University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee

Budget Act 10 and Act 32 Benefits Impact Summary and Timeline


UPDATE August 26, 2011 to reflect changes for 9-month employees who have summer earnings and that are paid on September 1, 2011.


INTRODUCTION

Wisconsin Act 10 (budget repair bill), as amended by Wisconsin Act 32 (2011-13 biennial budget bill), makes statutory changes to several benefit provisions of the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) and State Group Health Insurance. The Act became effective on June 29, 2011.

This email will discuss when the changes to health insurance premiums and pension deductions will go into effect and what steps employees may take to change health insurance choices, based on the increase in the health insurance premium costs.

CHANGES TO STATE GROUP HEALTH INSURANCE

The cost of monthly health insurance premiums will increase as follows.

New Monthly Health
Insurance Premiums for
WRS-Covered Employees
  Single Family
Tier1 (all plans, except the Standard Plan) $84 $208
Tier 2 (Standard Plan - required to work outside WI) $122 $307
Tier 3 (Standard Plan - work in WI) $226 $567

New Monthly Health Insurance Premiums for
Graduate Assistant / Short-Term Academic Employees
  Single Family
Tier1 (all plans, except the Standard Plan) $42 $104
Tier 2 (Standard Plan - required to work outside WI) $61 $153.50
Tier 3 (Standard Plan - work in WI) $113 $283.50

The increased premiums will take effect in August, but will be reflected on the dates of paychecks listed below. Please note that employees may move from family to single coverage or cancel health insurance within 30 days of the first paycheck that includes the increased premiums; for more details, please see below.

  Date of 1st paycheck with higher
premium
Last day to submit your
application to change/cancel
due to premium increase*
Classified Employees 8-25-11 9-23-11
Unclassified 12-Month Employees 9-1-11 9-30-11
Unclassified 9-Month Employees Who Have Summer Earnings Paid on 9-1-11 9-1-11 9-30-11
Unclassified 9-Month Employees Who Do Not have Summer Earnings Paid on 9-1-11 9-30-11 10-28-11

There are many important issues to consider before deciding to change or cancel your health insurance coverage, including:

*For coverage effective in 2011, you may only re-enroll without any restrictions within 30 days of losing eligibility or employer contribution for other group health insurance coverage.

*The annual health insurance It’s Your Choice period, beginning with the October 2011 period, will be a true open enrollment period. If you are otherwise in an appointment eligible for health insurance coverage, you will be able to enroll in coverage without restriction during the October period for coverage effective January 1 st of the following year. You will also be eligible to enroll in the Standard Plan immediately prior to retirement for the purpose of preserving sick leave credits.

*For coverage effective in 2011, you may enroll at any time under the Standard Plan but you and any insured family members over age 19 will be subject to a 180-day waiting period for pre-existing conditions. This provision will no longer be available for coverage effective in 2012.

*If you plan to become covered under your spouse’s or partner’s health insurance plan, confirm with the plan that you can enroll if you cancel your health insurance coverage. The plan may not allow you an enrollment opportunity due to a voluntary cancellation of coverage, but may allow your spouse or partner and dependents to enroll without restriction.

*You must have State Group Health Insurance in force at the time of retirement, layoff, or death to use sick leave credits to pay for health insurance.

For a comprehensive summary of the issues and specific questions about changes to coverage, please see items ## 8-15 at the following site: http://www.wisconsin.edu/hr/benefits/repairbillfaq.pdf.

CHANGES TO WRS (PENSION) CONTRIBUTIONS

Under 2011 Wisconsin Act 10 (2009-11 Budget Repair Bill), almost all employees will be required to contribute 5.8% of WRS-covered earnings to the WRS (employee contribution was formerly 0.2% of earnings). Act 32 requires that the WRS contributions are taken on a pre-tax basis, which means that WRS contributions will reduce taxable income for state and federal tax purposes.

Classified employees (those paid bi-weekly) will first see the increased WRS contributions on the check paid on August 25, 2011, and unclassified (those paid monthly) will first see the increased contributions on the check paid on or after September 1, 2011.

Employees who are eligible for WRS coverage may not opt out of the WRS.

ESTIMATING THE INCREASES

To get an approximation of how the increases in health insurance premium and WRS contributions will affect you, please see

http://www.wisconsin.edu/hr/benefits/budgetBillEstimator/index.php

MORE INFORMATION

For a high level summary of the changes from Acts 10 and 32, please see http://www.wisconsin.edu/hr/benefits/budgetsummary.pdf.

For detailed information about all of the changes from Acts 10 and 32, please see http://www.wisconsin.edu/hr/benefits/repairbillfaq.pdf.