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Health Insurance Update

In February the Group Insurance Board approved moving to a self-insured/regionalized program structure for the group health insurance program, starting in 2018. The decision to change from the current fully-insured program structure capped off an intense year of discussion, review, and analysis of options and bids from third party administrators competing to provide administrative services for the program on behalf of our approximately 250,000 participants.

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Upcoming Well Wisconsin Expo, Wednesday Webinars

If you are in the Madison area, be sure to attend the 2017 Well Wisconsin Expo on Wednesday, May 10 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center. Hosted by the Department of Employee Trust Funds, this free event features more than 30 organizations with information on health plan resources, financial wellness, nutrition, and health awareness.

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Why Are You in Public Service?

"Every day I have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of the kids that I am honored to teach. I challenge myself to consistently keep that idea clearly in focus. If I am successful, I wholeheartedly believe that I am also helping to make Wisconsin a better place — one learner, one class, and one 'aha!' moment at a time."

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SWIB: Paying for Performance Works -- by Michael Williamson, SWIB Executive Director

This is the time of year when I get questions about incentive compensation payments. SWIB's Board of Trustees recently approved staff incentive compensation awards in recognition of investment performance that added $42 billion to the WRS Trust Funds over the past 10 years. I want to take this opportunity to talk with you about those payments and why they are important.

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SWIB Makes Investments in Wisconsin Businesses

Starting and growing a successful business is not easy. It may start with an idea, but between that idea and the goal is a great deal of planning and hard work to develop a blueprint for success.

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Legislative Update -- by Tarna Hunter, Director of Strategic Engagement and Government Relations

In February Gov. Walker released the 2017-2019 executive state budget, a proposal of how the state should manage expenses for the next two years. The budget bills, called 2017 Assembly Bill 64 and 2017 Senate Bill 30, are currently before the Joint Committee on Finance. The JCF has spent the last few months reviewing the proposed budget and will continue to review and make changes over the next few weeks. After JCF makes its recommended changes, the budget goes to the assembly and the senate for further review and, ultimately, back to the governor for signature. The governor can also veto the bill in whole or in part.

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Review Your Statement of Benefits

Have you reviewed your Wisconsin Retirement System annual Statement of Benefits? The statement is a summary of your year-end retirement account information that will eventually be used in benefit calculations. Keep your statement with your important paperwork — you receive this document only once a year and it contains a lot of great information about your benefits!

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New! Web Resources to Help You Navigate Your Statement

ETF has rolled out new online resources to help you review and understand your Wisconsin Retirement System annual Statement of Benefits.

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Effective Rates Applied to Employees' Retirement Accounts

The effective rates of interest have been applied to Wisconsin Retirement System active employees' retirement accounts. To learn how the rates affect you, review your latest Statement of Benefits, which was distributed in April.

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Know Your Benefits: Requesting an Estimate

I'm thinking about retiring in the next few years. How do I find out about my future benefit amount?

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WRS Fact: Final Average Earnings and Median Annuity

WRS fact: In line with national trends, Wisconsin's government employees are working longer and putting off retirement. The average retirement age for most WRS members (General and Teachers) is 61 and the median annual annuity is $17,957. This annuity only replaces 33.06% of their final average earnings. Consider this: Will you have enough other income, such as Social Security and personal savings, to support your needs in retirement?

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Teachers Retirement Board Election Results

Wisconsin Retirement System active teacher members elected the following individuals to serve on the Teachers Retirement Board: James Langkamp, teacher in the Baraboo School District, David Wiltgen, teacher in the Eau Claire School District.

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ETF Makes Changes to Improve Customer Service

ETF recently discontinued its walk-in appointment service, due to low demand. Most members are choosing the many different convenient and easy ways to access information about their Wisconsin Retirement System benefits, instead of traveling to our office in Madison.

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Members Like Virtual Appointments!

If you are nearing retirement and have your retirement estimate in hand

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ETF Webinars for Employees at All Career Phases

Stay informed about your Wisconsin Retirement System benefits and how they work for you! Whether you are a new hire, mid-career or nearing retirement, ETF has a live, interactive webinar applicable to your circumstances. ETF's webinars are conducted by a benefits specialist and focus on a single topic of interest. Webinars over the next several months will cover these important topics:

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WRS: Strong Public Workforce

Organizations that offer a defined benefit plan, like the WRS, have a significant advantage in attracting and retaining qualified employees, according to human capital and benefits consultant Willis Towers Watson. More than 620,000 individuals participate in the WRS, as either a current state and local government employee, former employee, retiree or beneficiary. Find out why the WRS is strong for Wisconsin.

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Innovative Program Helps You Get Financially Fit

The Department of Employee Trust Funds is pleased to be working in conjunction with the Center for Financial Security at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the Personal Finance Employee Education Fund, the University of Oxford and the Financial Fitness Group to provide a free, comprehensive financial fitness program to all WRS members.

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How Is My Retirement Benefit Calculated?

Contributions paid by you and your employer (plus applicable interest) are found in Section 9 of your Wisconsin Retirement System annual Statement of Benefits.

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Webinar: Investing in Collective Trust Funds

Now available: A recorded webinar about investing in collective trust funds, hosted by BlackRock, manager of several indexed collective trust fund options in the Wisconsin Deferred Compensation Program.

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LAB Completes SWIB Management Audit

The following is taken from an open letter to WRS participants from SWIB Executive Director Michael Williamson, following the release of the Legislative Audit Bureau's management audit of SWIB. For more information about the audit, visit our website.

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