What is Annual Benefits Enrollment?

The Annual Benefits Enrollment (ABE) period is an annual opportunity for eligible employees to enroll in or make changes to select benefit plans for the upcoming year.

This is the only time during the year when you are eligible to make benefit plans changes to most plans unless you have a life event (e.g. family or employment change) that allows you to change your benefits.

Changes made during this period will be effective January 1, 2018.

Important: This website will contain information about benefit opportunities and changes for 2018. For information about current UW System benefits (2017), please visit the Employee Benefits Website.

For a list of benefits fairs across UW System, click here.

This page will be updated as new information is released. Check back frequently for updates!

Introducing ALEX

Your personalized benefits counselor

ALEX explains all your options in plain English, and helps you choose the plans that make the most sense for you and your family.

In an effort to make the Annual Benefits Enrollment period less stressful for current employees, UW System is introducing this new online tool for anyone who wants a better understanding of the comprehensive benefits offered at the UW System.

ALEX will ask you a series of questions to walk you through benefits offerings and suggest appropriate plans based on your answers. It is UW System’s hope that a conversation with ALEX will educate you while helping you make sound, informed decisions about benefits.

ALEX will be available on October 2, 2017. Until then, watch a short video to learn more about him!

 

Changes Allowed During ABE

Benefit Plan Open Enrollment Opportunity? Can I Change the Plan? Can I Add or Remove Dependents?* Can I Cancel Coverage?
State Group Health Yes May change plan design, if eligible

May change health plan

May add or remove Uniform Dental benefits

Yes, however, all dependents who are eligible must be included. Yes; may be eligible to receive $2,000 if opting out of coverage.

(see below)

State Group Health Opt Out You may be eligible to receive up to a $2,000 incentive if you opt out of State Group Health insurance. Eligibility requirements apply. You must opt out every year to receive the Opt-Out Incentive.
Health Savings Account You are required to actively enroll in the HSA each year if you enroll in a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP).

You are responsible for ensuring your eligibility for the HSA.

Dental Wisconsin Yes, but graduated dental benefits will apply May change from Select Plan to PPO Plan, or vice versa Yes Yes
EPIC Benefits+ Yes, but graduated dental benefits will apply May add or remove vision insurance Yes Yes
VSP Vision Yes N/A Yes Yes
Flexible Spending Account This program includes the Health Care, Limited Purpose, Dependent Day Care Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) and Parking/Transit Accounts.

If you choose to participate in the Health Care, Limited Purpose or Dependent Day Care FSA accounts, you must enroll each year.

(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.)

* See the Dependent Eligibility Chart to see who you can cover on your plans.

Changes for 2018

Review the summary of changes to benefit plans for 2018 below. These changes may impact your coverage and action may be required. It is important to understand the changes so you can make informed decisions.

Change to Domestic Partner Coverage

Due to the state budget proposal, it is likely that domestic partners will not be covered in 2018 for the following plans:

  • State Group Health Insurance (including Uniform Dental)
  • Dental Wisconsin
  • EPIC Benefits+
  • VSP
  • State Group Life Insurance
  • Long-Term Care Insurance

State Group Health Insurance

See the 2017 State Group Health plan information for details on current benefits.

IMPORTANT

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.

For 2018, the following changes will be made:

Health Plan Name Changes
  • Unity Health Insurance – Community now Quartz – Community
  • Unity Health Insurance – UW Health now Quartz- UW Health

If you take no action during ABE, you will be automatically be enrolled in the renamed plan listed above.

The following are changes to the Access Plan (nationwide plan):
  • WEA Trust will replace WPS as the new administrator of the Access Plan and Access HDHP.
  • Covered services will align with Uniform Benefits. As a result, current participants will see the following changes in covered services under the Access Plan and Access HDHP in 2018:
    • Removal of coverage for bariatric surgery
    • Addition of coverage for adult hearing aids and adult cochlear implants
    • Additional types of transplants are covered (parathyroid, heart, liver, kidney with pancreas, heart with lung, and lung)
    • Reduction of covered oral surgery procedures from 23 to 11
  • In-network coverage deductible and out-of-pocket limit amounts changing to align with the Health Plan and HDHP plan designs. No change to out-of-network coverage amounts– those will remain the same as in 2017.

Health Opt Out

Enroll in the Health Opt Out plan, using Self Service, if you are declining health insurance to receive the up to $2,000 Opt-Out Incentive. Enrollment is required each year you want to opt out. Eligibility requirements apply. See How to Enroll for more information.

 

Health Plans No Longer Available in 2018:
  • Anthem Blue Preferred Northeast
  • Arise Health Plan
  • Health Tradition Health Plan
  • Humana Eastern
  • Humana Western
  • UnitedHealthCare of Wisconsin

If you are currently enrolled in one of these plans, you must select a new health plan during ABE or you will not have coverage as of 1/1/2018.

Health Plan Mergers
  • Gundersen Health Plan now part of Quartz- Community
  • Physicians Plus now part of Quartz- Community or Quartz- UW Health, depending on primary care provider’s location
  • Network Health- Northeast and Network- Health Southeast now combined as Network Health Plan

If you take no action during ABE, you will be automatically be enrolled in the merged plan listed above.

Pharmacy Benefits

See the 2017 Pharmacy Benefits plan information for details on current benefits.

For 2018, the following changes will be made:

  • CVS Pharmacy (including Target) and certain out-of-state pharmacies will no longer be in-network
  • Certain over-the-counter medications will no longer be covered
  • Lumicera and UW Specialty Pharmacy are replacing Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy as the preferred specialty pharmacy. Level 4 preferred drugs (specialty medications) must be filled at one of these pharmacies.
  • Serve You is replacing WellDyneRx as the mail order pharmacy

Uniform Dental Benefits

See the 2017 Uniform Dental Benefits plan information for details on current benefits.

For 2018, the following changes will be made:

  • Bitewing x-ray coverage reduced from 2 per year to 1 per year
  • Sealant benefit – maximum age for sealants increased from 16 to 19 years of age, once per lifetime for first
    and second molars only
  • New– Medicament coverage – Medicament is a topical alternative to a filling that intended to be a short-term solution,
    typically for primary teeth. The rate of application is very low, as this is used in limited situations. For example,
    application of medicament could be used as an alternative to general anesthesia for a primary tooth cavity in a child
    with special needs.
  • New– Evidence-Based Integrated Care Plan (EBICP) benefits – Expands benefits for specific health conditions which
    are considered to be at risk for adverse dental impacts. EBICP also provides additional dental cleanings

Dental Wisconsin

See the 2017 Dental Wisconsin plan information for details on current benefits.

For 2018, the following changes will be made:

Dental Wisconsin – Select Plan
  • Annual maximum benefit increased from $1,000 to $1,250 per member
  • Premium is slightly increasing
  • New enrollees during ABE will be subject to:
    • Graduated dental benefits:
      • 2018: $600 annual maximum benefit
      • 2019: $800 annual maximum benefit
      • 2020: $1,250 annual maximum benefit (full benefit)
    • Orthodontic waiting period is 24 months
  • Waiting periods for basic and major restorative services have been removed
  • Waiting period for orthodontics may not be waived
Dental Wisconsin – PPO Plan
  • Annual maximum benefit increased from $1,000 to $1,250 per member
  • Premium is slightly decreasing
  • New enrollees during ABE will be subject to
    • Graduated dental benefits:
      • 2018: $600 annual maximum benefit
      • 2019: $800 annual maximum benefit
      • 2020: $1,250 annual maximum benefit (full benefit)
    • Orthodontic waiting period is 24 months
  • Waiting periods for basic and major restorative services have been removed
  • Waiting period for orthodontics may not be waived

EPIC Benefits+

See the 2017 EPIC Benefits+ plan information for details on current benefits.

For 2018, the following changes will be made:

  • There are no changes to the benefits
  • Premiums are decreasing
  • New Enrollees during ABE will be subject to:
    • Graduated dental benefits:
      • 2018: $750 annual maximum benefit
      • 2019: $1,000 annual maximum benefit
      • 2020: $1,500 annual maximum benefit (full benefits)
    • Orthodontic waiting period is 24 months
  • Waiting period for orthodontics may not be waived

VSP

See the 2017 VSP plan information for details on current benefits.

For 2018, the following changes will be made:

  • No change to premium
  • Increase in contact lens and frame allowances from $130 to $150
  • Contact lens exam copay reduced from $60 to $40
  • NEW— Full coverage for UV protection coating on eyeglass lenses
  • NEW— Primary EyeCare Supplemental Coverage, which includes additional benefits at a $20 copay
    • Treatment for eye pain or infection
    • Testing for sudden vision changes
    • Cataract monitoring exams
    • Retinal screenings

Flexible Spending Account

See the 2017 Flexible Spending Account (FSA) plan information for details on current benefits.

For 2018, the following changes will be made:

  • Increase in Health Care FSA annual maximum contribution from $2,550 to $2,600.

You must enroll in the Health Care FSA or Dependent Day Care FSA each year you want to participate. Your enrollment for 2017 will not automatically continue into 2018. TASC is the administrator of these plans. Note: Do not enroll directly with TASC.

Health Savings Account

See the 2017 Health Savings Account (HSA) plan information for details on current benefits.

For 2018, the following changes will be made:

  • Increase in HSA annual maximum contribution– see below

 

HSA Annual Maximum Contributions
HDHP Coverage Level 2017 2018
Single $3,400 $3,450
Family $6,750 $6,900
HSA catch-up contributions (age 55 or older) $1,000 $1,000

Most employees are eligible for an employer contribution toward their HSA. The employer contribution amount will be released later in September. Check back for updates!

You must enroll in the Health Savings Account (HSA) each year if you enroll in a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP). You are responsible for ensuring your eligibility for the HSA. TASC is the administrator of this plan. Note: Do not enroll directly with TASC.

2018 Premiums

The following are monthly premiums for coverage in 2018 for active employees. To see 2017 premiums, click here.

State Group Health

The employee contribution rates will be released in mid-September. Check back for updates.

Supplemental Dental and Vision Plans

Benefit Plan Employee Only (Single) Employee + Spouse Employee + Child(ren) Family
Dental Wisconsin — Select Plan $21.04 $43.24 $49.90 $73.36
Dental Wisconsin — PPO Plan $22.38 $47.40 $52.98 $80.10
EPIC Benefits+      — without Vision $21.38 $42.76 $42.76 $64.14
EPIC Benefits+      — with Vision $25.02 $49.16 $49.16 $73.58
VSP  $6.54 $13.08 $14.73 $23.54

Other Considerations for 2018

When considering your premium deductions for 2018, you should be aware that:

  • The Income Continuation Insurance (ICI) premium will be increasing by 20%, effective February 1, 2018.
  • The amount you and UW System will contribute to the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) is changing from 6.8% to 6.7% for most employees, effective January 1, 2018.
  • Please take this time to evaluate the supplemental retirement savings programs—Tax Sheltered Annuity (403(b)) and/or Wisconsin Deferred Compensation (457)—to set aside money for retirement on a pre-tax or post-tax (Roth) basis.

There is no open enrollment opportunity for the following plans; you may only enroll through Evidence of Insurability, which requires medical underwriting.

  • Income Continuation Insurance
  • State Group Life Insurance
  • UW Employees, Inc Life Insurance
  • Individual & Family Group Life Insurance

How To Enroll

When you have fully prepared (reviewed the changes for 2018) and made decisions regarding your benefits (reviewed your family needs), you can make your elections using Self Service*. You will be required to provide the following information in Self Service, so make sure to have this information handy.

  • Dependent names, social security numbers and birthdates
  • Copy of health insurance card (if you have other health insurance coverage)

*Plans that require a paper application to enroll:

  • Parking and/or Transit Account (coming soon)

NOTE: You will not be able to make any changes until October 2, 2017. All elections must be made by October 27, 2017. Changes are effective January 1, 2018.

Resources

Coming soon

 


last updated: 9/7/2017