra deduction for each plan, there will be a total listed under Prebtx or Preatx on each earnings statement impacted by the additional deductions.

Important: To verify accuracy, employees should review their earnings statements to ensure that their insurance deductions are accurate for their situation. If insurance premiums are not collected through the summer prepay deductions process, employees will be billed for premiums. In this case, employees must remit timely premium payments to continue their insurance coverage.

For questions, please contact your human resources office.

Source: UW Service Center

UW Tax-Sheltered Annuity Program Offers Savings Options to Employees

The UW Tax-Sheltered Annuity (TSA) 403(b) Program can help you invest for your long-term goals. If you already participate in the program, consider increasing your contributions. If you are not a TSA Program participant, sign up today. Through the TSA Program you can invest a portion of your income for retirement on either a pre-tax basis, an after-tax basis (Roth), or a combination of both.

UW TSA 403(b) Program investment options include a wide array of mutual funds and fixed and variable annuities managed by five providers: Ameriprise, Fidelity, Lincoln, TIAA, T. Rowe Price. For more information, visit the UW Tax-Sheltered Annuity (TSA) 403(b) Program or contact your institution’s human resources office.

Saving early is one of the best things you can do to ensure that you set aside enough to fund a comfortable retirement. Read Save Smart–Save Early! to learn about the advantages of putting time on your side to accomplish your savings goals.

Don’t let the prospect of having to decide how to invest your retirement money scare you off. Just participating is more important than selecting the perfect investments. If you need help understanding the investment options available in the program contact the provider(s) you choose to contribute to.

Start Small, Think Big. Remember, when you are getting started, no contribution is too small. Even if you only set aside one percent of your salary in the UW TSA 403(b) Plan, that’s an important start. You can start with only $8 per pay period if you’re paid bi-weekly or $20 per month if you are paid monthly. Over time, your contributions will add up. Even small amounts of savings can help you in the future. Save automatically in the UW TSA 403(b) Program.

Source: UW System Human Resources

Employee Assistance Program Vendor Change Effective March 1, 2018

The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) vendor for many of the UW System institutions will change effective March 1, 2018 from Empathia (LifeMatters) to FEI.

Employees affected by this transition will not see a change in the Employee Assistance Program services offered to them. Employees who are currently participating in a treatment plan through LifeMatters will be contacted directly by LifeMatters regarding a transition plan for their care.

UW System institutions that currently offer Employee Assistance Program services through LifeMatters that will change to FEI March 1, 2018 include: UW-Colleges and Extension, UW-Eau Claire, UW-Milwaukee, UW-Oshkosh, UW-Parkside, UW-Platteville, UW- River Falls, UW-Stevens Point, UW-Stout and UW System Administration. Beginning March 1, 2018, if you are an employee of one of these institutions, you, or a member of your household, may contact FEI for services by calling (866) 274-4723 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week).

Additional access to FEI is available through their website. Visit (username: SOWI) to obtain educational information, useful links, help locating child and elder care providers, and self-assessment tests.

UW Institutions that currently use an in-house administrator or vendor other than LifeMatters are not affected by the March 1 vendor change. These institutions include: UW-Green Bay, UW-La Crosse, UW-Madison, UW-Superior and UW-Whitewater.

The Employee Assistance Program provides UW employees and members of their household with free and confidential resources to address personal and work-related issues.

Some of the concerns that can be addressed by the program include emotional issues, interpersonal relationships, substance abuse, grief and loss, elder and dependent care, adoption, legal and financial issues, separation or divorce, and managing expenses and debt.

Visit the UW System Employee Benefits website for more information about the Employee Assistance Program. If you have questions, contact your human resources office.

Source: UW System Human Resources

2017 Tax Reform Bill Affects Employee Federal Tax Withholding

As a result of the 2017 Federal Tax Reform bill passed in late December 2017, most employees will see a change in their federal income tax withholding on their paychecks beginning in early 2018.

The change was implemented for both University staff (paid bi-weekly) and for Faculty/Academic Staff/Limited Appointees (paid monthly) on the February 1, 2018 paycheck.

To see your federal withholding amount, log into the MyUW portal for UW System institutions or for UW-Madison. Launch the Payroll Information module and click on the Earnings Statements tab. Find the Taxes section of your earnings statement where Fed Withholding will be listed. You may choose to review several recent earnings statements to compare your federal withholding, and see how your amount has changed.

If you would like more information, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has prepared an IRS Withholding Tables Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) to help employees understand how the new federal tax withholding may affect their paychecks.
If you have questions, contact your human resources office.

Source: UW Service Center

W-2 (Wage and Tax Statements) Now Available Online; to be Mailed by January 31, 2018

W-2 Now Available Online; to be Mailed by January 31.
Additional Tax Forms to be Distributed in February and March

The 2017 W-2 Wage and Tax Statements are now available online in the MyUW portal. Log into the portal for UW System institutions or for UW-Madison. Launch the Payroll Information module and click on the Tax Statements tab. Paper copies of the W-2 will be mailed via U.S. mail by January 31, 2018.

A printed W-2 from the portal is a valid document for tax filing. However, employees filing a W-2 printed from the portal, must write their Social Security or Individual Tax Payer Identification number in the "a" field at the top of each Form W-2 section. Social Security and Tax Payer Identification numbers were removed from the online W-2 statements to increase the security of sensitive online information.

Some employees will also receive additional tax forms from the University (Examples: 1095-C, 1042-S, Fellowship/Scholarship Letter).

  • The 1095-C Form will be mailed via U.S. mail to employees in early February and available on the portal by mid-February. All UW employees who were full-time for some or all months of 2017 will have a 1095-C to document that health insurance coverage was offered to them. Employees will need the 1095-C as part of their documentation requirement when filing 2017 taxes.
  • The 1042-S Forms will be available by March 1, 2018 in the Glacier Online Tax Compliance System for those who chose the option of electronic delivery; others will have them mailed to their home address. The 1042-S Forms will be posted on the portal after March 17. 
  • The Fellowship/Scholarship Letter will be mailed to the employee\'s home address.

Filing Your Taxes

Employees should use their W-2 Form, not their final 2017 earnings statement, to file taxes. Some employees have had adjustments made to their 2017 taxable earnings since the last 2017 payroll was paid. These employees may have an additional earnings statement generated reflecting these adjustments. These adjustments will already be reflected on the W-2 Form that the employee receives.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will begin accepting returns on January 29, 2018 for the 2017 tax filing season. Employees may want to consider filing their return as soon as all necessary tax forms are received to minimize the chance of a fraudulent return being processed using their Social Security number, or Individual Tax Payer Identification number. More information is available on the IRS website.

Additional Resources: W-2 ExplanationW-2 Overview and Earnings Statement Comparison

Source: UW Service Center

WRS News Online, January 2018

External link:

ALEX: Your Personalized Benefits Counselor

The UW System introduced a new interactive benefits decision tool, called ALEX, for the recent Annual Benefits Enrollment (ABE) period. ABE is over for 2018 elections but ALEX is here to stay!

ALEX is a personalized benefits counselor that can help you understand the benefits plans and options that are offered to you and your family. Whether you’re a new or longtime employee, ALEX is available to anyone 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 reflects the 2018 benefits and premium amounts. ALEX has been enhanced to include modules about the life insurance plans, Income Continuation Insurance, the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS), as well as the supplemental retirement plans [Tax-Sheltered Annuity (TSA) and Wisconsin Deferred Compensation (WDC). Frequently Asked Questions have been added to the bottom of the ALEX landing page. The FAQs are based on employee questions and feedback.

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

Source: UW System Human Resources

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