State and UW employees may be eligible to receive up to $2,000 from your employer if you opt out (waive coverage) of State of Wisconsin Group Health Insurance Program coverage. To be eligible you cannot have opted out in 2015, and you also cannot be covered under the State of Wisconsin Group Health Insurance Program as a dependent. You are not eligible for the opt-out incentive during 2021 if you are covered by the State of Wisconsin Group Health Insurance Program even one day in 2021 (see the Opt-Out Incentive FAQs for more information).
If you are declining health insurance and electing to receive the $2,000 opt-out incentive payment in 2021, you must complete a paper Health Insurance Application/Change (ET-2301) form and submit to your payroll or benefits office during open enrollment, or check with your employer to see if you can opt out electronically (STAR and UW employees can opt out electronically). You may be required to provide proof of other minimum health care coverage for yourself and your dependents. If you are submitting a paper Group Health Insurance Application/Change (ET-2301) form be sure to complete Sections 1, 12 and 13 of the paper application.
New hires: You must submit a Group Health Insurance Application/Change (ET-2301) form within 30 days of your hire date indicating you are opting out of health insurance, and that you are electing to receive the opt-out incentive.
UW Graduate Assistants and Crafts Workers are not eligible for the opt-out incentive.
- Impact on Sick Leave Conversion: Unused sick leave can provide a valuable benefit. When you retire, or if you should die while an employee, unused sick leave is converted into credits to pay for health insurance for you or your surviving spouse/dependents but only if you participate in the State of Wisconsin Group Health Insurance Program. If you choose to opt out, your unused sick leave credits have no value until/unless you re-enroll in the Group Health Insurance Program.
- Re-enrolling in health insurance: You may re-enroll during the year if you have a qualifying life event (such as marriage, adding a dependent, loss of other coverage). The $2,000 opt-out incentive payment is prorated by payroll period and you will lose any portion that is payable after you have re-enrolled.
- Enrollment in Other Benefit Plans: If you opt out of health insurance, you will not be eligible for the Uniform Dental Benefit, as it is only available through the State Group Health Insurance Program. However, during the open enrollment period you may still be able to elect supplemental benefits for dental (including the new Preventive Dental option), vision and Accident Plan.
- Taxable Income: The opt-out incentive is taxable and will appear on your W-2. It is not considered WRS earnings.
- Affordable Care Act (ACA): The ACA requires most Americans to have health insurance or pay a penalty. If you opt out of the State Group Health Insurance Program and do not have other coverage, you may be subject to a fine when you file your annual taxes.