If you do not want health insurance coverage through the State Group Health Insurance program, you may be eligible for the $2,000 Opt-Out Incentive.

You are eligible for the Opt-Out Incentive if you:

  • Are eligible for the WRS Benefits Package. Employees eligible for the Graduate/Short-Term Academic Staff Benefits Package are not eligible for the incentive.
  • Are eligible for the employer premium contribution to your health insurance. Note: Effective January 1, 2022 crafts workers will be eligible for the employer premium contribution to health insurance and may be eligible for the opt-out incentive.
  • Do not receive State Group Health Insurance through a parent or spouse through another State agency (e.g. UW System, UW Hospital & Clinics)
  • In 2015, were eligible for an employer premium contribution to their health insurance and were enrolled in a State Group Health Insurance plan. Note: Effective January 1, 2022 crafts workers will be eligible for the employer premium contribution to health insurance. Since in 2015 crafts workers were not eligible for the employer premium contribution this provision does not apply to crafts workers only.

Health insurance coverage through a parent or spouse employed by a local government entity that does not offer State Group Health Insurance (administered by ETF) does not disqualify you for the Health Insurance Opt-Out Incentive.

The $2,000 Opt-Out Incentive is prorated. If elected, it is paid for months you are eligible for the employer contribution towards a health insurance premium. Payments are made on the first two paychecks of the month, distributed evenly over 24 pay periods a year.

The Opt-Out Incentive does not carry over from year to year. It must be re-elected each year during Annual Benefits Enrollment.

Important Considerations

  1. Impact on Sick Leave Credits. Unused sick leave can provide a valuable benefit. If you retire, or if  you die while an employee, unused sick leave is converted into credits to pay for your health insurance or your surviving spouse/dependents (if you are covered under the health insurance program). If you choose to opt out, your unused sick leave credits have no value until/unless you re-enroll in the health insurance program in the future.
  2. Re-enroll in Health Insurance. You may re-enroll during the year if they have a qualifying life event (such as marriage, birth of a child, loss of other coverage). The $2,000 Opt-Out Incentive will be prorated by payroll period.
  3. Enrollment in Other Benefit Plans. If you opt out of health insurance, you will not be eligible for Uniform Dental. However you will be eligible for Preventive Dental. During the Annual Benefits Enrollment (ABE) period, you may elect a supplemental dental plan (even if you opt-out of health insurance).
  4. Taxable. The $2,000 Opt-Out Incentive is taxable.

How to Opt Out

Elect the Opt-Out Incentive through the MyUW portal during your initial 30-day enrollment period.

If you are unable to use the MyUW portal to make your elections, you may complete a paper Health Insurance Application/Change Form (see Forms & Resources below) and submit it to your institution benefits contact within 30 days of your date of employment or newly benefits-eligible job. Complete the following sections of the application: Section 1 (Applicant Information), Section 2 (Spouse Information, if applicable) and Section 12 (to elect Opt-Out Incentive).

If you are unsure if you are eligible for the $2,000 Opt-Out Incentive, contact your institution benefits contact.

You must re-enroll in the Health Opt-Out Incentive each year during the Annual Benefits Enrollment period if you want to opt out for the following plan year. Health Opt-Out elections do not carry over from year to year.

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.

Updated: 02/01/2022