Reminder to Take Advantage of Optional MSU Benefits and Resources

Like many, during the pandemic your family has probably experienced an increased need for virtual health care options, mental health resources, and opportunities to save money. MSU is committed to offering valuable benefits to support you and your family, especially during this difficult time. As a benefits-eligible employee, you’re probably aware of MSU’s health and dental care benefit options. However, on top of those, there are a wide range of optional benefits we’d like to remind you about as well.

Beyond meeting your health care needs, these optional benefits can help you save money on needed products and services, all while staying safe with virtual or socially distanced options. We realize keeping track of all these different resources can be overwhelming. To help, we’ve created the following recap to jog your memory with links to more detailed information to learn more.

This infographic provides a quick summary of these optional benefits (click the image for a downloadable PDF version):

Optional benefit programs available:

  • Teladoc: virtually speak with a doctor 24/7 via web, phone or mobile app. They can even write you a prescription if necessary. Employees have described Teladoc as “a game changer,” and particularly helpful during the pandemic (read employee experiences here). If you haven’t already, we recommend you sign up for Teladoc now, so you’re prepared when you need it.
  • Livongo: this diabetes management program provides free supplies delivered right to your door whenever you need it and support with optional virtual coaching. Save time and money on needed supplies, while staying safe at home. Read an employee’s perspective on Livongo and find instructions to sign up.
  • Best Doctors: get medical advice from experts on your specific medical condition and feel empowered to make the best choice possible for your care. Their Behavioral Health Navigator tool offers expert advice on the diagnosis and treatment options for mental health conditions. Learn more about how Best Doctors can help during the pandemic.
  • Voluntary Benefits and Employee Discounts: these are optional benefits offered through MSU Benefits Plus. Find insurance offerings such as vision, long-term care, legal, pet, home/auto, and critical illness (some have enrollment periods). Additionally, there are a variety of discounts on everything from electronics, home goods, meal delivery services and much more.
  • On-Campus Services: save time by getting your MRI, x-ray, or CT scan done right on-campus at MSU Radiology or have the MSU Pharmacy deliver your prescriptions directly to your home if you live within 30 miles of campus (on-campus delivery still available for free). MSU Pharmacy also has a new on-campus location you can visit with COVID-19 safety measures in place.

You might not always need or think of these resources, but keeping them tucked away can make it easier and more cost-effective to manage your family’s health. As always, if you have any questions about these benefits options, please visit the HR website to learn more or contact the HR Solutions Center at SolutionsCenter@hr.msu.edu or 517-353-4434.

Make a Plan During America Saves Week

America Saves Week (Feb. 22-26, 2021) is an annual event that encourages you to make a plan to increase your savings and improve your financial situation by utilizing your workplace retirement plan and the tools and resources they provide. Both of MSU’s retirement vendors, Fidelity and TIAA, have resources and tips on saving money, getting out of debt, and planning for retirement with live webinars, courses for financial literacy, and other tools. Be sure to review their resources on preparing for financial emergencies or managing unexpected expenses, which you may find especially useful during this difficult and uncertain time. 

Fidelity Resources

Fidelity is offering online workshops on a variety of topics including creating a budget, paying off debts, managing unexpected events and expenses, taking the first step to investing, preparing for retirement, and more. Fidelity members should consider registering for sessions (see link for details) that may be useful to your family’s current financial needs. If you can’t make the online workshops, check out this on-demand workshop called Taking Control: 3 Ways to Start Feeling Good About Your Finances. Other tools and calculators provided by Fidelity to their members can be found here.

Additionally, find resources on health and financial emergencies, building your financial “immune system” and emergency savings that are available for everyone.

TIAA Resources

TIAA’s Goal Planner webpage offers calculators and resources on how to save for things outside of your retirement plans, such as emergency funds, vacations, a home, and more. Additionally, TIAA has a financial goal planning PDF that allows you to track your money in detail. Use these tools to map your income and expenses, write down your goals, and match them to a time frame to complete them. 

If you’re struggling with debt, TIAA’s debt calculator tool will help you evaluate your current situation and then offer resources and tips to help. Additionally, their Retirement Checkup tool allows you to create a projection of how much income is needed in retirement.

Schedule a Virtual Consultation with Fidelity or TIAA

Both Fidelity and TIAA offer virtual appointments with financial consultants and encourage you to set up an appointment with them to ask any questions you have at no additional cost as part of your MSU retirement plan. Set up an appointment with your  TIAA consultant here or set up an appointment with your Fidelity consultant here. 

For general questions about retirement, visit the HR website or contact the HR Solutions Center at SolutionsCenter@hr.msu.edu or 517-353-4434. For questions about your specific retirement plans, please contact your retirement vendor directly.

Employee Discounts to Support New Year’s Resolutions

If you have any New Year’s resolutions related to health and wellness goals, MSU Benefits Plus has a variety of discounts and deals that may help you achieve them. These discounts and deals are exclusive to MSU employees.

To access all the discounts, visit MSU Benefits Plus and sign-in using your ZPID number (located on your Spartan Card ID badge), or you can find the number in EBS. If you haven’t used MSU Benefits Plus previously, you’ll need to sign-up using your ZPID number to access the discounts.

Exercise More

  • GlobalFit: explore GlobalFit’s growing library of free virtual classes and resources through Corestream’s GlobalFit Portal, along with exclusive discounts for members on popular fitness and wellness products. You will need to select “Activate Benefit” in the top right-hand corner and enter your contact details in order to access all the deals. Find deals on a variety of products and services, including LesMills on-demand fitness classes, virtual Honor Yoga and Meditation classes, elliptical and treadmill machines, gym memberships, POLAR heart rate monitors, and much more!
  • FitBod: Receive 1-month membership, plus 25% off your membership if you decide to sign-up. Visit the site to redeem your free month and/or follow the instructions to sign-up for membership and receive this 25% discount.

Reduce Stress

  • Calm App: Get 57% off* the #1 app for meditation and sleep! Enjoy access to the Calm app 1-year subscriptions for only $29.99 (normally $69.99) when purchasing through this link.
  • Headspace: Try Headspace and learn the essentials of meditation and mindfulness with their free Basics course. Enjoy a free two-week trial of Headspace using this link.

Eat Healthier/Cook More

  • Shipt: For $79 per year, receive unlimited free deliveries from participating retailers on all orders over $35. Plus, get $10 off your first order. To receive this special pricing, sign up using this link and redemption code: 5ABFF1969DF.
  • Freshly: sign up to get chef cooked, healthy meals delivered right to your door. Get $60 off your first five boxes when you use promo code get60 at checkout using this link.
  • Home Chef: Get 50% off your first home chef box (up to $40) when you use code CS50 at checkout using this link.
  • EveryPlate: try Everyplate at $2.99/meal + get 20% off next 2 boxes. Use coupon code Q6-4DFGE at this link..
  • PlateJoy: get $10 off at PlateJoy using promo code GET10 at checkout using this link.

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 at MSU HR Website.

For more information on discounts through MSU Benefits Plus, visit the HR website. If you have any questions about the discounts, please call MSU Benefits Plus at 888-758-7575.

Retirement Planning: 2021 IRS Retirement Plan Contribution Limits

Whether you’ve just started working at MSU or have been here for 30+ years, it is important that you continue to monitor and adjust how much you’re saving if you want to have a comfortable retirement.

The IRS places limits on how much employees can contribute to a retirement plan each year. The IRS recently announced the retirement plan limits for 2021:

  • The annual employee contribution amount continues to be $19,500 for 403(b) and 457(b) plans.
  • The age 50 catch-up contribution amount continues to be $6,500 for 403(b) and 457(b) plans.

If you want to save as much as you can for your retirement, there is a tool in the EBS Portal called the Max Savings Contributions Calculator available to assist you. This tool automatically displays the remaining amount of retirement contributions you have available before reaching one of the limits, and the equivalent percentage of your pay to help you spread that out for the year.

To access this tool:

  1. Login to the EBS Portal with your MSU NetID and password.
  2. Click the My Benefits tab at the top.
  3. Click the Benefit/Retirement tile.
  4. Select Enroll/Change my Retirement/Health Savings Account Options in the drop-down menu and then click Next in the bottom right.
  5. Navigate in the bar graph to the Savings Plans screen by clicking Next in the bottom right.
  6. The Max Savings Contributions Calculator screen will display. This display will automatically show the remaining amount of retirement contributions you have available (if any) before reaching the IRS limit.
  7. You can adjust the percentage of your contributions to any retirement plans you participate in by clicking on the pencil icon, and then choose Select to make the change.
  8. If you want to enroll in a new plan, begin by clicking on the paper icon next to the plan and vendor of your choosing, and then enter the percentage of your new contribution and choose Select to enroll.
  9. Make sure to click on Save in the bottom right to complete and save any changes/enrollments.

If you are an academic year faculty or academic staff employee, or a Voluntary 403(b) Base participant age 50 and over, contact the HR Solutions Center at 517-353-4434 or SolutionsCenter@hr.msu.edu for further assistance in calculating your maximum contribution percentage.

Learn More About MSU’s Retirement Plans 

The HR website contains a wealth of information about the different types of retirement plans offered, retirement investment vendors, and planning tools available.

By Golly, Be Jolly this Holiday Season with Deals and Discounts for MSU Employees!

Although this year’s holiday celebrations will no doubt look different than usual, there are still ways to make it feel special, whether your loved ones are together or apart. As a benefit-eligible MSU employee, you have access to various discounts and savings that can help you find the perfect holiday gifts this year thanks to MSU Benefits Plus. Through MSU Benefits Plus, you can find discounts and special offers on products such as electronics, footwear and more!

To access all the discounts, visit MSU Benefits Plus and sign-in using your ZPID number (located on your Spartan Card ID badge), or you can find the number in EBS. If you haven’t used MSU Benefits Plus previously, you’ll need to sign-up using your ZPID number to access the discounts.

Check out some of the deals you can find through MSU Benefits Plus below:

Apple – Enjoy employee pricing on most Apple products such as select iPhones, AirPods, MacBooks, Apple Watches and more when you shop through this exclusive link.

Foot Locker – Save $20 off $120+ at Foot Locker by using the code PARNOV20 at checkout.

HP – With the HP Employee Purchase Program (EPP) employees can save up to 70% during HP’s holiday and Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale! Your EPP discount can also be combined with other sales promotions.

Otterbox – Get 10% off your order plus free shipping when you use the promo code OTTER10 at checkout.

1800Baskets – Save 20% on seasonal gift baskets as well as any order from all of the 1800Flowers brands including when you use the promo code CSTREAM at checkout.

BMW – Through the BMW Group Corporate Sales Program, eligible employees can earn attractive incentives when leasing, financing or purchasing a new BMW or MINI. Earn up to $3,000 on a new BMW and $500 on a new MINI. When redeeming the Corporate Sales Program certificate, employees must type in the CSP Account # NEPP3703 to identify the provider first then type in your employer’s name in the Company Name field.

Sennheiser – Get 30% off Sennheiser’s headphones and headsets when you shop through this exclusive link.

BarkBox – Get your first BarkBox for only $15 when you shop through this exclusive link.

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 at MSU HR Website.

For more information on discounts through MSU Benefits Plus, visit the HR website. If you have any questions about the discounts, please call MSU Benefits Plus at 888-758-7575.

Use Your Free Livongo Benefit to Manage Your Diabetes

Are you or a family member living with diabetes? Data shows the prevalence of diabetes and prediabetes in the United States is rising each year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • More than 34 million people in the United States have diabetes, and 1 in 5 of them don’t know they have it.
  • More than 88 million US adults have prediabetes, and more than 84% don’t know they have it.
  • Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States (and may be underreported).
  • In the last 20 years, the number of adults diagnosed with diabetes has more than doubled as the American population has aged and become more overweight or obese.

So, what is diabetes? There are two variations: Type I and Type II. As explained by MSU’s Health eGuide, Type I diabetes occurs when the pancreas ceases to make insulin, a hormone that helps the body use sugar for energy. Lack of insulin causes a high blood sugar level, which can be harmful to many parts of the body and can increase the risk for other health complications. Type II diabetes differs in that the body is still able to make insulin, however, it is unable to use it in the right way. While Type I diabetes is not yet preventable, Type II can be avoided by living a healthy lifestyle (Healthwise Staff, 2020).

For those living with diabetes, MSU offers a benefit called Livongo – a diabetes management program completely free to MSU employees and their spouses/dependents. The Livongo program aims to reduce the burden on those living with diabetes by offering technology and support to help members easily manage their health.

One of the first to enroll in Livongo was Jeff Brodie, a Management Analyst for MSU Human Resources, who was diagnosed with diabetes in 2011. Here’s what Jeff had to say about his experience using Livongo: “There is nothing to lose at all, and everything to gain. Even if you sign up and do the minimal, you will be healthier than if you didn’t sign up at all.” You can read more about Jeff’s experience using Livongo in this previous HR blog post.

You can enroll for Livongo at any time and it takes less than 10 minutes to sign up. Once you register, you will receive a welcome kit in the mail. The kit contains your own Livongo connected meter, unlimited testing strips, a lancing device, lancets, a carrying case, and optional coaching by a healthcare professional. Many users say the best part of the program is the unlimited free test strips and lancets mailed right to your door whenever you need them – why pay for these supplies when they are available free?

To learn more about using your free Livongo benefit, visit the Livongo for Diabetes Management webpage. If you have questions or are ready to sign up, visit the Livongo website. Find more testimonials for Livongo here. Do you have your own experience with Livongo? We’d love to hear in the comments below or email us at hrcommteam@hr.msu.edu.

Sources:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2020, June 11). Diabetes Quick Facts. Retrieved November 23, 2020, from https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/quick-facts.html

Healthwise Staff. (2020, June 29). Diabetes. Retrieved November 23, 2020, from https://www.healthwise.net/health4u/Content/StdDocument.aspx?DOCHWID=center1010

Parental Leave for APA and APSA Support Staff Members

Whether you’re expecting to give birth, adopt or foster a child, we’ve got some exciting news for future parents! Beginning January 1, 2021, Administrative Professional Association (APA) and Administrative Professional Supervisors Association (APSA) support staff members will be eligible for MSU’s parental leave.

How does it work?

This policy allows eligible employees to take a maximum of four weeks of paid parental leave (PPL) per birth, adoption or placement of a child/children into their household starting January 1, 2021. After that, the maximum number of weeks will increase gradually in the coming years depending on the union.

APA

Eligible employees represented by APA can receive:

  • A maximum of five weeks starting January 1, 2022
  • A maximum of six weeks starting January 1, 2023

APSA

Eligible employees represented by APSA can receive a maximum of six weeks starting January 1, 2023.

For those employees who experience a birth, adoption, foster care, or guardianship on or after November 1, 2020, you will be eligible for paid parental leave starting January 1, 2021. Paid parental leave will not begin, however, before January 1, 2021.

Who is eligible?

To be eligible for the leave, employees must meet the following criteria:

  • Have been continuously employed with MSU, on a full-time basis, for at least 24 consecutive months before the launch of the leave
  • Have worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12 consecutive months immediately before the date the leave would begin
  • Be a full-time regular employee (part-time, temporary employees and on call are not eligible)
  • Meet one of the following:
    • Be the parent to the birth of a child, and to care for the newborn child; or
    • The parent of a child under the age of 18, that is newly added to the household through adoption, legal guardianship or foster care.

For full eligibility requirements and policy details, please visit the Parental Leave Policy page.

Questions?

If you have any questions about parental leave, please reach out to the Solutions Center at SolutionsCenter@hr.msu.edu.


Link

Join MSU’s Virtual Benefits Fair This Week!

In an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19, we will not be having an in-person Benefits Fair this year. Instead, we’re offering a Virtual Benefits Fair, which will consist of an online source for curated content from our benefits vendors (such as videos, brochures and more), along with special dates/times for virtual live chat options with HR staff and/or our benefit vendors. We encourage you to use these resources to help get answers to your questions or learn more about all the benefit options available to you as an MSU employee.

Dates and Times

The Virtual Benefits Fair will take place from October 12–16, with MSU HR staff and benefits vendors available to answer questions live via chat on Thursday, October 15 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Friday, October 16 from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. (some vendor hours may vary for live chat).

How to Join

Click on this link to the Virtual Benefits Fair webpage to join the fair.
Please register with your name and email if you wish to interact with HR staff and benefit vendors during scheduled live chat sessions. You can then use the username and password you register with to login to the fair. View this Guide to Participating in the 2020 MSU Benefits Open Enrollment Fair for more information.

Participating Benefits Vendors

The following MSU benefits vendors and MSU units will be participating in the Virtual Benefits Fair:

Health/Dental

  • Aetna Dental
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield/Blue Care Network
  • CVS/Caremark
  • Delta Dental
  • Humana
  • Livongo (Diabetes Management)
  • Teladoc (Telemedicine)/Teladoc Medical Experts (Formerly Best Doctors)

Life and AD&D

  • Prudential

Flexible Spending Accounts

  • HealthEquity/WageWorks

MSU Benefits Plus

  • ARAG (Legal Group)
  • Liberty Mutual (Auto & Home)
  • MetLife (Critical Illness, Auto & Home)
  • Nationwide (Pet)
  • Transamerica (Long-term Care)
  • VSP (Vision)

MSU Units

  • MSU Health Team
  • MSU Human Resources
  • MSU IT Services
  • MSU Organization and Professional Development
  • MSU Pharmacy
  • MSU WorkLife Office

Retirement

  • Fidelity
  • TIAA