Innovative Benefit Planning Blog

Innovative Myth Series #11-As a plan sponsor, I shouldn’t consider adding a 3(16) service to my plan.

Posted On: November 14, 2019 | Categorized as: Retirement Plans

An existing client had experienced problems with their 401(k) plan audit for several consecutive years due to internal operational issues. The client requested our help in determining whether they should spend the money for a 3(16) service to help improve efficiencies and eliminate some of the operational errors they were experiencing. See how Innovative helped the client determine if it was the right strategy, move to the 3(16) and reduce their costs and audit error rate. Download full case study here. Let Innovative perform a complimentary review of your plan, contact our retirement planning team here.


Innovative’s Well-being @ Work 2019 Summit Recap

Posted On: November 13, 2019 | Categorized as: Company News, Workplace Wellness

As employers, what do we need to create workplaces that are connected, flourishing and well with both business and employee in mind?This year Innovative Benefits Planning hosted our inaugural well-being summit that was dedicated to making workplaces healthier.  The room was packed full of HR professionals, C-Suite decision-makers, health and well-being professionals and top well-being vendors in the industry.The morning kicked off with a healthy breakfast, opportunity to participate in voluntary biometrics with Cardio-Kinetics and discuss employer well-being options with over 20 vendors.  The set up was as engaging as it gets in the Hall of Fame Club of Citizens Bank Park with mindful networking taking place in every well-designed event space.What does a committed and aligned organization look like when it comes to health and well-being?At its core, organizations need a committed leadership team that believes in the power of well-being and the philosophy of workplace well-being.  When you…


Innovative Welcomes Lisa as Director of Compliance

Posted On: November 13, 2019 | Categorized as: Company News, Compliance

We are excited to announce the latest addition to the Innovative Benefit Planning team! Please join us in welcoming Lisa A. Hill as our Director of Compliance.  As Director of Compliance, Lisa will be a valuable resource to Innovative’s leadership team, employees, and clients in ensuring all compliance needs are met. Lisa will be critical in guiding Innovative and our clients through federal, state, and industry regulations and standards. She will be responsible for developing, overseeing, and evaluating control systems to prevent or deal with violations of legal guidelines and internal policies. Moreover, Lisa will be a valuable resource to guide our clients through the proper steps and identify potential liabilities associated with various employee benefits options. Prior to accepting this position, Lisa spent 16 years as an attorney with law firms in California. During that time, she litigated wage and hour class actions and advised clients on such topics…


Diabetes Awareness Month

Posted On: November 13, 2019 | Categorized as: Workplace Wellness

November is National Diabetes Awareness month! According to the American Diabetes Association, nearly half of all American adults have diabetes or prediabetes, yet most do not fully understand the illness. Unaddressed diabetes can take a heavy toll medically, financially, and personally. Diabetes also increases the risk of developing other chronic conditions. Becoming educated on the subject is the first step in properly managing or preventing diabetes. Diabetes FAQs How is diabetes diagnosed? Diabetes can be diagnosed through blood tests for glucose and/or hemoglobin A1c. Elevated blood markers must be present on two separate occasions for a formal diagnosis to be assigned. What is insulin? Insulin is a hormone released from the pancreas when the sugar from carbohydrates gets into the bloodstream. Insulin signals the cells of the body to take up glucose for energy or storage. What is the difference between Type I and Type II Diabetes? Put simply, type…


Innovative Benefit Planning Earns Specialized Advisor Recognition

Posted On: November 12, 2019 | Categorized as: Retirement Plans

Our firm was founded on the principles of integrity, professionalism and exceptional client service. We are also deeply committed to continuous improvement. Our dedication to doing what is best for you, our clients, prompted us to engage CEFEX, the Centre for Fiduciary Excellence, LLC to audit our processes. In June of 2019, we contacted the CEFEX organization and requested an independent analyst provide us with a comprehensive independent review.  The process was rigorous and their assessment took months to complete. Now, after going through the audit and carefully evaluating our procedures, we are proud to share with you that Innovative Benefit Planning is a CEFEX certified Investment Advisor. This certification signifies our commitment to uphold the highest level of fiduciary care and that has a direct impact on you, your plan and your employees. As a plan sponsor, the Department of Labor (DOL) identifies the following as your fiduciary responsibilities:…


2020 IRS Contribution Limits Released

Posted On: November 8, 2019 | Categorized as: Compliance, Employee Benefits

On Wednesday, the IRS announced new contribution limits for medical FSA, Commuter Benefit, and HSA plans for 2020.  The FSA contribution will increase to $2,750, a $50 increase from current limits. The HSA contribution limit for individuals with a high deductible health plan (HDHP) will likewise be raised from $3,500 for an individual and $7,000 for a family to $3,550 for an individual and $7,100 for a family.  The IRS also adjusted the contribution limits for adoption assistance programs, increasing the limit from $14, 080 to $14,300. The current and new contribution limits are listed below:   2019 2020 Medical FSA Contribution Limit   $2,700 $2,750 Monthly Commuter Benefits Contribution Limit $265 $270 HSA Contribution Limit Single:   $3,500 Family: $7,000 Single:   $3,550 Family: $7,100 Adoption Assistance Limit   $14,080 $14,300


October Compliance Recap

Posted On: November 5, 2019 | Categorized as: Compliance

Compliance Recap-October 2019 October was a relatively quiet month in the employee benefits world. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas vacated portions of the current rule implementing Section 1557 that prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity and pregnancy termination. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit affirmed a district court's preliminary injunction of final rules regarding contraceptive coverage exemptions. The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) released the latest version of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Security Risk Assessment Tool. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) updated its webpage that has general information about the CP233J notice. The Treasury released its 2019-2020 Priority Guidance Plan. District Court Vacates Parts of ACA Section 1557 Nondiscrimination Rule As background, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) Section 1557 provides that…


Innovative Myth Series #10: When Transferring Service Providers, There are no Pitfalls, Part 2 – Market Value Adjustments and Fixed Accounts

Posted On: October 24, 2019 | Categorized as: Retirement Plans

A new client engaged Innovative after they decided to transfer their current plan to a new service provider. After our initial investment review, we noticed there was an existing Stable Value Fund, which was subject to a market value adjustment (MVA). When an MVA is being applied, a complete fund liquidation may result in a loss to the plan and participants. See how Innovative helped our client in moving their assets with no loss to the participants. Download full case study here. Let Innovative perform a complimentary review of your plan, contact our retirement planning team here.


Diversity Discussion: Terms to Know

Posted On: October 23, 2019 | Categorized as: HR Consulting

The concept of diversity is often presented to employees only in the negative – employees are told not to discriminate, or not to harass. But diversity is much more than that – when embraced and fostered, it promotes creative, engaged, happy workplaces. Beginning the diversity discussion with your workforce can be difficult, but there are several important terms to know that can be excellent ways to open a dialogue with your managers and other employees. This is not an all-encompassing list of terms, but it is a good place to start. Once you understand these concepts, it will put you in a better place to begin to have these conversations within your workplace.   Diversity Diversity is synonymous with variety, but in this context, it is much more than that. Diversity is the acceptance and understanding that we are all unique individuals coming from different backgrounds. It means respecting people…


Should you Consider a Safe Harbor Contribution Feature?

Posted On: October 23, 2019 | Categorized as: Retirement Plans

Does your organization’s retirement plan frequently refund money to highly compensated employees (HCE)? Do you want to provide a great incentive to your employees to save for retirement and perhaps allow them to retire earlier? Would the owners and highly compensated employees like to save more of their own money? Do your key employees own a significant portion of plan assets? These are among the common reasons a company might implement a Safe Harbor contribution feature for their retirement plan. If a company agrees to make a Safe Harbor contribution to their retirement plan, then the plan is exempt from nondiscrimination testing for the plan year. These include: Average Deferral Percentage tests, Average Contribution Percentage tests, and Top Heavy tests. Depending on your company, it might be wise, for several reasons, to avoid these tests and the actions required from failing them. There are several contribution calculation methods that qualify…


Ryan Kastner Receives Young Professionals Leadership Award

Posted On: October 22, 2019 | Categorized as: Company News

Congratulations to our Vice President, Consulting, Ryan Kastner, for being named to Burlington County Regional Chamber of Commerce’s ("BCRCC") Young Professionals Leadership Class of 2019. The award honors professionals under the age of 40 who demonstrate outstanding leadership in the Burlington County Business Community. Winners are selected based on their civic engagement and volunteerism, enthusiasm in leadership roles and acting as a mentor to those around them. Ryan is a true leader to his clients, colleagues and our community, so congrats Ryan on this well-deserved award! Ryan and the other recipients were honored at the Young Professionals Network Leadership Summit on Friday, October 18th at the DoubleTree Suites in Mount Laurel. Please join us on congratulating Ryan and all the award recipients!


Oral Health Awareness Month

Posted On: October 15, 2019 | Categorized as: Workplace Wellness

Did you know that your oral health offers clues about your overall health — or that problems in your mouth can affect the rest of your body? Protect yourself by learning more about the connection between your oral health and overall health. What's the connection between oral health and overall health? Like other areas of the body, your mouth teems with bacteria — mostly harmless. But your mouth is the entry point to your digestive and respiratory tracts, and some of these bacteria can cause disease. Normally the body's natural defenses and good oral health care, such as daily brushing and flossing, keep bacteria under control. However, without proper oral hygiene, bacteria can reach levels that might lead to oral infections, such as tooth decay and gum disease. What conditions can be linked to oral health? Your oral health might contribute to various diseases and conditions, including: Endocarditis. This infection…


September 2019 Compliance Recap

Posted On: October 8, 2019 | Categorized as: Compliance, Employee Benefits

September was a busy month in the employee benefits world. The U.S. Senate confirmed Eugene Scalia as the new Secretary of the Department of Labor (DOL). The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) published proposed rules regarding affordability safe harbors and Section 105(h) nondiscrimination rules as applied to individual coverage health reimbursement arrangements (ICHRAs). The IRS also announced that the health insurance providers fee will resume for 2020. The IRS released an information letter regarding transition relief and whether employer shared responsibility penalties may be waived under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The DOL, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and Treasury (collectively, the "Departments") released final FAQs on mental health parity. The DOL issued an opinion letter regarding delaying Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave. The DOL also issued an opinion letter regarding whether employer contributions to health savings accounts (HSAs) are earnings subject to wage garnishment…


DOL Overtime Rule Change

Posted On: October 2, 2019 | Categorized as: Compliance

On Sept 24th, the US Department of Labor (DOL) released a new rule, increasing the minimum salary level for exempt status to $35,568 per year for a full-time employee, effective January 1, 2020.  Read the full law, here: DOL Overtime Rule Change  The proposed rule creates the following changes:Raises the minimum salary for an exempt administrative, professional, or executive employee to $684 per week or $35,568 per yearRaises the minimum salary for an exempt "highly compensated employee" from $100,000 to $107,432Permits employers to include some non-discretionary bonuses and incentive payments (including commissions) to satisfy up to 10% of the minimum salary requirementAllows employers to make a one-time "catch up" payment to an employee whose annual salary will fall short of the new minimum in some circumstancesThe consequences of such a conversion can be serious for the unaware employer. Most employers do not trackhours worked by exempt employees.For assistance in assessing whether employees are properly…


9 Employee Handbook Essentials

Posted On: September 23, 2019 | Categorized as: HR Consulting

There are so many things that are essential to the employee handbook that it can be tough to know where to even start. We’ve got you covered. Below are 9 key components that every good employee handbook should include. 1. Introductory Statement This statement introduces the handbook, describes the purpose of it, and includes the At-Will Disclaimer and General Disclaimer. The At-Will Disclaimer should describe what it means to be an at-will employee. The General Disclaimer should address the intentions of the handbook, the ability of the company to interpret it at its own discretion and the handbook’s compliance with all applicable federal, state and local laws. It should also state that it is not a contractual document. 2. Equal Employment Opportunity Policy (EEOP) Federally, this means different things for different types of employers, but most employers are prohibited from discriminating against an employee, a job applicant, a former employee…


5 Reasons To Hire the Right Financial Advisor For Your Retirement Plan

Posted On: September 18, 2019 | Categorized as: Retirement Plans

As an organization offering a retirement plan to their employees, plan sponsors are faced with decisions that can affect the entire organization.  The plan design, investment line-up, and who the recordkeeper will be are typical for all plans. Beyond these standard decisions, there is the issue of knowing and understanding the ERISA laws that govern retirement plans. Depending on the complexity of your organization and business, not every advisor has the background to help. Plan decision makers usually have other job responsibilities that can divert their attention, yet since they are considered fiduciaries of the plan, decision makers must act in the best interest of the plan participants and their beneficiaries.  How can they if they don’t know what the standards are?  The same is true of advisors.  Not all are well versed in ERISA law, which is complex and sometimes difficult to interpret. Hiring the right plan advisor can…


30 Years and 30 Reasons to Choose Innovative

Posted On: September 16, 2019 | Categorized as: Company News

When it comes to benefits planning, there are a ton of choices out there. And, we believe we’re the most innovative company you’ll find. After 30 years, here are 30 good reasons our clients choose to work with us: 1. We put people first 2. We are an advocate for our clients 3. We do what’s right for every individual 4. We understand what’s best for one person may not be the best for another 5. We earn our clients trust 6. We hold ourselves accountable 7. Being responsive is very important to us 8. We are respectful 9. We make the complex easy to understand 10. We affirm the best way isn’t the easy way 11. We focus on client’s goals and deliver value 12. We try to understand the culture and the people that make up an organization 13. We always have our client’s best interests at heart…


Innovative Myth Series #9: When Transferring Service Providers, There Are No Pitfalls. Part 1-Protected Benefits

Posted On: September 13, 2019 | Categorized as: Retirement Plans

A new client engaged Innovative to transfer their current plan to a new service provider. During the course of our detailed review, we discovered that certain employees had annuity contracts with death benefits that exceeded the value of their plan investments. If the client executed the transfer, these participants would have lost those benefits, which is a violation of ERISA laws. See how Innovative helped our client navigate their retirement plan transition to a new service provider and avoided a potential ERISA violation. Download full case study here. Let Innovative perform a complimentary review of your plan, contact our retirement planning team here.


Flu Season: Myths vs. Facts

Posted On: September 13, 2019 | Categorized as: Workplace Wellness

Flu season is quickly approaching. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that those aged 6 months and older receive the flu vaccine by the end of October. Getting a flu vaccine is the first and most important step in protecting against the flu. There are many misconceptions about the seasonal flu vaccines. Below we have highlighted some of these common misconceptions and the facts to dispel them. 1. MYTH: You can catch the flu from the vaccine. FACT: The flu vaccine is made from an inactivated virus that cannot transmit an infection. Therefore, the flu vaccine cannot cause the flu. However, it typically takes 2 weeks for the flu vaccine to become effective. During those 2 weeks, it is still possible for an individual to get the flu or another respiratory virus. 2. MYTH: Healthy people don't need to be vaccinated. FACT: Healthy individuals are still at…


August 2019 Compliance Recap

Posted On: September 6, 2019 | Categorized as: Compliance

August was a relatively quiet month in the employee benefits world. The Department of Labor (DOL) issued its updated Medicaid / CHIP Model Notice. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) revised its Medicare Secondary Payer User Guide and changed reporting requirements regarding prescription drug coverage beginning January 1, 2020. The Treasury, DOL, and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued FAQs regarding enforcement of the Final 2020 Benefit and Parameters Rule. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released a private letter ruling addressing whether certain expenses qualify as Section 213(d) medical care expenses. The DOL issued an advisory opinion addressing whether intermittent Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave can be taken to attend special education meetings for an employee's children.   DOL Issues Updated Medicaid / CHIP Model Notice The Department of Labor (DOL) issued an updated Premium Assistance Under Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program…


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