Note: The Annual Benefits Enrollment period ended on October 27, 2017.

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 contains 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 pdf .

Introducing ALEX

Your personalized benefits counselor

ALEX explains your benefit 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.

Click here to watch a short video to learn more about ALEX.

To go to the ALEX landing page and begin your ALEX conversation, click here.

(NOTE: Chrome or Firefox are the preferred internet browsers for ALEX)

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 Incentive 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 pdf to see who you can cover on your plans.

Changes for 2018

Watch the short video below for a summary of changes for 2018.

In addition, you can 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.

Domestic Partner Coverage

Due to the 2017-2019 State Budget Bill that was signed on September 21, 2017, domestic partners will no longer be eligible for the following plans. If you have a domestic partner or partner’s children (who are not also your dependent children) covered under any of these plans, their coverage will end on December 31, 2017.

  • 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.

There are changes to health plans available in 2018 and you may be required to take action. Read the information below carefully to see if you need to take action.

For 2018, the following changes will be made:

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.

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:
    • Now Covered:
      • Annual vision exam
      • Adult hearing aids and cochlear implants
      • Smoking cessation
      • Additional types of transplants: parathyroid, heart, liver, kidney with pancreas, heart with lung, and lung
    • No Longer Covered:
      • Surgical treatment for morbid obesity (e.g., bariatric surgery)
      • Certain oral surgery procedures (reduced from 23 to 11)
      • Genetic testing or counseling unless medically necessary to diagnose or treat an existing illness
      • Clinic trials unless mandated by law
    • Change:
      • Cardiac rehabilitation services and Durable Medical Equipment (DME) must be pre-approved by your health plan
  • 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.
Access Health Plan (In-Network)
Access HDHP (In-Network)
2017 2018 2017 2018
Annual Deductible $250 / $500 (medical)

No deductible for prescription drugs

$250 / $500 (medical– no change)

No deductible for prescription drugs

$1,700 / $3,400

(combined medical and prescription drugs)

$1,500 / $3,000

(combined medical and prescription drugs)

Annual Medical Out-of-Pocket Limit $1,000 / $2,000

(separate OOPL for prescription drugs)

$1,250 / $2,500

(separate OOPL for prescription drugs)

$3,500 / $6,550 (combined medical and prescription drugs) $2,500 / $5,000 (combined medical and prescription drugs)
Prescription Out-of-Pocket Limit $1,000 / $2,000 (Level 1 & 2 drugs) $600 / $1,200 (Level 1 & 2 drugs) N/A — see Annual Out-of-Pocket Limit above N/A — see Annual Out-of-Pocket Limit above
Durable Medical Equipment 10% coinsurance up to OOPL 20% coinsurance up to OOPL 10% coinsurance up to OOPL 20% coinsurance up to OOPL

 

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.

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 automatically be enrolled in the merged plan listed above.

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 automatically be enrolled in the renamed plan listed above.

State Maintenance Plan (SMP) Changes
  • WEA Trust will replace WPS as the new administrator of the SMP plan
  • 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 State Maintenance Plan (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.

All employees enrolled in the State Group Health insurance program and their covered spouses and dependents must select a primary care provider (PCP).

Employees that are not changing health plans for 2018:

  • If they do not currently have a designated PCP, they can contact their health plan to request assistance in selecting a PCP.
  • If they currently have a designated PCP, they do not need to do anything.

Employees that are changing health plans for 2018:

  • Employees should contact their new health plan after open enrollment* to provide their PCP information, or
  • If employees do not select a PCP, their health plan will contact them directly. In most cases, the health plan will auto-assign PCPs and provide information on how to change them.

Health Insurance Opt-Out Incentive

Enroll in the “Health Ins Opt-Out Incentive” plan if you are declining health insurance to receive the Opt-Out Incentive. Enrollment is required each year you want to opt out. Eligibility requirements apply. New for 2018: You can enroll in the Health Ins Opt-Out Incentive plan using Self Service. See How to Enroll for more information.

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 (such as steroid nasal sprays (Flonase®) and medication to treat heartburn (Prilosec®))
  • 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. Navitus will mail information to affected members.
  • New discount drug list– Prescriptions that are not covered by the pharmacy benefit may be available at a discounted rate. This may include drugs for infertility, weight loss, cosmetic or other lifestyle needs as prescribed by your doctor.

Find in-network pharmacies and formulary lists on the Navitus website, or call Navitus at 1-866-333-2757 with questions.

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

Wellness Wisconsin Program

The $150 Well Wisconsin incentive will continue to be available to you and your enrolled spouse in 2018. To earn the $150, you will need to complete the current incentive requirements, plus a third step of an easy health engagement activity through StayWell.

In 2019, the Well Wisconsin incentive will transition to a premium reduction. Your participation in 2018 will determine your eligibility for a 2019 premium reduction for health insurance coverage. The 2019 premium reduction will increase if both you and your eligible spouse participate in the 2018 Well Wisconsin Program. Watch for more information from StayWell in 2018.

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. There is no change to the employer contribution amount for 2018, which is $750 for Single HDHP coverage and $1,500 for Family HDHP coverage.

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.

Individual & Family Life Insurance

See the 2017 Individual & Family Life Insurance plan information for details on current benefits.

There are no changes to the Individual & Family Life Insurance program for 2018. However, each year, employees who have coverage in force on October 1st may increase coverage during the Annual Increase Option (AIO) period which is from October 2 – October 27, 2017.

You may increase your coverage during the AIO period either through Self Service or by submitting an Annual Increase Option Form pdf . If you wish to decrease or cancel your coverage, which you may do at any time during the year, submit a paper application to your human resources office.

2018 Premiums

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

State Group Health

Premium Tier Employees Covered by the WRS-Health Plan Design- Employees Covered by the WRS– HDHP Plan Design- Employees Covered by Grad Assistant/ Short-Term AS-Health Plan Design Only-
Single Family Single Family Single Family
Tier 1 With Dental $88.00 $219.00 $33.00 $82.00 $45.50 $113.50
Without Dental $85.00 $211.00 $30.00 $74.00 $42.50 $105.50
Tier 2 (Access Plan – required to work out of state) With Dental $138.00 $347.00 $83.00 $210.00 $70.50 $177.50
Without Dental $135.00 $339.00 $80.00 $202.00 $67.50 $169.50
Tier 3 (Access Plan) With Dental $266.00 $664.00 $211.00 $527.00 $134.50 $336.00
Without Dental $263.00 $656.00 $208.00 $519.00 $131.50 $328.00

*WRS covered employees who are working less than 50% and University Staff Temporary employees with one appointment pay 50% of the total premium.

Additional Premium Information

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. You will see this change on your first paycheck payable in 2018.
  • Please take this time to consider contributing to the supplemental retirement savings programs—UW Tax Sheltered Annuity 403(b) Program and/or Wisconsin Deferred Compensation (457) Program—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
    • Annual Increase Option available from October 2 – October 27, 2017

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:

NOTE: You will not be able to make any changes until October 2, 2017.

All benefit elections made via Self Service must be submitted by 4:30pm on Friday, October 27, 2017. Paper applications must be received by your human resources office by 4:30pm on Friday, October 27, 2017. If mailing, applications must be postmarked by Friday, October 27, 2017.

Changes are effective January 1, 2018.

Resources


last updated: 10/17/2017