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Board Approves 2018 State Group Health Insurance

Health plans participating in the state group health insurance program will have a 0% premium increase next year, as approved by the Group Insurance Board last week. Local government employees who participate in the program will have an overall 3.3% premium increase

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

In June the Joint Committee on Finance took action on the Department of Employee Trust Funds part of the 2017-2019 executive state budget, a proposal of how the state should manage expenses for the next two years. The budget bills, 2017 Assembly Bill 64 and 2017 Senate Bill 30, are currently before JCF and are delayed past the July 1 start of the fiscal biennium.

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SWIB Will Continue to Be Innovative, Agile, and Work for WRS Members -- by Michael Williamson, SWIB Executive Director

In 1976 I accepted a job with the town of Waynesville, N.C., obtaining rights-of-way from property owners so the town could build a sewer line. It was my first job after college and it began a 41-year career in public service. This December, that journey will draw to a close when I retire from the State of Wisconsin Investment Board. Over the course of four decades I have been blessed with opportunities to serve at numerous levels of state and local government as well as in higher education. It has been quite a ride.

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Why Active Management Matters

The State of Wisconsin Investment Board has long been considered a low-cost pension fund manager that provides solid returns for the Wisconsin Retirement System. One way SWIB manages its costs effectively, provides respectable returns, and helps protect the WRS from another market downturn is through a combination of active and passive management of the trust funds. 

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Board Corner -- Nominations Sought for Technical College Teacher Member Seat

Here's a great opportunity to serve on an important Wisconsin Retirement System governing board: ETF has issued a call for nomination papers for serving on the Teachers Retirement Board as the technical college district teacher member. Any WRS teacher participant employed by a Wisconsin technical college is eligible to run for this seat on the board. The term of office begins in May 2018.

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Why Are You in Public Service?

"Growing up in a large family that farmed, my mom would say, 'if someone needs your help, you should do what you can to help them.' I am in public service to be a part of an even larger family devoted to helping others. I take great pride in that."

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WRS Employee Benefits Seminars Set for Fall

Attend a Wisconsin Retirement System employee benefits seminar and come away with a greater understanding of your WRS benefits and how they work. These one-hour evening presentations, hosted by the Department of Employee Trust Funds in cities throughout Wisconsin, are designed for all members, especially those who are within five years of retirement. Topics covered include the retirement process itself, return-to-work rules, the Core and Variable Trust Funds, beneficiary designations, purchasing service, how "life events" affect your benefits, and much more. Questions are encouraged!

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Caution: Some Retirement-Related Choices Can Not Be Changed

Some decisions that members make at retirement can be changed post-retirement, such as tax withholding and beneficiary designations. Some decisions cannot be changed. The following scenarios are good examples of members misunderstanding their annuity options at the time they retired.

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Wanted: Community-Minded Technical College Teacher -- by R. Thomas Pedersen, Board Member

The Wisconsin Retirement System has a vacancy on the Teachers Retirement Board for a technical college teacher member.

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SWIB Analyst Honored as Industry 'Rising Star'

Jason Rector, a State of Wisconsin Investment Board analyst, has no problem working behind the scenes for Wisconsin Retirement System members — but that doesn't mean the work he is doing goes unnoticed.

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Changes to Group Life Insurance

Did you know that recent changes to administrative rules broadened the definition of "dependent" for life insurance purposes? The new definition expands coverage for dependents from birth until age 26, removing the requirements that the dependent be:

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Which Annuity Option Should You Pick?

Your Wisconsin Retirement System retirement application will list all of the annuity options available to you. No matter which option you select, your annuity is paid to you for your entire life. It may also extend beyond your lifetime (e.g., to cover beneficiaries or fulfill a guaranteed number of payments), depending on which option you select and how long you live.

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WDC Participants: Schedule Your Retirement Readiness Review

Are you financially prepared for retirement? A Retirement Readiness Review, offered by the Wisconsin Deferred Compensation Program (WDC), will help you find out. During this personalized review, you and your local WDC representative will go over your future pension, other sources of retirement income and projected future expenses in order to create a plan to achieve your retirement goals.

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Projections for Effective Rates and Annuity Adjustments

Your Wisconsin Retirement System account is credited annually with the effective rates of interest — Core and Variable (if applicable). These rates are announced in February, after final calendar year investment returns have been determined and an actuarial analysis conducted. What can you expect in terms of the rates next spring?

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Benefit/Health Fairs, Webinars are Great Learning Opportunities

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 learning opportunities applicable to where your circumstances and where you live.

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Search Under Way for New Executive Director

The State of Wisconsin Investment Board announced in June that Michael Williamson will retire as executive director at the end of 2017. The Board of Trustees has launched a nation-wide search for Williamson's replacement and plans to have the position filled prior to his retirement.

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Senate Confirms Reappointment of Two Trustees

Board Chair David Stein and Vice Chair Norman Cummings have been reappointed to serve on the Board of Trustees for the State of Wisconsin Investment Board. The trustees are gubernatorial appointments. The Senate Committee on Revenue, Financial Institutions and Rural Issues recommended reappointing Stein and Cummings. The recommendations were approved by the Senate in June. Both trustees will serve six-year terms that expire in May 2023.

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2017 Well Wisconsin Incentive Deadline October 20

Employees and their spouses/domestic partners enrolled in the State of Wisconsin or Wisconsin Public Employers Group Health Insurance Programs still have time to earn the $150 Well Wisconsin incentive through StayWell. The deadline to earn the 2017 incentive is October 20, 2017. Use StayWell's secure wellness portal to earn your incentive and access tools and resources that support you in achieving your health goals.

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Does Your Employer Have Your Current Address?

Currently, your employer provides the Department of Employee Trust Funds with your mailing address for correspondence. ETF needs your current address because we're building a new benefits administration system and we'll use the new system to mail your annual WRS Statement of Benefits to you, beginning next spring.

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Online Appointments Convenient and Easy Way to Connect with ETF

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

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ETF to Move to Hill Farms

You may have already heard that the Department of Employee Trust Funds, along with eight other state agencies, are slated to relocate to new state office building space in the Hill Farms property on Madison's West Side.

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