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Q.  I saw there was a double deduction for my health insurance on my paycheck. Is this a mistake?

A.  Most benefit plan premiums are paid a month in advance for coverage. Therefore, you may see multiple deductions on one of your first paychecks.

Q.  I recently got married, how can I add my spouse to my health insurance?

A.  When you get married, this is a life event and therefore you are eligible to add your spouse and any newly eligible children (e.g. step-children) to your current benefit plans. You must submit an application to add your spouse and newly eligible children to your benefits plans and/or enroll in a benefit plan for the first time within 30 days of your marriage.

Q.  I have VSP insurance but have not received my card(s), when can I expect these?

A.  VSP does not mail out insurance cards. If you would like a card, you will need to go to, create an account, do not input ssn but your Member ID Number (use number on paycheck with a 0 in front of it) to create an account.

Q.  I recently added a new child to my family due to birth, adoption, or placement for adoption, how can I add the child(ren) to my health insurance?

A.  When you have a child, this is a life event and therefore you are eligible to add your child to your current benefit plans. You must submit an application to add your child(ren) to your benefits plans and/or enroll in a benefit plan for the first time within 30 days of gaining a new child.

Q.  What happens if I leave the WRS before my earliest retirement age? Do I have to withdraw my retirement account?

A.  No, you do not need to withdraw your account. If you terminate employment before age 55 (age 50 for participants with protective category service) you can either:
• take a separation benefit (take a lump sum refund of contributions plus interest); or
• if you are vested, wait until you reach age 55 (50) or later and apply for a retirement benefit, which is based on both employer and employee contributions.

In the past, I worked in a position covered under the WRS, but I left my job and withdrew my funds. Is there any way I can get back the creditable service I forfeited when I withdrew my money from the retirement system?

Yes, if you are currently employed under the WRS and meet the eligibility criteria you can buy back your creditable service. Please refer to the Buying Creditable Service (ET-4121) brochure for detailed information about the eligibility requirements and the cost of buying back your forfeited service.

Q.  When do I request retirement benefit estimates, and when do I apply?

A.  You should request your retirement estimates approximately six to 12 months before you retire. ETF can accept your retirement application up to 90 days before the date you terminate employment. You can request your retirement estimate packet online, by phone or in writing. You can submit your request online any time. If you prefer to request it in writing, print the Retirement Estimate Request (ET-4207). The estimate packet will include: your application for benefits, information about options and the How to Retire brochure (ET-4133). The How to Retire brochure includes directions on how to complete your application, general information on many subjects and links to other brochures for further details. Contact ETF if you have questions about your estimates or applying. You can submit your application in person or by mail. If you prefer to handle your retirement in person, contact ETF a few weeks in advance to make an appointment with a benefit specialist.

Q.  When must I apply for Medicare?

Medicare Part A
Most people become eligible for Medicare upon reaching age 65. If you or your spouse are actively working when you become eligible, you may want to consider enrolling in Medicare Part A as it may cover hospital services if your health plan denies them. There is no premium for Medicare Part A.

Medicare Part B
The requirement to enroll in Medicare Part B coverage is deferred for active employees and their dependents until the subscriber's termination of their WRS-covered employment, through which active employee health insurance coverage is provided. If you have terminated employment, or are a surviving dependent, or a continuant and are eligible for coverage under the federal Medicare program, you must immediately enroll in both Part A and Part B of Medicare unless you are otherwise employed and have health insurance coverage through that employment. If you do not enroll for all available portions of Medicare upon retirement, you may be liable for the portions of your claims that Medicare would have paid beginning on the date Medicare coverage would have become effective. If you or your insured spouse are insured as an active employee under a non-state group plan, enrollment in Medicare may be deferred until retirement from that job. Health insurance premiums will not be reduced until the employee retires and Medicare pays as primary.

Q.  How long will I have insurance if I terminate employment with the UW?

A.  Coverage ends at the end of the month in which your employment terminates. You may continue coverage by submitting a continuation notice and application to the Department of Employee Trust Funds within 60 days of the coverage end date or the receipt of a continuation notice, whichever is later.
• If you have less than 20 years of WRS creditable service, coverage may continue for up to 18 months
• If you have at least 20 years of WRS creditable service, coverage may continue for life.

Q.  I just turned 26 and lost my health insurance, can I enroll in the State Group Health plan?

A.  Yes, if you or your dependents lose comparable coverage elsewhere (such as through a spouse’s or parent’s plan), you may have opportunities to enroll in the health insurance. You must submit an application to enroll within 30 days of the loss of other coverage, or within 30 days of the notice of loss of coverage, whichever is later. Note: This does not include voluntary cancellation of the other coverage and you must have proof of loss of coverage.

Q.  Do we offer Long Term Care Insurance?

A.  Yes, Long Term Care Insurance is available to you, your spouse, your parents, and your spouse’s parents. Anyone covered by the plan must live in Wisconsin. You may apply for coverage at any time during your employment. There is no open enrollment period because each application is subject to medical underwriting. For more information visit

Q.  What benefit does sick leave provide at retirement?

A.  At retirement your accrued sick leave days, converted into hours, are multiplied by your highest basic pay rate with the University or state converted into an hourly rate of pay. The resulting amount of "sick leave credits" will pay your state group health insurance premium cost during your retirement years.

In accordance with the University's Financial and Administrative Policy #29, Section IV(H), the hourly rate of pay is calculated by dividing your highest monthly rate of base salary by 174 hours.

If you have 15 or more years of University service, additional supplemental sick leave credits are added to the balance, based on your years of service and program maximums.

For example: A faculty member retires after 20 years of service with 1500 hours of sick leave accumulation. An additional 1040 hours are credited as a result of the Supplemental Sick Leave Credits. The total hours, 2540, are multiplied by the faculty member's highest hourly rate of pay which results in "credits" to pay state group health insurance after retirement.


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