UWMadison employees have more ways than ever to get help with benefits enrollment

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The Benefits and Resource Fair (pictured in 2011) will bring together a host of resources on Tuesday, Oct. 17, at Union South. The fair provides an opportunity to meet with benefits representatives, discover campus resources, and attend presentations on topics such as investment basics, budgeting, and planning for retirement. Photo: Jeff Miller

Every fall, current UW–Madison employees engage in Annual Benefits Enrollment. This is the only time employees can make changes to certain benefits without having an eligible life event (such as marriage, birth or divorce) or qualifying employment change during the year. In addition, certain benefits require re-enrollment each year.

This year, Annual Benefits Enrollment began on Oct. 2 and concludes on Oct. 27, with any changes in benefits becoming effective in January 2018. UW–Madison offers a number of resources to make the process more understandable and less stressful.

New this year is ALEX, an interactive online tool that acts as a virtual benefits counselor. ALEX asks the user a series of questions and suggests appropriate benefits plans based on the answers. This engaging tool uses everyday language, rather than industry jargon, to help employees understand their benefits options. Each session is personalized and completely anonymous. Employees are encouraged to walk through their options with ALEX before they enroll in benefits plans for 2018.

The Benefits and Resource Fair brings together a host of resources and is appropriate for all UW–Madison employees. Scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 17, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Union South, the fair provides an opportunity to meet with benefits representatives, discover campus resources, and attend presentations on topics such as investment basics, budgeting, and planning for retirement. Representatives will be on hand to answers questions and help employees enroll in benefits online via Self Service (eBenefits). Flu shots will also be available (interested employees should bring their insurance card). No leave needs to be taken to attend the Benefits Fair, and pre-registration is not required.

Benefit-eligible employees can also attend Benefits Seminars to be held at various locations and times around campus through Oct. 23. Each seminar will review changes to the 2018 UW benefits package. Time will be allocated for questions and answers, and again, employees can enroll in their benefits for 2018 using Self Service (eBenefits). No pre-registration is required to attend a Benefits Seminar, and employees may attend any session that best fits their schedule.

Assistance with online enrollment in benefits via Self Service (eBenefits) is also available at four open lab sessions scheduled for various campus locations. The open labs are particularly helpful to employees who lack regular access to computers or need assistance with online enrollment. Those who wish to “do it themselves” may go directly to the Self Service (eBenefits) website.

Finally, assistance is available to those employees who speak languages other than English. Benefits Seminars offered in Spanish, Hmong, Tibetan and Chinese are scheduled for Oct. 11, 18, and 20. After attending one of the Benefits Seminars, employees who would like interpretation services for an individual benefit appointment should contact their department or Cultural Linguistic Services.

Eligible UW–Madison employees are able to make elections from a comprehensive set of benefits. The full slate of events and online resources — including ALEX, the new personalized benefits counselor — is designed to make the process more understandable and more accessible to every employee at UW–Madison.

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