The Resource

In This Issue

Holiday Tips
Your Benefits
UW Combined Fund Drive
Career Development
Retirement Seminars
Home Loan Program

Published: December 12, 2012

Happy holidays from UW Human Resources! This issue of The Resource is full of seasonal tips related to the many programs offered to UW faculty and staff for not only surviving the season, but also for thriving.

Holiday Tips  

New Year's "Revolutions"
Bicycling is the “revolutionary” answer to New Year’s resolutions aimed at improving your physical, mental, or financial health. Learn biking essentials to help give those 2013 resolutions some positive momentum! This free class covers how to ride safely on roads and trails, plan your bike route, get to campus in style and comfort, and more. Attend on Tuesday, January 15, from 12:30—1:30 p.m. Sponsored by U-PASS and presented by the Cascade Bicycle Club. To sign up, log in at Commuter Services.


Personal Reflection and Goal Setting
The holiday season and the start of a new year is a great time to remember yourself, and to take inventory of your life. Gear up for the new year by setting personal goals. This month, UW CareLink offers a tip sheet to help you understand how to formulate your goals so that you can stay on track. Suggestions include setting SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely), keeping a log, setting priorities, overcoming obstacles, rewarding yourself, and finding support.

Part of focusing on your goals and development is recognizing when you need extra support. UW CareLink offers free, confidential counseling services that include up to five sessions with a state-licensed professional who can help you stay on track and identify obstacles. To get started, simply call 866-598-3978.


Webinar: Creating Your Personal Development Plan
UW CareLink will offer a webinar, “Creating Your Personal Development Plan,” on December 18 at 9 a.m., 11 a.m., and 1 p.m. PT. To register, go to (enter code “UW” as the company code) and look for Online Seminars in the lower right hand corner. Since these times may not be convenient for everyone, the webinar will also be archived on the site and available for viewing by the beginning of January.


Beating the Holiday Blues: Signs of Distress for Violence Prevention
The time from Thanksgiving through the end of the year can be both joyful and stressful. The daylight hours are some of the shortest during the calendar year as the winter solstice approaches. Calendars are filled with family celebrations, travel, change in school schedules, and other commitments. Many people experience financial expectations and pressures around gift giving. The time period may be one where we notice increased behaviors of concern from members of our community. Some timely examples are:

  • Increased sadness, anxiety, or fatigue
  • Anxiety or unease about interacting with family (especially for students going home for winter break)
  • Financial distress
  • Strained relationships with current or former intimate partners or children
  • Increased alcohol consumption

A full list of behaviors of concern is available on the SafeCampus website. If you notice these behaviors or are concerned about someone, call SafeCampus at 206-685-SAFE (7233) for resources to help alleviate distress or consultation on concerning behavior.

Your Benefits  

Federal Health Care Reform Changes in 2013
Several health insurance reforms in the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) are due to take effect on January 1, 2013. These apply to PEBB’s medical plans, and may directly impact you or your loved ones. For example, the PPACA expanded preventive care services and treatments for women to include contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, breastfeeding counseling and equipment, and other services and treatments with no cost-sharing for members. Restrictions may apply so be sure to review plan details first.

PPACA also requires employers to report the cost of group health plan coverage on employees’ 2012 W-2 form, to be issued in January 2013. According to the Internal Revenue Service, the reported amounts are not taxable, but are instead intended to be informational and provide employees with greater transparency into overall health care costs.

And finally, the PPACA requires that a new Summary of Benefits and Coverage be made available to you. This tool allows you to compare things like:

  • What is not included in the plan’s out-of-pocket limit?
  • Do I need a referral to see a specialist?
  • Are there services this plan doesn’t cover?

While the summary will not replace PEBB’s current online benefits comparisons, plan descriptions, and certificates of coverage, it’s a great way to compare “apples to apples.”


Contribution Limits for 2013
Several UW benefits plans are subject to limits imposed by the Internal Revenue Code (IRC). Exceeding these limits could result in penalties and fees, so it’s a good idea to be aware of them. For 2013, the contribution limits will be:

Flexible Spending Account (FSA): Maximum contributions will be $2,500 per enrollee. Learn more about FSA.
Health Savings Account (HSA): If you are enrolled in a PEBB high deductible health plan with an HSA, the combined employer/employee contribution limits will be: $3,250 for individual coverage; $6,450 for family coverage; and an additional allowable $1,000 for a “catch-up” contribution, if you are 55 or older. Learn more about HSA.
UWRP & VIP Retirement Plans: The maximum combined employee/employer contribution limit allowed under IRC for 403(b) plans such as the UWRP and VIP is $51,000. For the VIP only, an additional $5,500 is allowed for each year, if you are age 50 or above. Learn more about these limits.

Keep Your Beneficiary Designations Current
Did you know that named beneficiaries on insurance policies and retirement accounts generally supersede instructions in a will? That's why it’s important to file and keep your beneficiary designations current. By periodically reviewing your beneficiary designations for your retirement plans, personal insurance plans, and other financial accounts, you can relax knowing that your assets will be distributed according to your wishes. Learn more about beneficiary designations.

Combined Fund Drive  

UW Community's Generosity is Priceless
The UW Combined Fund Drive campaign is wrapping up, and as we tally the results, we’ve already raised nearly $2 million for charitable nonprofits right here in our community and across the globe. Final results will be posted in January.

Thank you to all who took action and gave this campaign season—through payroll deduction, volunteering, participating in events, or by donating food, necessities, and spare change—and for making a difference in so many lives. The impact you have made through your generosity is priceless.


Last Chance to Complete Your 2012 Health Assessment
Get immediate feedback on your health through a simple questionnaire called a "health assessment." As part of your state-sponsored PEBB medical plan, you're entitled to participate in a 20-minute, confidential assessment that helps you prioritize your health challenges and set reasonable goals. Learn more about the health assessment.


Uniform Medical Plan Members: Earn Rewards Before the Holidays!
We all know that good habits are their own reward, but sometimes we need a little motivation. By taking part in the Uniform Medical Plan Health Counts program, you get rewarded for making healthy choices.

  • Get a $30 gift card just for taking UMP’s General Health Assessment. Receive a confidential report showing how well you've managed your health to date and see tips for improving your health.
  • Get another $30 gift card by earning 40,000 reward points for engaging in activities like walking, hiking, or snowboarding.
  • Finally, get yet another $25 gift card when you reach 70,000 reward points by getting a flu shot, eating more vegetables, and flossing your teeth!

Log in to get started.


Weight Watchers at Work
Weight Watchers at Work teaches you how to stick to healthy living and have a healthier relationship with food so you can lose weight and keep it off. Sign up for a monthly pass to attend sessions at Schmitz Hall on Tuesdays and/or UW Medical Center on Fridays. The pass allows you to enjoy lower monthly fees, attend unlimited meetings anywhere, and get free access to Weight Watchers eTools—interactive Web tools, tips, and recipes that help you stay on track. Learn how to get started.

Career Development  

Professional & Organizational Development (POD) courses are open to all UW employees, subject to supervisor/budgetary approval and UW’s release time policy. Please view our policy page for additional information.


Registration is Open for Winter Classes
Registration is now open for dozens of Winter 2013 training classes! New offerings include the one-day workshop "Navigating Change in a Complex World" and the POD Webinar "Advanced Excel PivotTables." Make plans now so you don't miss out on classes typically offered just once a year, including "Customer Service Excellence," "Facilities and Administrative Rate Calculation," "Managing Corrective Action the UW Way," "Master Process Planning, Recharge Center Seminar," "Strategic Planning Tools," and "Working Across Generations." Access registration and course information via POD's online course catalog.


Register Now for January Webinars
Ring in the new year with live POD Webinars designed to improve your productivity, computer skills, and organizational ability. January offerings include "Accomplishing More With Less," "Advanced Excel PivotTables," "Microsoft 2010 Tips & Tricks," and "Total Organization." The registration cutoff is one week before each webinar’s start date, so register now to be prepared when the new year is upon us. Access webinar listings and registration.


Career Counseling: The Gift of Self-Discovery
This holiday season, give yourself the gift of self-discovery through one-on-one career counseling. Training and Organizational Development Consultant Susan Templeton can help you unwrap your greatest strengths and develop strategies for leveraging your unique skill set for increased success and satisfaction at work. Sessions are $95 per one-hour session if paid with a UW budget number (with supervisor approval) or $109.82 if paid with cash, check, or credit card (due to a mandatory institutional overhead fee). Learn more about this service.

Retirement Seminars  

Social Security: A Foundation for Your Future
A secure, comfortable retirement is everyone's dream. And now, because we're living longer, healthier lives, we expect to spend more time in retirement than our parents and grandparents did. Learn what benefits to expect from Social Security and when benefits will be available to you and your family. Attend the seminar, "Social Security: A Foundation for Planning Your Future," to gain a better understanding of how it and Medicare works. This session is offered on Friday, February 8, at UW Tower. Access seminar information and free registration.


Thinking of Retiring Soon?
If you're thinking of retiring in the next 12 months, consider attending one of these workshops to learn how to construct a sound strategy. Workshops are free and based on your current retirement plan and/or eligibility.

  • Retiring from UW Retirement Plan (UWRP)
  • Retiring from Public Employee Retirement System (PERS)
  • UW Supplemental Retirement Plan (UWSRP)

Access workshop information and registration.

Home Loan Program  

Free Seminars from Hometown Home Loan Program

Budgeting for a Home: How much cash will you need to buy a home in today's market? Learn how to create a household budget, set your savings goals, and pay off debt—all while saving for a home. Attend this free lunchtime seminar on December 18 at UW Tacoma, January 15 at Seattle’s UW Tower, or January 24 at South Lake Union.
Accelerate Your Mortgage Payoff: Early mortgage payoff is a strategy many homeowners consider upon approaching retirement. In this seminar, you’ll weigh the advantages of paying extra each month versus shortening your term, learn how to read amortization schedules, and become aware of mortgage scams. Attend this free lunchtime seminar on December 19 at UW Medical Center.
Understanding Credit: Do you know why credit history is important when getting ready to refinance your home? Learn how to clean up your credit history and fix reporting errors. Attend this free lunchtime seminar on January 17 at UW Tacoma.

Access event information and registration on the HomeStreet site.


Homeownership Dreams to Reality
The Hometown Home Loan program can help make your dream of homeownership a reality. Schedule a free, private, half-hour, one-on-one counseling appointment with a HomeStreet Affinity Loan Officer to discuss your homeownership options. Spouses, partners, and anyone else who might be on the loan are welcome to attend with you. Schedule an appointment today.


Got a U-PASS? Get a Discount!
As a U-PASS holder, you're eligible to receive discounts on arts, entertainment, gifts, merchandise, restaurants, and more—all in appreciation for your participation in the U-PASS program. Take advantage of valuable discounts during the holidays and in the months ahead. See a list of businesses participating in the Commuter Services Merchant Discounts program.


Take a Break
As campus empties for the holidays, take some time to enjoy the Suzzallo Reading Room featuring a vaulted ceiling, vibrantly colored with gilded details. A 1927 article in The Pacific Builder and Engineer stated that, "This room has been pronounced by experts to be the most beautiful on the continent and is ranked among the most beautiful in the world." Oak bookcases along the walls are topped with hand-carved friezes representing native plants of Washington state, including salal, Douglas fir, scrub oak, grape, dogwood, mountain ash, rhododendron, pear, trillium, salmonberry, wild rose, apple, marigold, cantaloupe, tulip, and cherry. Leaded-glass windows incorporate medallions representing 28 Renaissance watermarks from a book purchased by the University Library in 1923, Les Filigranes: Dictionnaire Historique des Marques du Papier, a four-volume set by Charles Moїse Briquet.

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