Answers to Your Top Questions on Preparing for Retirement

Have you worked at MSU for at least 25 years in a benefit-eligible position? Or are you at least 62 years old and worked at MSU for at least 15 years in a benefit-eligible position? If you answered yes to either of these questions, you may be thinking about retiring from MSU someday (or even soon).

To help you prepare for retirement, we’ve compiled a list of the top questions we receive as employees think about transitioning to retirement:

Q1: What will be the retiree health care plan?

A1: This depends on whether you, your spouse/other eligible individual (OEI) or any covered dependents are eligible to enroll in Medicare when you retire. Review the Effect of Retirement on Benefits for details about your situation and the applicable year Open Enrollment Guide for Retirees for health plan information.

Q2: How much will retiree health care cost?

A2: Most retirees are eligible to receive the full university contribution level towards retiree health and dental benefits. To determine your level of university contribution, please review the Retiree Benefits Policy to understand your “Retirement Calculation Date” and your level of “FTE Service Months” (both can be viewed in your Personal Profile tile in the EBS Portal), and how they will affect the amounts that you pay in retirement. Then check the appropriate health care Monthly Plan Premiums chart in the applicable year Open Enrollment Guide for Retirees to determine the cost.

Q3: Am I eligible to cover my spouse/OEI or dependents on my retiree health care plan?

A3: Your “Retirement Calculation Date” (which can be viewed in your Personal Profile tile in the EBS Portal) will determine the university’s contribution for your spouse/OEI and dependents toward retiree health and dental coverage based on university policy. To see which contribution you will qualify for, please review the Retiree Benefits Policy. Even if you’re not eligible to receive a university contribution toward retiree health care for your spouse/OEI or other dependents, you can still enroll them in the university’s group retiree health care plan by paying the full premium cost.

Q4: How is retiree health care different from my current coverage?

A4: Please review the Health Plan Coverage Summary in the applicable year’s Open Enrollment Guide for active employees (faculty or support staff) and retirees to compare the benefits offered.

Q5: What does retiree health care cover?

A5: Please review the Retiree Open Enrollment Guide to view the Health Plan Coverage Summary for benefits offered.

Q6: Does the retiree health care plan include prescription drug coverage?

A6: Yes. Your retiree health care plan and prescription drug coverage is bundled together in one plan. To learn more about the prescription drug coverage, please review the Summary of Health and Prescription Plan Provisions in the Retiree Open Enrollment Guide.

Q7: Is Medicare necessary?

A7: Yes. If you, your spouse/OEI, or any other covered dependent are eligible for Medicare by being age 65 or older, or due to disability (SSDI), the eligible individual must enroll in Medicare Parts A and B (please do NOT enroll in Part D). Please review this Medicare and Social Security Information for more details about enrolling. Once you’re enrolled, you will need to send MSU Human Resources your MBI number from your Medicare card to enroll in MSU’s retiree health care plan.

Q8: Which parts of Medicare do I need?

A8: You must enroll in Medicare Parts A and B (please do NOT enroll in Part D). Please review this Medicare and Social Security Information for more details about enrolling. Once you’re enrolled, you will need to send MSU Human Resources your MBI number from your Medicare card to enroll in MSU’s retiree health care plan.

Q9: When should I sign up for Medicare?

A9: You should enroll in Medicare Parts A & B at least 2-3 months in advance of the effective date, as it will take time for Medicare to process your application and send you your Medicare card (which you will need in order to send MSU Human Resources your MBI number to enroll in the MSU retiree health care plan). If you are eligible for a Special Enrollment Period with Medicare, contact the HR Solutions Center at SolutionsCenter@hr.msu.edu or 517-353-4434 to complete the required form.

Q10: How early do I have to request retirement from MSU?

A10: We suggest you submit your MSU Retirement Form at least 90 days prior to your planned retirement date so we can ensure your enrollment in Medicare and/or the MSU retiree health care plan is completed smoothly and timely. You can submit your completed form up to 120 days in advance of your planned last day of work (for support staff positions) and up to 365 days in advance of your planned retirement date (for faculty, academic staff and executive management positions). You will submit your Retirement Form in the EBS Portal. Instructions to complete and submit the form are available.

Q11: How do you request retirement?

A11: You will submit the MSU Retirement Form via the EBS Portal. Instructions to complete and submit the form are available for your assistance.

Q12: As a support staff employee, what are my options regarding my unused vacation, personal and compensatory time?

A12: There are 3 options:

  1. Receive payment after your retirement date.
  2. Use all your time before your retirement date. After you indicate your last day worked on the Retirement Form, Human Resources will review your form and your available unused vacation, personal and compensatory time to determine your official retirement date.
  3. Combination of the options listed above: On the Retirement Form, please fill in the Notes section with the number of hours and type of hours (vacation, personal, and/or compensatory time) that you would like to use after your last day worked.

For more information on preparing to retire from MSU, please review the retirement resources on the HR website. These include a Roadmap to Retirement webinar, the effect of retirement on your benefits, information about Medicare and Social Security, a retirement checklist and much more. If you’re ready to take the next step, we recently made updates to the Retirement Form in the EBS Portal to make it more user-friendly.

Don’t Forget Your 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. As a benefits-eligible employee, you’re probably aware of MSU’s health and dental care benefit options. However, on top of those, there is a 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. 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 graphic provides a quick summary of these optional benefits (click the image for a 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. Read an employee’s perspective on Livongo and find instructions to sign up.
  • Teladoc Medical Experts (formerly 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 Mental Health Navigator tool offers expert advice on the diagnosis and treatment options for mental health conditions. Learn more about the services Teladoc Medical Experts offers.
  • Voluntary Benefits and Employee Discounts: these are optional benefits offered through MSU Benefits Plus. Find insurance offerings such as vision, 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 an on-campus location you can visit and offers a variety of services to help you manage your prescriptions.

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.

Employee Discounts to Support your 2022 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 all of these discounts and more, login to MSU Benefits Plus today. If you haven’t used MSU Benefits Plus previously, register using your ZPID number (located on your Spartan Card ID badge or in EBS). 

Exercise and Mental Health:

  • Zeamo – On Demand workouts and fitness classes from top fitness brands and instructors – select free workouts and get 50% off your first month of gym and studio access with promo code 50OFF09.
  • Fitbod – Workouts that improve as you do by studying your strength and training ability, all from your phone – 25% off membership with promo code CORE.
  • Calm – 57% off of 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).

Travel:

  • LMT Club – A free membership to the exclusive Last Minute Travel club (a $50 value), a website created so you can get the best deals on hotels and other travel needs.
  • Tickets at Work – Find deals of up to 60% off hotels in tons of destinations using this exclusive link.

Taxes:

  • Turbo Tax – While it’s no one’s favorite part about the new year, get a little more excited about filing your taxes by saving up to $20 using the link found on the MSU Benefits Plus website.

Education:

  • Spartan Bookstore – 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.
  • Walden University – The new year is the perfect time to gain some new knowledge that can support you in your career. Receive10% off your tuition for bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs at Walden University with this link.

Tech:

  • Apple – Get ready to get 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 using this link.
  • Dell – Ready to upgrade your workspace in 2022? Get the best prices from Dell’s Work from Home Bundles with Member ID PS113067902.

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.

Recognize World Diabetes Day with Livongo

World Diabetes Day was November 14 and MSU HR is here to remind you that if you are living with diabetes, Linvongo can help. 

Livongo is a diabetes management program offered 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.

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. 

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 [minimum], 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.

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. 

Recognize World Diabetes Day with Livongo and find more testimonials like Jeff’s 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.

Don’t forget your MSU employee discounts this holiday season!

As a benefits-eligible MSU employee, you have access to various discounts and savings that can help you find the perfect holiday gifts. Through MSU Benefits Plus, you can find discounts and special offers on products such as electronics, toys 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.

The following are a few of the deals you can find through MSU Benefits Plus:

  • 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.
  • Amish Furniture Company – Receive a 10% discount on all purchases using coupon code EDU10% during check out (may request proof of MSU affiliation).
  • Best Buy – Save 20% on select cell phone accessories including OtterBox, LieProof, Mophie, Speck, Kate Spade NY, Under Armour, and more when you use promo code 20percentoff at checkout.
  • Calm – Get 57% off* the #1 app for meditation and sleep through this link.
  • HP Gaming Gear – The HP Employee Purchase Program (EPP) offers HP consumer products at discounts typically up to 10% – 50% off starting prices through this exclusive link.
  • Kiwi Crate – Inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers, and save 35% off your first month’s box when you use this exclusive link!
  • Magazine Advantage – get up to 90% off the most popular magazines offering titles such as People, Better Homes & Gardens, Entertainment Weekly, Southern Living, Martha Stewart Living & more! Buy for yourself or send as a gift 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.

Updates to Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D) Insurance for the 2022 Plan Year

AD&D insurance is a voluntary, employee-paid benefit that provides various amounts of coverage for accidental death or dismemberment that occurs at any time (not just during work). AD&D insurance is available to all benefit-eligible employees and their spouse/other eligible individual (OEI) or dependent children. You can only enroll, make changes or cancel coverage in AD&D insurance during the Open Enrollment period in October.

AD&D coverage is available at 1 to 10 times your annual salary. Benefit levels vary by type of insurance selected (employee-only or family) and the extent of the injury. Benefit amounts for your spouse/OEI and/or child(ren) are based on a percentage of your benefit amount. To calculate your monthly rate, review the Support Staff Open Enrollment Guide or Faculty/Academic Staff Open Enrollment Guide.

Please review the Prudential brochure for AD&D insurance to find details about the plan. We’ve highlighted a few plan enhancements for the 2022 plan year below that may help you determine if this optional benefit is right for you and your family:

  • The maximum benefit has increased for employee coverage to $1,500,000 (from $1,000,000) and spouse/OEI coverage to $750,000 (from $600,000).
  • The child only benefit amount has increased from 20% to 25% of the eligible employee benefit.
  • The spouse & child benefit amount increased to 50% spouse/20% child (from 50% spouse/15% child).

Additionally, other updates for the 2022 plan period include benefit amounts for triplegia, motorcycle safety equipment, home alteration/vehicle modification, critical burns, mortgage payment, funeral expenses, monthly rehabilitation, and surgical replantation. Find details about these new benefits for the 2022 plan year here.

Questions? MSU’s plan administrator for AD&D insurance is Prudential. If you have questions, we encourage you to speak to a Prudential representative during the MSU Virtual Benefits Fair this October or contact Prudential at 877-232-3555. Additionally, find further details about AD&D insurance in the Prudential brochure available on the HR website.

It’s Time to Choose Your Benefits for 2022: Your Open Enrollment Checklist

October is just around the corner, which means the MSU Benefits Open Enrollment period (October 1-31, 2021) is about to begin for benefits-eligible employees. Please use the following checklist to help guide you through Open Enrollment and be sure to make your benefit selections for the 2022 plan year between October 1-31, 2021.

1. Determine your benefit needs

During Open Enrollment, 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 the Open Enrollment guide carefully and choose the best benefit plans for your family. Find Open Enrollment guides on the HR website.

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

If you want to cover a spouse/OEI on your benefits plan, you MUST complete the affidavit online through the EBS Portal every year. Find instructions for completing the affidavit as part of Open Enrollment here.

3. Review the changes for next year’s plans

Changes for the 2022 plan year include:

  • Increase to Maximum Benefit for Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D) Insurance: You can enroll in AD&D coverage at 1 to 10 times your annual salary, up to a maximum of $1,500,000 for the employee (increased from 1,000,000), $750,000 for a spouse/OEI (increased from 600,000), or $100,000 per child (no change). Additionally, various benefit enhancements are included for the 2022 plan year. Learn more about AD&D insurance in the open enrollment guides on the HR website.
  • Upgrades to Critical Illness Insurance Coverage Effective January 1, 2022: The upgraded plan offers more benefits with coverage for different, distinct medical conditions. Contact MSU Benefits Plus at 888-758-7575 or visit MSUBenefitsPlus.com for details. If employees are currently enrolled and do not change their coverage election during open enrollment, their plan will be upgraded automatically as of January 1, 2022.

4. Make your changes online before October 31

If you want to make changes to your benefits selections and/or cover a spouse/OEI on your benefits plans, you must participate in Open Enrollment from October 1-31, 2021. Find enrollment instructions here.

5. Ask questions at the MSU Benefits Fair or HR site labs

Please Note: events are subject to change at any time due to the pandemic. Please review the most updated details on the HR website.

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.

Questions? We’re happy to help! We encourage you to get in touch via phone or email. Limited in-person help will be available by appointment only. Please call or email the HR Solutions Center at 517-353-4434 or SolutionsCenter@hr.msu.edu to make an appointment or ask a question.

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.

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.


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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