Mark Your Calendar: Upcoming Open Enrollment Events

With MSU’s Benefit Open Enrollment period rapidly approaching (October 1–31), you may have questions about your benefit options for the 2024 plan year. We are ready to answer your questions and help you enroll in your 2024 benefit options.

Mark your calendars and join us at the following events:

MSU Benefits Fair

Visit the fair to enroll in your benefits on-site or speak with MSU benefits providers and HR staff. Delta Dental will be offering presentations during the fair about the new Delta Dental PPO Premium plan option, and the MSU Pharmacy will provide flu shots from Noon to 5:00 p.m. by appointment only.


  • Benefits Fair: Thursday, October 12 from Noon to 7:00 p.m.
  • Delta Dental Presentations: 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. AND 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Flu Shots: MSU Pharmacy will provide flu shots from Noon to 5:00 p.m. by appointment only.


The MSU Benefits Fair will be held at the Breslin Student Events Center Concourse. Fair attendees should use Parking Lot 63.

Learn more about the MSU Benefits Fair on the HR website, including how to make an appointment for your flu shot, Delta Dental presentations, parking information, and participating providers.

HR Site Labs

MSU HR will be available to answer questions and help you enroll in your benefits at the following site labs.

When and Where:

  • October 18 | 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. | Virtual (see HR Site Lab webpage for virtual link)
  • October 24 | 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. | International Center, Spartan Rooms A and B
  • October 31 | 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. | HR Building, Room 125

Learn more about the HR Site Labs on the HR website, including directions, parking information, and how to join the virtual site lab.

As always, you can find information on all things Open Enrollment on the HR website. In addition to the events above, the HR Solutions Center is available to answer your questions at or 517-353-4434.

Time to Choose Your Benefits for 2024: Your Open Enrollment Checklist

October is just around the corner, which means the MSU Benefits Open Enrollment period (October 1-31) is about to begin for benefit-eligible employees. Please use the following checklist to help guide you through Open Enrollment and be sure to make your benefit selections for the 2024 plan year between October 1-31.

1. Determine your benefit needs

During Open Enrollment (October 1-31), you may enroll in, change, or cancel coverage in the following benefits:

  • Health
  • Dental
  • Flexible spending accounts (health and/or dependent care)
  • Life or accidental death and dismemberment insurance
  • Some voluntary benefits, including vision, legal, and critical illness insurance.

Make sure you review your Open Enrollment guide carefully and choose the best benefit plans for your family. You may not make changes to the above benefits outside of the Open Enrollment period unless you have a qualifying life event, so be sure to review your options and take action in October.

2. Complete the spouse/other eligible individual (OEI) affidavit

If you want to cover a spouse/OEI on your health care plan in 2024, you MUST complete the affidavit online through the EBS Portal every year. Find instructions to complete the affidavit as part of Open Enrollment. After you complete Open Enrollment in the EBS Portal successfully, you should receive a confirmation email. To receive the confirmation email, you must complete all the Open Enrollment prompts in the EBS Portal and then review and save your plan selections (even if you made no changes); you cannot simply answer the affidavit question and then exit the portal.

3. Review updates for the 2024 plan year

Updates for the 2024 plan year include:

  • We are pleased to offer a new dental plan option, Delta Dental PPO Premium, in addition to the existing dental plan options. Be sure to attend this year’s MSU Benefits Fair so you can listen to a Delta Dental presentation about the new plan option.
  • Employees who live outside the state of Michigan but within the U.S. will now have the option to enroll in the new BlueCard Out-of-State plan. Coverage for this plan is similar to the Blue Care Network plan but allows individuals who live outside the state of Michigan to enroll.
  • Due to recent contract negotiations, eligibility for the Consumer Driven Health Plan (CDHP) with Health Savings Account (HSA) has expanded to include APSA and CTU employees who live outside the state of Michigan. POAM, non-union support staff, faculty, and academic staff are still eligible to enroll.

Find all new and notable information on page 5 of your Open Enrollment guide.

4. Make your changes online before October 31

If you want to make changes to your benefit selections and/or cover a spouse/OEI on your benefit plans, you must participate in Open Enrollment between October 1-31 (view enrollment instructions).

5. Participate in the MSU Benefits Fair or an HR Site Lab

  • MSU Benefits Fair: We will be having an in-person benefits fair on Thursday, October 12 from Noon to 7:00 p.m. at the Breslin Student Events Center on campus. MSU benefit providers and HR staff will be available to answer questions and/or help you enroll in your benefits on-site. 

    The MSU Health Care Pharmacy will be offering flu shots during the fair between Noon at 5:00 p.m. by appointment only. The appointment calendar (managed by MSU Health Care Pharmacy) will close when all appointments are filled or 48 hours prior to the event. Make an appointment here.

    Delta Dental will be offering presentations about the new Delta Dental PPO Premium plan during the fair from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. and again from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • HR Site Labs: MSU HR will offer site labs on October 18 (virtual), October 24 (in-person at the International Center), and October 31 (in-person at the HR building). Consider attending if you have questions about your benefit options or need assistance with enrollment. 

We hope this checklist is helpful as you prepare for and participate in Open Enrollment this year. You can find all the details about Open Enrollment on the HR website, including links to the appropriate benefits guide, enrollment instructions, and detailed benefits information from our providers.

Questions? We’re happy to help! We encourage you to attend the MSU Benefits Fair or an HR Site Lab to ask questions. You may also contact the HR Solutions Center at or 517-353-4434.

Your Top Questions About MSU’s Optional Retirement Plans

Whether this is your first job out of school, or you’ve been working for 40+ years, it’s important to make sure you’re taking advantage of every opportunity to prepare for your eventual retirement. Most benefit-eligible employees* are aware of and enrolled in the 403(b) Base Retirement Program (BRP) offered by MSU, which consists of a 5% employee contribution of your eligible compensation and a generous university matching contribution of 10% – an immediate two for one match of your investment – for a total contribution of 15%. While this provides a great foundation for your retirement savings, most employees will eventually want to consider additional savings options for their retirement.

In addition to the BRP, eligible employees also have the option of enrolling in two additional retirement programs: the 403(b) Supplemental Retirement Program and the 457(b) Deferred Compensation Plan. Enrollment in one or both optional programs can help employees meet their retirement savings goals so they can more easily transition to retirement.

We’ve compiled a list of the top questions we receive as employees think about enrolling in these optional plans:

  • Q: Is there a minimum amount that must be contributed to one of the optional plans? What about a maximum amount?

    A: Employees may elect any percentage contribution, as all contributions are based on a percentage of eligible pay. For example, 1.50% would be an acceptable contribution election. Employees wishing to contribute a certain amount, such as $100 per paycheck, can use the calculating tool for converting a dollar amount to a percentage.

    Maximum contribution amounts are set by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) each year. Information on current IRS limits, including Age 50 Catch-up contributions, can be reviewed at maximizing your retirement plan contributions.
  • Q: Does contributing a small amount – such as $25 a month – make a difference in the long run?

    A: We encourage employees to work with their financial advisors or retirement vendors for assistance in deciding how much more to contribute. You may be surprised how a small contribution over a long period of time can impact your retirement account balance and may want to take advantage of compounding earnings as you save for retirement.
  • Q: What are the main differences between the 403(b) Supplemental and the 457(b) Deferred Compensation Plan?

    A: Generally, the differences are when an individual can access the funds and the loan provisions. Also, the 403(b) Supplemental contributions must be added with the Voluntary 403(b) Base contributions when calculating the IRS maximum contributions, whereas the 457(b) Deferred Compensation Plan has a separate IRS maximum limit. A more detailed comparison of the two different optional accounts can be found in the Retirement Plans Comparison chart.
  • Q: Can I enroll in an optional retirement plan account at any time?

    A: Yes, retirement plan elections can be made at any time. This includes beginning or canceling enrollment, increasing or decreasing contribution percentages, and changing vendors. Depending on payroll schedules and deadlines there may be a delay when the contributions start/stop. More detailed information can be found on the HR website at Enroll or Make Changes to Retirement Plans.

For more information about available retirement plans from MSU, please review the retirement resources on the HR website and the MSU Retirement Plans Enrollment Guide. Find instructions to enroll in these optional retirement plans at any time throughout the year. Please contact the HR Solutions Center with any questions at or 517-353-4434.

*Note: Certain types of employees are excluded to participate in the 403(b) Retirement Plan. Please see the 403(b) Base Retirement Program Eligibility Chart for more detail. 

FSA Deadline Reminder for 2022 Funds

Do you still have funds left over from your 2022 flexible spending account (FSA)? If you signed up for a health care FSA, dependent care FSA or both in 2022 and still have funds remaining in your account, you have a grace period in 2023 to use these funds.

The grace period gives you time to purchase new products or services before you forfeit unused 2022 funds. Don’t lose your money! Take note of the following important deadlines:

  • March 15, 2023: this is the last day you can incur qualified expenses on your 2022 FSA plan.
  • April 30, 2023: this is the last day you can submit your claims to HealthEquity/WageWorks, MSU’s FSA plan administrator. You can do this via your HealthEquity/WageWorks account or the WageWorks EZ receipts app.

The IRS requires you to forfeit any unused 2022 funds after the deadline, so be sure to spend your money and submit claims.

If you have a Dependent Care FSA, you can use pre-tax dollars to pay for eligible dependent care services, such as child or elder daycare, preschool, and before/after school programs. Find a complete list of eligible dependent care expenses here.

If you have a Health Care FSA, you can purchase a variety of products and services with pre-tax dollars. Find a complete list of eligible health care expenses here. If you need ideas for what to use your health care FSA funds on, check out the FSA store

Questions? Please contact HealthEquity/WageWorks directly at 877-924-3967 or visit the HealthEquity/WageWorks website to learn more about how to use your leftover 2022 funds before the deadline. You can learn more about FSAs on the HR website.

Answers to Your Questions About Vacation/Personal Paid Time Off (PTO)

Do you have a plan for using your vacation/personal paid time off (PTO) this year? According to this Forbes article, “American workers are notorious for being workaholics. Since March of 2020, an overwhelming majority of U.S. employees have shortened, postponed, or canceled their vacation time.” While most of us are aware that time away from work is crucial to maintain mental health and support our relationships, we sometimes have a hard time truly disconnecting.

While it may seem harmless to check in a couple of times while you’re away, to really benefit from a vacation you need to disconnect entirely. Review these tips for setting boundaries so you can get adequate rest and reset. Having a plan for setting boundaries with your team before, during, and after your vacation will help reduce pre- and post-vacation stress.

We encourage everyone to work with their supervisor to schedule a well-deserved break. And don’t forget, employee discounts for travel are available through MSU Benefits Plus and the HR website.

Your Top PTO Questions

The following are the most common questions HR receives regarding PTO and answers vary based on the employee’s personal details. These answers are only applicable to regular, benefit-eligible employees working half-time or more. Please make sure to reference the appropriate policy page for further details: support staff, faculty and academic staff, librarians, and MSU extension.

  1. How do I find out how much PTO I currently have?
    • Log into the EBS Portal and select My Time & Payroll from the top navigation, then select the Time Quota Balances tile. For support using the application, please review the Time Quota Balances help page.

  2. How do I find out how much PTO I have used?
    • Log into the EBS Portal and select My Time & Payroll from the top navigation, then select the Time Quota Usage Monthly Report tile. For support using the application, please review the Time Quota Usage Monthly help page.

  3. How do I enter my PTO in EBS for supervisor approval?
    • Login to the EBS Portal and select My Time & Payroll from the top navigation, then select the Time Entries & Statement tile. Enter the number of hours in the cell for the correct date in the row with the appropriate absence type. For support using the application, please review the Time Entries and Statement help page.

  4. What is the difference between personal leave and vacation PTO?
    • Eligible support staff are granted both personal leave and vacation PTO. Eligible faculty and academic staff are granted vacation PTO.

      For support staff, up to 24 hours of personal leave PTO is granted each fiscal year (July 1 – June 30). The amount granted is proportional to employment percentage. You may not carry these hours over to the next year, so make sure you use this PTO before the fiscal year ends. Please review the support staff personal leave policy page for more details. Please note: POAM employees should review the POAM union contract for their unique personal leave policy.

      Vacation PTO is granted to eligible employees and varies based on employee type, union affiliation, employment percentage, length of employment, and new hire status. Please review the appropriate policy for further details: support staff, faculty and academic staff, librarians, and MSU extension.

  5. I’m a new employee. Do I have access to my vacation PTO immediately?
    • This depends on your employee type. Eligible faculty, academic, and support staff have access to vacation PTO after 6 months of service. Eligible librarians and MSU Extension employees have access immediately upon employment. Please review the appropriate policy for further details: support staff, faculty and academic staff, librarians, and MSU extension.

  6. If I leave the university – such as through retirement or termination – what happens to my unused PTO?
    • Employees will receive payment for unused vacation PTO when they leave the university. Support staff will not receive payment for unused personal leave PTO.

  7. For Time Entry Roles Only: What are the absence and attendance codes?
  8. Support Staff Only: How do I accrue vacation days?
    • Eligible support staff accrue vacation days on a monthly basis. The amount accrued depends on union affiliation, employment percentage, and length of employment. Please review the support staff vacation time policy page for more details.

  9. Support Staff Only: Is there a maximum amount of vacation PTO I can accrue?
    • Yes. The maximum amount eligible support staff can accrue depends on union affiliation, employment percentage, and length of employment. Please review the support staff vacation time policy page for more details.

      Support staff cannot earn vacation time beyond the accrual limit. You are encouraged to use your PTO so you don’t lose out on valuable vacation time.

More information about PTO for eligible employees can be found on the HR website (support staff and faculty/academic staff). We encourage you to review the appropriate policy pages thoroughly to help answer any questions you may have. If you need further assistance, please contact the HR Solutions Center at or 517-353-4434.

Your Benefits: New Year Checklist

For benefit-eligible employees, the start of a new year is a great time to review all the benefit options available to make sure you’re fully utilizing them throughout the year. The following list of tips and resources to consider will help you get the most out of your employee benefits:

  1. Schedule Wellness Check-ups: if you’re enrolled in an MSU health, dental, and/or vision plan, you’ve just entered a new plan year. Even though an annual check-up is usually recommended by doctors, many people miss out each year because they forget to schedule an appointment. Set your family up for success by scheduling any annual or wellness check-ups now.
  2. Prepare for Illness: Teladoc is an online medical care service that gives you 24/7 access to a health care professional via web, phone, or mobile app in minutes. A doctor can even write you a prescription if necessary. Enroll in Teladoc now so you’re prepared when illness strikes. Available to employees and their dependents that are enrolled in an MSU health plan.
  3. Review Retirement Contributions: the IRS sets new retirement contribution limits each year. Make sure you’re saving as much as you can by reviewing the 2023 IRS retirement contribution limits and make adjustments if needed.
  4. Note Flexible Spending Account (FSA) Deadlines: if you’re enrolled in an FSA for the 2022 and/or 2023 plan year, please note important deadlines and resources for utilizing your FSA funds.
  5. Use Educational Assistance Funds: support staff and academic specialist employees have access to educational assistance funds to use towards professional development opportunities. These funds reset each fall, so make sure you don’t miss out. If you’re looking for learning opportunities, we recommend checking out courses offered by HR’s Organization and Professional Development department.
  6. Note Mental Health Resources: the MSU community offers a variety of mental health resources to employees and their dependents.
  7. Save Caregiver Resources: the MSU WorkLife Office has an extensive list of resources for caregivers. Bookmark this page so you’re prepared when you need it.
  8. Schedule Vacation/Personal PTO: taking time to rest and reset is important to maintain mental health. Make sure you’re using all your PTO by planning out and scheduling your time off in advance.
  9. Employee Discounts: Visit the MSU Benefits Plus website for deals and discounts on everything from travel and experiences to electronics and toys. Additional discounts can be found on the MSU Human Resources website.
  10. Voluntary Benefit Options: you may enroll in, change, or cancel auto, home, and pet insurance benefits at any time through the MSU Benefits Plus website. Legal, critical illness and vision insurance only allow benefit changes during Open Enrollment in October.
  11. Register for Free Diabetes Management Program: if you or a dependent are living with diabetes, Livongo by Teladoc Health can help by providing free necessary medical supplies and optional coaching. Employees or dependents enrolled in Medicare are not eligible.
  12. Get a Second Medical Opinion: if you are facing a serious medical diagnosis, Teladoc Medical Experts can review your case and offer a second medical opinion from leading health care specialists. Coaching and online educational tools are also available. Employees with mandated insurance under the ACA are not eligible.

We hope this list will help keep you on track as you plan out how you and your family will use your employee benefits this year. You can learn more about these benefit options on the HR website.

Employee Discounts to Support your 2023 Resolutions

Another new year means new resolutions, and MSU Benefits Plus wants to make those goals and tasks more achievable than ever. Below, you can learn more about these exclusive health, wellness, and other helpful discounts for MSU employees and start your journey to a happy new year today!

To access these discounts and more, login to MSU Benefits Plus today. If you haven’t used MSU Benefits Plus previously, register using your employee email address and set up an account. 

Exercise and Mental Health

  • Future â€“ Receive 50% off your first 3 months of 1:1 custom personal training through Future Fitness. Discount is automatically applied at checkout.
  • Yours â€“ Sleep, meditate and heal. Save up to 70% on a yearly plan or 40% on a monthly plan through Yours. Use code CORESTREAM2022.
  • Calm â€“ 57% off a one-year subscription for the Apple App Store and Google Play Store’s most popular mental wellness application ($29.99 instead of $69.99).


  • CoreStream â€“ Specializing in finding the cheapest flights on the best carriers, use CoreStream’s online booking engine to search for flights, comparative shop, and book online with just a few clicks. Save up to 70% on your next flight!
  • Tickets at Work â€“ Find deals of up to 60% off hotels in tons of destinations using this exclusive link.


  • Spartan Bookstore â€“ If you are looking for books to learn something new or just to enjoy some reading, visit the Spartan Bookstore for 10% off new and used books with your faculty/staff ID.
  • Rosetta Stone – Get 12 months of language learning from Rosetta Stone for only $95.88 (normally $119.88) when you sign up through the exclusive link!


  • Apple – Get ready for the best deals if you choose to spend your holiday gift money on new Apple products, because MSU employees get exclusive pricing through the Employee Purchase Program.
  • Dell â€“ Ready to upgrade your workspace in 2023? Save up to 30% on select systems through Dell Member Purchase Program Discounts.

The HR website also offers other deals you can find on-campus through the MSU Tech Store, MSU Bakers, and the Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center, among others. You can check out some of those deals through the MSU HR Website. For more information on discounts from MSU Benefits Plus, visit the HR website. If you have any questions about the discounts, please call MSU Benefits Plus at 888-758-7575.

New Year, New Professional Development Courses!

HR’s Organization and Professional Development (OPD) department has spots open in the following courses to support your learning and development in January and February:

  • Maximizing the Spartan Experience | January 17 | Virtual
    This engaging training provides a foundational perspective related to enhanced customer service delivery.
  • Everything DiSC: Behavior Styles at Work | January 18 | Virtual
    Everything DiSC® helps you build more effective working relationships based on an understanding of different behavioral styles.
  • Grammar Refresher | January 24 | Virtual
    Strengthen your grammar and usage skills and present a more polished, professional image.
  • The Power of Habit | January 25 | Virtual
    Learn how to spot your habit loop, turn bad days into good data, and create habits that get the results you want.
  • Promapp, Interactive Process Creation | February 1 | Virtual
    Learners will continue their process improvement journey and build upon the knowledge and skills learned in Introduction to Process Mapping.
  • Implicit Bias Certificate Series | Starts February 7 | Virtual
    The Implicit Bias Certificate series allows participants to examine the multiple facets of implicit bias and its impact on our community through a series of modules.
  • Crucial Conversations for Accountability | Starts February 7 | In-Person
    This engaging two-day course, previously titled Crucial Accountability, teaches nine powerful skills for resolving performance problems, strengthening trust and reliability, and eliminating inconsistency through group discussion, real-time practice, and group support and coaching.
  • Building Cohesive Teams| February 8 | Virtual
    Explore strategies to increase team cohesiveness and establish positive day-to-day interactions to enhance communication, build team awareness and cultivate trustworthiness in the work culture.
  • Creating and Sustaining a Positive Workplace| February 16 | Virtual
    This course provides humorous insight into the seven habits of negativity, including tips to stop gossip, techniques for getting along with others, and strategies to reap the many benefits of a positive and engaged workforce.
  • Cultural Competency | February 20 | In-Person
    One of MSU’s guiding principles is to lead inclusively, actively, and intentionally to promote full participation and a sense of safety and belonging for all employees and staff. Join us in building cultural awareness and inclusiveness skills that strengthen cultural competence.
  • Strategic Planning| February 22 | In-Person
    Participants will gain a foundational base for implementing strategic planning in a unit.

You can find all the current Organization and Professional Development courses on the HR website. Class enrollment is completed within the EBS Portal. Employees may use available educational assistance funds towards course fees (if any).