Benefit changes for the 2021 plan year are outlined below. Visit the main Employee Benefits website for more information.

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 most benefit plans for the upcoming calendar year. This is the only time you are eligible to make changes unless you have a qualifying life event, such as a family or employment change.

Changes made during this period will be effective January 1, 2021

This page contains information about benefits and changes for 2021. Information about 2020 benefits may be found on the Employee Benefits Website.

Attend the Virtual Benefit Fair Sessions to learn more about your benefits directly from the benefit plan administrators!

A brief video that highlights changes for 2021 can be accessed here.

Updated: 07/14/2021

ALEX is able to help!


ALEX is an online decision-support tool that acts as an informative, personalized benefits counselor. ALEX will help you learn more about the benefits that UW System offers and make the benefit plan decisions that may be best for you and your family. Use ALEX to help you make informed decisions for 2021! Note: The 2020 version of ALEX will also continue to be available throughout ABE.


Chrome or Firefox are the preferred browsers for ALEX.

Benefits Changes for 2021

We are pleased to share that there will be minimal benefit plan changes for the 2021 calendar year. Review this page thoroughly to understand the changes. This will allow you to make informed decisions for you and your family.

Employee Premiums effective January 1, 2021:

  • Vision Insurance premiums will decrease (see below).
  • Accident Insurance premiums will increase (see below).
  • Go to the Premiums page for 2020 premiums.

State Group Health Insurance

All health insurance carriers will continue to be offered in 2021. Additionally, the health plan designs (health plan vs high deductible health plan) and health plan components will remain the same (e.g. deductibles, copayments, coinsurance, out-of-pocket limits).

For 2021, the following changes will be made:

  • Covered Services
    • Add coverage for biofeedback services for urinary incontinence.
    • Remove wellness incentive components from all health insurance plans. (Well Wisconsin Program incentive through StayWell will continue to be offered)
    • Remove timeframe requirement for extractions and/or dental repairs due to accident.
  • Employee Premiums (see chart below)
    • Health Plan and High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) premiums will increase.
    • Access Health Plan and Access HDHP (in Wisconsin) premiums will decrease.
    • Access Health Plan and Access HDHP (outside of Wisconsin) premiums will increase.
  • Telehealth
    • Temporary safe harbor rules allow telehealth services without cost-sharing. The safe harbor is effective March 11, 2020 through December 31, 2021. Health insurance carriers are not required to adopt this safe harbor; therefore, coverage for telehealth services varies by health insurance carrier.
    • If the health insurance carrier has adopted the temporary safe harbor, telehealth services do not need to be COVID-19 related for the safe harbor to apply.
    • Cost-sharing still applies for services that would have normally been provided in an office visit setting but have moved online due to the pandemic.

Review the State Group Health Insurance webpage for details.

State Group Health Insurance – 2021 monthly Premiums (active employees)

Health Plan
(WRS benefit package)
High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP)
(WRS benefit package)
Health Plan
(non-WRS Graduate Assistant / Short-Term Academic Staff benefit package)
Single Family Single Family Single Family
Health Plan & HDHP (excludes Access Plans) $92.00 $229.00 $32.00 $80.00 $46.00 $114.50
Access Health Plan & Access HDHP $251.00 $623.00 $191.00 $474.00 $125.50 $311.50
Access Health Plan & Access HDHP
(if required to work outside of WI)
$146.00 $367.00 $86.00 $218.00 $73.00 $183.50

All employee premiums in the above chart are without Uniform Dental. Review the chart in the dental section below for the employee dental premiums for 2021.

Note: The health plan and HDHP do not provide out-of-network coverage except for emergencies and urgent care situations.

All employees (and covered spouses and dependents) enrolled in State Group Health Insurance  must select a Primary Care Provider (PCP).

If you are not changing your health plan carrier for 2021:

  • And you do not currently have a designated PCP, you should contact your health plan carrier to designate a PCP or request assistance with selecting a PCP.
  • And you currently have a designated PCP, you do not need to contact your health plan carrier.

If you are changing your health plan carrier for 2021:

  • And would like to designate a PCP, contact your new health plan carrier after ABE.
  • And you do not designate a PCP, your new health plan carrier will contact you directly to designate a PCP or auto-assign a PCP and provide information on how to update your PCP.

Health Insurance Opt-Out Incentive

If you do not need health insurance coverage through the UW System, you may be eligible for the Health Opt-Out Incentive. The Opt-Out Incentive is taxable and the $2,000 is paid evenly over 12 pay periods for monthly-paid employees and 24 pay periods for biweekly-paid employees. Enrollment is required each year to receive the Opt-Out Incentive. Enroll in the Health Ins Opt-Out Incentive through Self-Service. See the How to Enroll section below for more information.

Review the Health Insurance Opt-Out Incentive webpage for details.

Pharmacy Benefits

Employee premiums for pharmacy benefits are included in the State Group Health Insurance premiums.

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

Review the Pharmacy Benefits webpage for details.

Well-being Resources

The $150 Well Wisconsin incentive is available to you and your spouse in 2021 if you enroll in State Group Health Insurance. To earn the 2021 incentive, complete a health screening*, health assessment questionnaire, and one of the Well-Being activities (by mid-October). Visit the StayWell website for more information.

*Health screening requirement includes the following options: biometric screening, health care provider form, preventive dental exam (new option) or health coaching call (new option).

Deadlines: The deadline for the 2020 incentive is October 9, 2020. The deadline for the 2021 incentive is October 8, 2021.

Review the Well-Being Resources webpage for information on the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), flu shot clinics, well-being webinars and mental health resources.

Uniform, Preventive & Supplemental Dental Insurance

There will be no change to the dental plans or premiums for 2021.

Uniform and Preventive Dental Insurance plans provide the same coverage for diagnostic, preventive, basic and orthodontic services. Review the following to determine which plan you are eligible for:

  • If you enroll in State Group Health, you are eligible for the Uniform Dental Insurance plan.
  • If you waive State Group Health OR elect the Health Opt-Out Incentive, you are eligible for the Preventive Dental Insurance plan.

Reminder: You may enroll in one of these plans and one Supplemental Dental Insurance plan (Select or Select Plus plan).

For additional information, review the plan comparison and/or rate charts provided below.

Dental Insurance Comparison

Uniform Dental Insurance and

Preventive Dental Insurance

Supplemental Dental –

PPO Select

Supplemental Dental –

PPO Plus Premier Select Plus

Provider Network Delta Dental PPO & Delta Dental Premier Delta Dental PPO only Delta Dental PPO & Delta Dental Premier
Benefit Maximum $1,000 / person $1,000 / person $2,500 / person
Deductible None $100 / person $25 / person
Preventive 100% No coverage No coverage
Basic Services 100% for Fillings, Periodontal Maintenance, 80% for Anesthesia, Emergency Pain Relief No coverage,
except Anesthesia at 50%
No coverage,
except Anesthesia at 80%
Major Services No coverage 50% 60% or 80% (varies by service)

(lifetime maximum)

50% up to $1,500
(to age 19)
No coverage 50% up to $1,500
(in addition to Uniform or Preventive Dental)
(includes adult ortho)


Dental Insurance – 2021 monthly Premiums (active employees)

Uniform Dental Preventive Dental Supplemental Dental –

PPO Select

Supplemental Dental –

PPO Plus Premier Select Plus

Employee $4.00 $30.20 $9.28 $16.82
Employee + Spouse $9.00 $75.50 $18.56 $33.64
Employee + Child(ren) $9.00 $75.50 $12.52 $31.12
Family $9.00 $75.50 $22.28 $51.30

Review the Uniform & Preventive Dental Insurance webpage or the Supplemental Dental Insurance webpage for additional information.

Vision Insurance (new carrier)

There will be a carrier change for 2021; however, the allowance for materials will remain the same (up to $150). If you are currently enrolled in 2020, you will automatically be enrolled for 2021. If you are currently enrolled in 2020 and need to make a change to your dependents or drop your coverage for 2021, you should do so through Self Service.

For 2021, the following changes will be made:

  • New Carrier: DeltaVision
  • New Network: Choose a provider within the EyeMed Insight network.
  • ID Cards: All enrollees will receive vision insurance plan ID cards for 2021.
  • Monthly Premiums: Slight decrease for 2021.
    • Employee Only: $5.72
    • Employee + Spouse: $11.42
    • Employee + Child(ren): $12.88
    • Family: $20.58

Review the documents provided in the Resources section for additional information.

Individual & Family Life Insurance

There are no changes to the Individual & Family Life Insurance Program for 2021.

If you have coverage in force, you may increase coverage during the Annual Increase Option (AIO) period; September 28 – October 23, 2020. You may increase your coverage through Self Service or by submitting the I&F Annual Increase Option Form available in the Forms & Resources section below.

To decrease or cancel your coverage at any time, submit the I&F Insurance Application (available in the Forms & Resources section below) to your institution’s human resources office.

Review the Individual & Family Life Insurance webpage for details.

Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D) Insurance

There are no changes to the AD&D Insurance plan or employee premiums for 2021.

You may enroll, change, or cancel your AD&D coverage at any time. Changes made during ABE to your AD&D coverage will be effective January 1, 2021. If you would like to change your coverage prior to January 1st, submit the AD&D Application available in the Forms & Resources section below.

Review the AD&D Insurance webpage for details.

Accident Insurance

This plan, administered by Securian Financial, is available to employees who want coverage for accidents and catastrophic events (e.g. fractures, stitches, hospitalization). The plan helps cover unexpected out-of-pocket expenses by providing a lump sum payment for illness or injury due to accident. Additional features of the plan include:

  • Coverage for employee, spouse and child(ren)
  • Accidental death & dismemberment coverage
  • Identity Theft coverage from Generali Global Assistance
  • Coverage may be continued when employment ends

You may enroll in this plan during the ABE period (September 28 – October 23, 2020) or if you have a qualifying life event.


  • Enhanced accidental death & dismemberment component: Increase in accidental death & dismemberment benefit.
    • Employee – from $25,000 to $100,000
    • Spouse – from $12,500 to $50,000
    • Child(ren) – from $6,250 to $25,000
  • Monthly Premiums: Slight increase for 2021.
    • Employee Only: $4.38
    • Employee + Spouse: $6.26
    • Employee + Child(ren): $8.44
    • Family: $12.32

Note: ID Cards are not issued for this plan. Employees (not your providers) file claims directly with Securian.

Review the Accident Insurance webpage for more information.

Spending and Savings Accounts (FSA and HSA)

Flexible Spending Account (FSA)

See the FSA webpage for details on current 2020 benefits.

For 2021, the following changes will be made:

  • Health Care FSA: Annual maximum contribution will be $2,750 ($50 increase).
    • The IRS will release FSA maximums for 2021 after the start of ABE. In the event of significant changes, current annual contribution maximums for 2021 may change.
  • Health Care FSA Carryover: Maximum carryover amount will be $550 ($50 increase).

ACTION REQUIRED: You must enroll in the Health Care FSA and/or Dependent Day Care Account each year you want to participate.

Health Savings Account (HSA)

For 2021, the following changes will be made:

The HSA annual maximum contributions will increase. The following maximum contribution amounts include the employer contribution:

  • Single HDHP: $3,600*
  • Family HDHP: $7,200*

*Employees that are or will attain age 55+ in 2021 may contribute an additional $1,000 to their HSA.

See the HSA webpage for details and eligibility requirements.

ACTION REQUIRED: You must enroll in the Health Savings Account (HSA) each year if you enroll in a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP).

Other Considerations for 2021

  • Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS): The contribution you and UW System make to the WRS will remain 6.75% for most employees, effective January 1, 2021.
  • State Group Life Insurance: The employee coverage premium will increase 5% for most age groups, effective April 1, 2021. Spouse & Dependent coverage premium will remain the same.
  • UW Employees, Inc. Life Insurance: Premiums for certain age bands will change effective January 1, 2021. Review the Benefit Premium webpage.
  • Income Continuation Insurance (ICI): Premiums will remain the same.
  • Parking & Transit Accounts: Effective January 1, 2021 these accounts will be available again. To start contributing to these accounts with the first pay period in 2021, enroll by November 19, 2020. Review the Parking & Transit Account webpage for more information.
  • Long-Term Care Insurance: Available again to eligible employees.
No open enrollment opportunity for the below plans; you may enroll through Evidence of Insurability (requires medical underwriting).
  • State Group Life Insurance
  • UW Employees, Inc. Life Insurance
  • Individual & Family Life Insurance
  • Income Continuation Insurance
Enroll in the following plans at any time during the year:
  • UW Tax-Sheltered Annuity (TSA) 403(b) Program
  • Wisconsin Deferred Compensation (457) Program

Changes Allowed During ABE

Benefit Plan What Changes are Allowed during ABE? Add or Remove Dependents* Cancel
State Group Health Insurance Enroll, Change Plan Design and/or Carrier Yes Yes
State Group Health Insurance
Opt-Out Incentive
MUST re-enroll each year N/A N/A (automatically ends December 31st)
Uniform Dental Insurance Enroll

(if enrolled in State Group Health)

Yes Yes
Preventive Dental Insurance Enroll

(if not enrolled in State Group Health

Yes Yes
Supplemental Dental Insurance Enroll, Change Plans (Select OR Select Plus) Yes Yes
Vision Insurance Enroll Yes Yes
Individual & Family Life Insurance Annual Increase Option

(current enrollees only)

No – Add

Yes – Remove (anytime)

Yes (anytime)
Accidental Death & Dismemberment Insurance Enroll, Change Volume of Coverage Yes Yes (anytime)
Accident Insurance  Enroll Yes Yes
Flexible Spending Accounts MUST re-enroll each year N/A N/A (automatically ends December 31st)
Health Savings Account
(must have High Deductible Health Plan)
MUST re-enroll each year N/A N/A (automatically ends December 31st)

* To determine who you can cover on your plans, see the Dependent Eligibility Chart available in the Forms & Resources section below.

How To Enroll

Once you have made your benefits plan decisions, enroll through Self Service (September 28 – October 23, 2020). You will be required to provide the below information, so have this information handy.

  • Dependent names, Social Security numbers and dates of birth
  • Copy of health insurance card (if you have other health insurance coverage)

To view a video on how to enroll using Self Service click here.

You may make changes beginning September 28, 2020. All benefit elections must be submitted by Friday, October 23, 2020 (4:30 p.m). Paper applications must be received by your human resources office by Friday, October 23, 2020 (4:30 p.m). Changes are effective January 1, 2021.

Forms & Resources

Every effort has been made to ensure this information is current and correct. Information on this page does not guarantee enrollment, benefits and/or the ability to make changes to your benefits.