Revised 10/2/2020

It’s Your Choice Open Enrollment is September 28 - October 23, 2020.

The annual health benefits open enrollment allows uninsured but eligible employees and retirees to enroll for coverage effective the following January 1. In addition, this is an opportunity for currently insured subscribers (active employees, retirees and continuants) to change health plans, enroll or remove adult children from family coverage, change from individual to family coverage, change from family to individual coverage or cancel coverage.

We encourage employees and retirees to electronically submit their enrollment changes via the myETF Benefits Online Health Insurance Enrollment System. Retirees may use myETF Benefits or complete the Health Insurance Application/Change for Retirees and COBRA Continuants (ET-2331) form, which will be included in the It’s Your Choice 2021 health benefits decision guide. Employees will find step-by-step information on how to submit an electronic request on ETF’s website. Please see the Employer ’s Application Processing Instructions for It’s Your Choice 2021 later in this bulletin.

Note: If retirees are electing Medicare Some, they must complete a paper application (ET-2331) and submit it to ETF.

The 2021 health benefits decision guides will be delivered to all employers at the end of September, if requested. The 2021 health benefits web pages will be available online to employers and members by the end of September. Visit etf.wi.gov for 2021 open enrollment information. 

Please consider using the sample email below to notify employees of open enrollment and important changes. To comply with federal notification requirements, see the Electronic Distribution of the It’s Your Choice guides section later in this bulletin. Since these web pages will not be available until the end of September, please do not send this email to your employees until the last week of September.

It’s Your Choice Employer Kick-Off Meeting Reminder

Reminder! ETF will host several It's Your Choice 2021 employer kickoff events for local government employers for plan year 2021. All kickoff events will be held virtually. These events will follow a similar agenda as in previous years, and a recording will later be available on the ETF website for viewing anytime. 

See the previous employer news for more local employer information.

Employers must pre-register to attend these events online via webinar. Due to the high demand, please register as soon as possible.

The It’s Your Choice employer kickoff meeting provides an opportunity to hear from the health plans, pharmacy benefit manager, supplemental plans, wellness vendor (StayWell), and ETF employees about the benefit program changes that are effective January 1, 2021. 

Local Insurance Q&A Session Reminder

ETF will host its first annual local government employer insurance question and answer session on September 25. All local employers may register to ask ETF staff any insurance (health, life, income continuation insurance) benefit-related questions. 

Employers must pre-register to attend this event online via webinar. Due to the high demand, please register as soon as possible.

2021 Virtual Benefit Forums for Employers

ETF is hosting a series of virtual forums for employers to connect with health benefits vendors in advance of the It's Your Choice 2021 open enrollment period. These virtual forums with the vendors will provide the same personal interaction with a vendor as a benefit fair or kickoff event from the safety of your own home or office. 

See the previous employer news for details and registration information

Employers must pre-register to attend these events online via webinar. Due to the high demand, please register as soon as possible.

Important Plan and Program Changes

Plan and Network Changes

No Plan Offering Changes

The same health plans will be offered for plan year 2021 as in 2020. No health plans are joining or departing the Group Health Insurance Program. 

Service Area Changes

The State Maintenance Plan (SMP) will no longer be available in the following county: Forest.

SMP will newly be offered in the following counties: Buffalo, Crawford, Jackson, La Crosse, Monroe, Polk, St. Croix and Trempealeau.

SMP will continue to be offered in the following counties: Florence, Pepin, Pierce and Rusk. Employees should make sure their providers are in-network or select another plan. The provider directory will be available on the ETF website.

New Medical Benefit

Biofeedback for urinary incontinence will now be covered. 

Supplemental Vision Benefit

(Revised 10/2/2020)

Local employees and retirees will be now eligible for supplemental vision benefits in 2021. The vision benefit will be administered by DeltaVision, in partnership with EyeMed Vision Care. 

More information will be provided in future updates at www.deltadentalwi.com/state-of-wi-vision. Employers must opt-in during open enrollment to offer this benefit to employees. Local WRS retirees are eligible for supplemental vision coverage even if their former employer doesn't opt into the program. If you have questions, please contact ETFsales@deltadentalwi.com.

Accident Plan

Active will be now eligible to participate in the Securian Accident Plan in 2021. The Securian Accident Plan provides a cash benefit paid directly to you to help cover out-of-pocket expenses regardless of health insurance coverage. 

See www.LifeBenefits.com/plandesign/WIETF for detailed plan information. Employers must opt-in during open enrollment to offer this benefit to active employees. Local WRS retirees are not eligible for the Securian Accident Plan. If you have questions, please contact madisonbranch@securian.com.

Well Wisconsin and Staywell®

The deadline to earn the 2020 Well Wisconsin incentive is October 9, 2020. Participants may choose to have the $150 gift card sent to their email or by postal mail to their home address.

New “Health Check” Activities

All non-Medicare Advantage members will have more options to complete their “health check” activities, including a routine dental exam or a health coaching call, to earn their $150 Well Wisconsin incentive in 2021.

Health Plan-Offered Wellness Incentives

Effective January 1, 2021, UnitedHealthcare is the only health plan that may offer financial wellness incentives to members. All other members are encouraged to participate in Well Wisconsin, administered by StayWell, to earn the $150 wellness incentive. 

Silver Sneakers will still be available to Medicare Plus and Medicare Advantage members. 

Federal Section 1557 Non-Discrimination Information

Reminder: Please notify ETF of requests for health benefit information to be translated into languages other than English. Please share data about which information is being requested and in what language. Send to etfhealthandins@etf.wi.gov.

General It’s Your Choice Information

To change health plans or coverage levels or decline dental coverage, employees must submit a completed electronic or paper health insurance application to their employers no later than Friday, October 23, 2020.

Employees may select any health plan regardless of their county of residence, but should consider whether the providers are within a reasonable distance for medical care. An interactive map online will be available in the 2021 health benefits information and identifies geographic areas covered by each health plan, as well as their major providers and provider directories.

ETF mails health benefits decision guides directly to retirees and former employees who have continued their health insurance coverage. Employees who wish to change health plans and who will retire effective January 1, 2021 or later, must complete their health benefits applications as active employees. Changes in annuitant coverage are handled by ETF when the employee applies for retirement benefits.

ETF does not publish the 105% rate tables on the website. Employers may request the 105% rate tables from ETF; be prepared to discuss which employee group you are using the rates for as these rates should only be used for Public Safety Employees (and their management) under a valid collective bargaining agreement. The 88% rate tables will be published prior to open enrollment.

The updated Group Health Insurance Application/Change (ET-2301) form can be downloaded from ETF’s Internet site or you may order applications by completing the Online Forms Order page found on the employer forms page on the ETF website. Local employer-paid annuitants should submit the Group Health Insurance Application/Change for Retirees and COBRA Continuants (ET-2331) form, which will be available on the ETF website.

2021 Health Benefits Decision Guides Distribution

The 2021 health benefits decision guides must be distributed in a timely manner to all employees. The distribution method (hard copy, link to web version, PDF file) is determined by the employer. It is acceptable for employers to distribute health benefits decision guides using an electronic method during the COVID-19 outbreak. Employee distribution should include: 

  • Employees who have indicated they do not wish to make a change during the It’s Your Choice open enrollment period.
    Remind these employees that they remain responsible for understanding the information contained in the 2021 Health Benefits Decision Guides and on the ETF website, and that their certificate of coverage is available on the ETF website. We encourage you to point employees to the enrollment checklist on the inside cover of the Health Benefits Decision Guide for important reminders. 
  • Insured employees on temporary layoff or leave of absence and those on permanent layoff paying premiums through the employer.
    Employees who allowed health insurance coverage to lapse while on a leave of absence or a temporary layoff that encompassed the entire open enrollment period should be advised they are eligible to make a health benefits election within 30 days of returning from the leave or layoff.

Electronic Distribution of the 2021 Health Benefits Decision Guides

Employers distributing open enrollment information electronically must incorporate the following as part of their electronic distribution procedures:

  • Develop a list of all eligible employees and use that list to match against their file of employee email addresses.
  • Verify the list and then send the employee an email (see sample email below) with the link to the guides and online information. Employers should send the email with a “return receipt.” This will establish a record of when the employee opened the email.
  • Due to federal regulations, employers must retain the list of employees who received an electronic copy of open enrollment materials. For each employee who is sent an email message, the employer should receive a “reject” notice if the email address is no longer in existence.

Note: While ETF generally recommends that you give new employees paper copies of the guides, distributing links to web versions or PDF files of the health benefits decision guides during the COVID-19 outbreak is acceptable. However, if employees who do not have access to a computer and/or employees who receive the electronic distribution but request a paper copy, must be given one.

Employee Responsibilities

Employees must contact health plans directly to request the most up-to-date information regarding service area and/or provider availability related to open enrollment.

Note: When contacting a health plan or Navitus, employees must identify themselves as a Wisconsin Public Employer Group Health Insurance Program subscriber in order to receive information pertinent to the program administered by ETF. It’s also beneficial if they state which program option they are offered; please provide this information to employees.

Health plans often report they are unable to contact current subscribers due to incorrect addresses on file. Please remind employees who participate in the group health insurance program that they are responsible for providing address changes and revisions of other relevant information, such as marital status changes, to you via a myETF Benefits update or the Group Health Insurance Application/Change (ET-2301) form.

Processing Changes

Employers are responsible for keying changes submitted on paper by using the myETF Benefits system found through the Online Tools link found on the ETF website by November 13, 2020. Once mailing addresses are updated, employees will receive provider information in a timely fashion, including information for the annual disabled dependent verification process, which enables dependents who remain eligible in 2021 to continue their current health insurance.

Note: If retirees are electing Medicare Some, they must complete a retiree paper application (ET-2331) and submit to ETF.

Employer’s Application Processing Instructions for It’s Your Choice

During the open enrollment period, employers have three options for handling requests from their employees:

Employers can require employees to use the Online Network for Members (ONM) site to file their requests through the myETF Benefits system. Employees must submit their electronic request no later than October 23, 2020. ETF strongly encourages employers to direct their employees to use the myETF Benefits system. Retirees may use myETF Benefits or complete the Health Insurance Application/Change for Retirees and COBRA Continuants (ET-2331) form, which will be included in the It’s Your Choice 2021 health benefits decision guide. Retirees electing Medicare Some  must complete and submit a retiree application (ET-2331) to ETF by October 23, 2020

Employers may require employees to file their requests by completing a Group Health Insurance Application/Change (ET-2301) form and submit the application to the employer no later than the end of the business day on October 23, 2020. If an employer elects to require a paper application, the employer must enter that application into the myETF Benefits system on behalf of their employee accessed through the Online Tools link on the ETF website. The application is not to be mailed or faxed to ETF for processing and keying. The deadline for employers to enter It’s Your Choice applications into the myETF Benefits system is November 13, 2020.

If the employee submits a paper application to their employer, ETF does not require that a copy of the application be submitted to ETF. Employers are not to make entries on behalf of their employee without an application as documentation of the employee’s request. The employer is to maintain a copy of the paper application in the employee’s file.

Either accept an electronic request from an employee or a paper Group Health Insurance Application/Change (ET-2301) form. Again, this is at the employer’s discretion to determine what will be acceptable.

If employers are going to accept a Group Health Insurance Application/Change (ET-2301) form, the following steps in processing the application are required:

  • Verify the employee completed the application in its entirety, including signing the application. The application should be promptly returned to the employee if it is incomplete. The application may be signed electronically, as long as the employer can verify the signature. A secure email from the employee stating their intent to apply for health insurance or change their coverage along with a complete health insurance application provided to ETF in the normal manner is acceptable in lieu of a signature.
  • Complete the employer section of the application in its entirety. Do not leave requested information blank.
  • Return a completed copy of the application to the employee. Do not send a copy of the application to ETF or the health plan.
  • All Group Health Insurance Application/Change (ET-2301) forms received by the employer on or prior to October 23, 2020, must be keyed into the myETF Benefits system by November 13, 2020. This deadline must be met by the employer to ensure health plans and Navitus receive the contract information timely so employees receive their health plan information and identification cards prior to January 1, 2021. 

Note: If retirees are electing Medicare Some, they must complete a paper application (ET-2331) and submit it to ETF.

Withdrawing/Rescinding an It’s Your Choice Application

Entry into myETF Benefits of an employee’s request to withdraw or rescind a health benefits application must be completed by ETF. Employees may rescind a 2021 application by notifying their employers in writing prior to December 31, 2020. The written request should be filed with the employee’s records. Forward one copy of the employee’s written request to rescind to ETF. An employee may also rescind their request by writing “Rescind” across the top of their original application and initialing.  Forward a copy of this updated application to ETF for processing and keep a copy for the employee’s file. ETF will update myETF Benefits by deleting the request and reinstating the employee’s original coverage.

If an employee submitted his/her request through the myETF Benefits system and now wants to rescind that request, the employee must submit a written request to their employer by December 31, 2020. Employers are to make a copy of that written request and forward it to ETF while retaining a copy for your employee’s records. ETF will update myETF Benefits by deleting the request and reinstating the employee’s original coverage.

Additional It’s Your Choice Instructions and Information

Specific instructions are found in the Local Employer Health Insurance Standards, Guidelines and Administration Manual (ET-1144):

Information if you have an employee initially eligible for coverage in November or December.

Instructions on completing the Continuation - Conversion Notice (ET-2311) if you have an employee who terminates employment in November or December after filing an It’s Your Choice application.

Information on the process to follow if you receive a late It’s Your Choice application, an application received after the last day of the It’s Your Choice open enrollment period. ETF reviews all late It’s Your Choice requests. Note that documents for late It’s Your Choice applications can be faxed to 1-608-266-5801, attention Employer Services.

Contact the Employer Communication Center at 1-877-533-5020 with questions or via email at etfhealthandins@etf.wi.gov.

Contacting the Health Plans

The updated Health Plan Contact List (ET-1728) is meant for employers to use when contacting the health plans for assistance with membership, supplies, etc. The contact list includes email addresses and fax numbers when available.

Note that employees who need assistance should contact the health plan directly, using the health plan contact information for members that will be available on the updated health plan pages soon and in the decision guides. These are customer service lines and are fully staffed to handle a large number of phone calls. Employees should specify they are enrolled in the Wisconsin Public Employers Group Health Insurance Program when calling the health plans.

Sample Employee Emails

You can use the below sample email to provide It’s Your Choice health benefits information to your employees:


Important Information about Your Health Benefits for 2021

The It's Your Choice open enrollment period, which begins on September 28 and ends on October 23, 2020, is right around the corner.

This is your chance to:

  • Enroll or make changes to your health insurance.
  • Add or decline Uniform Dental (Employer, if you offer Uniform Dental Benefits include this bullet. Strike it from your email if you do not offer Uniform Dental Benefits.)
  • Enroll in supplemental dental coverage. (Employer, reminder you have to opt into the Supplemental Dental Program before your employees can register for it. Strike this line from your email if you are not opting into the program.)
  • New: Enroll in supplemental vision coverage. (Employer, reminder you have to opt into the supplemental vision benefit before your employees can register for it. Strike this line from your email if you are not opting into the program.)
  • New: Enroll in the Securian Accident Plan. (Employer, reminder you have to opt into the Securian Accident Plan before your employees can register for it. Strike this line from your email if you are not opting into the program.)

Changes you make during open enrollment become effective January 1, 2021.

Your To-Do List:

Visit etf.wi.gov for information about your 2021 benefits.

  • View Important Changes for 2021 to learn about changes that may impact you in the upcoming plan year .
  • The deadline to submit your electronic request or your completed paper application to your benefits office is 4:30 p.m. on October 23, 2020. (Employer, replace this bullet with information about your electronic enrollment system, and/or alter the deadline time if your office is open later.)

Language assistance is available.