Innovative Benefit Planning Blog

Innovative Gets Certified in Mental Health First Aid Training in the Workplace

Posted On: May 9, 2022 | Categorized as: Company News, Workplace Wellness

employers sitting in a circle training on mental health

Innovative Benefits Planning is pleased to announce that our Nurse Advocate, Erica Polaneczky, has become certified in Mental Health First Aid Training. This certification allows her to provide Mental Health First Aid in the workplace training for employers. Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) teaches employers how to identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental health and substance use challenges among adults in the workplace. Participants build the skills and confidence they need to reach out and provide initial support to those employees who are struggling. They will also learn how to help connect them to appropriate support. “The pandemic has dramatically increased depression and anxiety at home and in the workplace,” CEO Terriann Procida said. “We believe is it more important than ever to break the stigma around mental health, enable early identification of at-risk employees, and provide more resources in the workplace -- which is why Innovative is…


IRS Issues 2023 HSA and HRA Limits

Posted On: May 5, 2022 | Categorized as: Compliance

The IRS issued Revenue Procedure 2022-24, to announce the 2023 inflation adjusted amounts for health savings accounts (HSAs) under Section 223 of the Internal Revenue Code (Code) and the maximum amount employers may contribute for excepted benefit health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs). Significant increases to the limits are a result of the recent spike in inflation seen in the U.S. HSA Limits For calendar year 2023, the HSA annual limitation on deductions for an individual with self-only coverage under a high deductible health plan is $3,850. The 2023 HSA annual limitation on deductions for an individual with family coverage under a high deductible health plan is $7,750. The IRS guidance provides that for calendar year 2023, a “high deductible health plan” is defined as a health plan with an annual deductible that is not less than $1,500 for self-only coverage or $3,000 for family coverage, and the annual out-of-pocket expenses (deductibles, copayments,…


Utilizing Pulse Surveys and Stay Interviews for Retention and Culture

Posted On: April 27, 2022 | Categorized as: HR Consulting

Keeping your employees engaged in their work is an ongoing component in the employee life cycle. This directly leads to their retention and success in the organization. Retaining your employees and how that impacts overall culture are important to stay on top of. For many organizations, conducting exit interviews has been a consistent practice in gaining useful knowledge as to why employees chose to leave. While the details obtained in exit interviews can assist in making appropriate adjustments or changes, they are not proactive in retaining top talent. By the time you are conducting an exit interview, it is too late. One important strategy to implement that will assist in collecting valuable information from employees is stay interviews. Stay Interviews Let’s look at the stay interview process in detail. You’ll want to start with a predetermined list of questions. Such as: Job Satisfaction What keeps you working here? What would…


37% of Employees Cite Stress for Leaving Their Job: Learn How You Can Prevent This

Posted On: April 27, 2022 | Categorized as: Workplace Wellness

Employers who are already challenged to find and keep top talent amidst a tough job market may find that high levels of workplace stress are making it more difficult to assemble and sustain a solid workforce.Recruiting and RetentionWith stress levels higher than ever in the early 2020s, several recent studies directly link stress levels with organizations’ ability to retain existing employees and recruit new ones. Employees cited stress as the top reason for leaving their jobs, accounting for 37% of responses in one survey. Meanwhile, surveys of employers do not even rank job stress among the top five reasons that they lose employees. This gap indicates a greater need for employers to better understand how stress impacts the workplace, particularly how it drives employee decisions on whether to keep their job or seek new opportunities.The role of stress is particularly important in the current tight market. The Great Resignation has…


Innovative is Featured in SJ Magazine for Creating a Culture of Giving Back

Posted On: April 25, 2022 | Categorized as: Company News

Innovative Benefit Planning LLC was proudly featured this month in SJ Magazine for our culture of "giving back" to our community. We are grateful to have been recognized for our efforts, however the true pride comes from the things we do for others, and the impact we make. Take a look at the most recent article featured by SJ Magazine: "On the surface, employee benefits look like retirement plans, workplace wellness programs, healthcare plans or employee engagement. But at its heart, it’s about giving people the support and resources they need to live their best lives. For Moorestown’s Innovative Benefit Planning, that goes far beyond support for employees alone. “Providing benefits is about making a difference in someone’s life,” says Innovative Benefits Planning CEO Terriann Procida. “We have very passionate employees providing that for our clients, but what really makes our business – and ourselves – better is taking that…


2021 EEO-1 Component 1 Data Collection Portal is Now Open

Posted On: April 22, 2022 | Categorized as: Compliance

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has announced that the 2021 EEO-1 Component 1 data collection portal is now open. Eligible employers have until May 17, 2022, to submit data to the portal. The EEO-1 Component 1 report is a mandatory annual data collection that requires all private sector employers with 100 or more employees, and federal contractors with 50 or more employees meeting certain criteria, to submit demographic workforce data, including data by race/ethnicity, sex and job categories. The filing by eligible employers of the EEO-1 Component 1 Report is required under section 709(c) of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-8(c),  and 29 CFR 1602.7-.14 and 41 CFR 60-1.7(a). Employers can find additional eligibility information here. In an effort to modernize the filing process, the EEOC has rolled out additional self-service options for filers, as well as provided a…


Are You Leveraging Population Health Management Correctly to Mitigate Claims Risk?

Posted On: April 20, 2022 | Categorized as: Employee Benefits

While all health plans face the possibility of higher claims, properly managing your employee’s risk pool and population health can help mitigate claims risk and reduce costs in your plan. Population health management identifies, evaluates, and manages the risks facing an organization and its plan participants. While employers cannot prevent every claim before it occurs, they can better identify and mitigate those risks. An estimated 75% of healthcare costs arise from chronic conditions that are preventable through such measures as proper diet, exercise, medication, and therapy. Identifying those risks allows providers to guide employees towards healthier lives. Employers benefit from lower healthcare costs, reduced absenteeism, and more precise wellness program planning. https://youtu.be/avDBO75XSZg Steps in Constructing a Comprehensive Population Health Management Strategy Often employers may take steps to uncover and proactively identify current and potential health risk (step 1), but then they don’t take the necessary next steps to better manage…


Three Major Differences Between a Broker and Fiduciary Plan Sponsor

Posted On: April 14, 2022 | Categorized as: Retirement Plans

For plan sponsors, managing a 401(k) plan can be complex and time consuming. Some plan sponsors hire outside advisors to help the plan stay compliant with the various IRS and ERISA regulations. When hiring outside advisors, many plan sponsors are unaware of the added benefits of hiring an investment fiduciary as opposed to a broker to manage their plan investments. Each has a unique set of regulatory standards governing their behavior which can affect the range and quality of services offered to the plan. Below are a few key differences between brokers and fiduciaries: Standard of Care: Brokers: Are held to a suitability standard. Under this standard, brokers can only recommend investments that they reasonably believe are appropriate at the time of the recommendation. Fiduciaries: Are held to stricter rules, known as the fiduciary standard of care. This standard legally requires the advisor to act in the best interest of the…


9 Things to Consider About Your Advance Directive

Posted On: April 12, 2022 | Categorized as: Workplace Wellness

It is no surprise that Stress Awareness Month and National Healthcare Decisions Day fall on the calendar simultaneously. If you are caring for a parent, spouse, or other family member, you want to honor their wishes, values, and goals. At the same time, you are no stranger to the stress that comes with the part. Helping your loved ones express and document their healthcare wishes in advance will ensure that you can honor those wishes if or when they can’t speak for themselves due to serious illness, without the responsibility entirely falling on you as the caregiver.  When dealing with such a great loss, there is no reason to create additional stress for the family. They should be able to grieve in peace, without worrying too much about “next steps”. The best time to document these wishes is while we’re in good health. It always seems too early, until it’s…


Proposed Rule Would Fix the “Family Glitch”

Posted On: April 6, 2022 | Categorized as: Compliance

aca on blocks with calculator on desk

Under the current Affordable Care Act (ACA) regulations, employer-based health insurance is deemed “affordable” if the employee’s contribution for self-only coverage does not exceed the affordability threshold in a given year (9.61% in 2022). Those who do not have access to affordable employer-based coverage may qualify for a premium tax credit through the healthcare marketplace. As a result of the current definition of affordability, an estimated 5 million people fall into what is known as the “family glitch,” which prevents them from receiving a subsidy through the marketplace as the determination of whether the coverage meets the affordability threshold is focused on the employee’s coverage, not the family member’s. On April 5, 2022, the Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS), released a proposed rule that, if enacted, would address this policy loophole in the ACA. This proposed rule is a result of an Executive Order President Biden signed in…


House Passes Secure Act 2.0 Bill

Posted On: April 5, 2022 | Categorized as: Compliance

congress building - house of representatives passes secure act 2.0 bill

In a 414-5 bipartisan vote, the House of Representatives has passed a bill that, if enacted, is said to improve the retirement savings system in the United States by expanding coverage and increasing retirement savings. The Securing a Strong Retirement Act, colloquially known as Secure Act 2.0 builds on the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act (SECURE), which was signed into law in December 2019. Some highlights from Secure Act 2.0, include: Most employers would be required to automatically enroll eligible workers in NEW 401(k) plans with an initial 3% contribution rate. The contribution rate would then increase on an annual basis until the contribution reaches 10% of the employee’s salary. Eligible employees would have the opportunity to opt out of enrollment or select a different contribution rate Increase in the age for mandatory distributions to begin. Starting January 1, 2022, the age would increase from 72 to…


Temporary Flexibilities for Expired List B Identity Documents to End

Posted On: April 1, 2022 | Categorized as: Compliance

In May 2020, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) instituted a temporary policy which allowed employees to present expired List B identification documents for I-9 purposes. As a reminder, Form I-9 is used to verify the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the United States. This relief was temporary and initiated as a means to lessen some of the burdens imposed on issuing authorities as they struggled to timely renew documents in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.Starting May 1, 2022, employers will no longer be able to accept expired identification documents when verifying employee work eligibility for Form I-9. Employers who accepted expired documents between May 1, 2020 and April 30, 2022 will be required to update the Form I-9 of current employees with an unexpired document by July 31, 2022. Acceptable documentation includes a renewed version of the previously presented expired List B…


Innovative Announces the 3rd Annual Well-Being @ Work Summit

Posted On: March 25, 2022 | Categorized as: Workplace Wellness

Innovative is excited to announce the date for our 3rd annual Well-Being at Work Summit. Join us on Thursday, May 12th, from 9:00am-3:00pm, at Adventure Aquarium in Camden, New Jersey.This Year’s Theme:Unfortunately, due to things like the pandemic, isolation and burnout, employee mental illness is on the rise. In fact, according to the CDC, about 20% of Americans report symptoms of mental illness. To help support employers through these times, we decided to focus this year’s theme on mental health in the workplace.Our 4 industry-expert speakers will share their unmatched knowledge to:Positively lead your team by providing strategies to build resilienceLearn practices that support healing mind, body and spiritUnderstand how Mindfulness can be used as a tool to address implicit biasApply strategies and identify resources to accommodate and support employees' mental health and wellnesshttps://youtu.be/d9zr7L-R3bIWhat to Expect That Day:Attendees will have the opportunity to network with other employers who are in…


Government Funding Bill Extends CARES Act Relief for HDHPs

Posted On: March 22, 2022 | Categorized as: Compliance

President Biden recently signed The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2022 (CAA) into law. As part of the 2022 CAA, COVID-related telehealth coverage can be covered at no cost-share for High Deductible Health Plans (HDHPs) in a similar fashion to what was allowed under the CARES Act starting April 1, 2022 through December 31, 2022. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) allowed first-dollar telehealth coverage under HDHPs. This relief allowed participants to utilize telehealth services prior to satisfying the plan’s deductible without risk of disqualification, which would prevent continuing contributions to a health savings account (HSA). The relief afforded under the CARES Act ended December 31, 2021, thus highlighting a need for additional relief, either temporary or permanent. While it is unclear whether permanent legislation expanding telehealth coverage in this manner will be enacted, the new relief, although temporary, comes as welcome news to participants and plan sponsors.This…


The DOL’s Compliance Assistance Release No. 2022-01 401(k) Plan Investments in “Cryptocurrencies”

Posted On: March 16, 2022 | Categorized as: Compliance, Retirement Plans

As plan advisors, we’ve had increasing questions from plan sponsors and committees about the availability and merits of Crypto backed investment options.   With their release last week, the DOL has made their position very clear: they will investigate plan fiduciaries who make these types of investments available, even through brokerage windows. The following was released from the DOL: In recent months, the Department of Labor has become aware of firms marketing investments in cryptocurrencies to 401(k) plans as potential investment options for plan participants.1 The Department cautions plan fiduciaries to exercise extreme care before they consider adding a cryptocurrency option to a 401(k) plan’s investment menu for plan participants. Under ERISA, fiduciaries must act solely in the financial interests of plan participants and adhere to an exacting standard of professional care. Courts have commonly referred to these prudence and loyalty obligations as the “highest known to the law.” Fiduciaries who…


Innovative Launches Exclusive Client Lunch-n-Learn

Posted On: March 3, 2022 | Categorized as: Events

Innovative is proud to launch our new exclusive client lunch-n-learn, Noontime Knowledge for 2022. This biannual event will take place at our Moorestown office’s Learning Exchange each June and October. During this one-hour lunch, clients can come together to learn and lean on each other. Learn the latest trends and products to optimize your health plan offerings, as well as review current and upcoming compliance changes and obligations.  Lean on our community of like-minded professionals to share best practices. Learning Outcomes Include: Compliance updates and upcoming deadlines Tips to optimize your benefit offering Trends in HR, Employee Benefits, and Retirement Plans Workplace wellness tips based on the relevant season and observances Community Roundtable: Do you have a burning topic or issue you have been dealing with? Let’s lean on our community of like-minded professionals! At the end of each lunch, we will conduct a roundtable discussion to collaborate and share…


Tax Planning Opportunities Through Proper Retirement Plan Design

Posted On: March 2, 2022 | Categorized as: Retirement Plans

Many business owners, principals, and executives are not aware of the tremendous personal and corporate tax benefits that can be achieved through the proper retirement plan design. Most retirement plans are designed for administrative efficiency – not for tax planning purposes. As a result, most businesses are not aware of the options available for designing a tax-efficient plan. Retirement plans can offer considerable flexibility that can provide tax benefits for: Owners, executives, principals, and family members. Plans can be designed to help these individuals reduce personal income taxes, and to grow significant assets while deferring taxes on those assets. Retirement plan assets are also exempt from the claims of creditors. Your organization Contributions to a retirement plan can reduce taxes at the entity level. Retirement benefits can also provide a powerful employee recruitment and retention tool. Plans where employer contributions are subject to a vesting schedule can help with employee…


Four Steps to Create a Stable Renewal Environment

Posted On: February 23, 2022 | Categorized as: Employee Benefits

Large renewal rate increases frustrate employers and plan sponsors each year. They might experience significant, double-digit rate hikes one year; a smaller uptick the second; and another large increase the third year. Owners, CFOs, and HR executives would prefer stable, predictable trends so they can better budget for future costs.Too often, companies send out requests for proposals, cross our fingers, and hope for the best. However, that approach seldom works. To paraphrase a quote often mistakenly attributed to Albert Einstein, one shouldn’t do the same thing over and over and expect different results. The answer is for employers to become more proactive and take strategic measures to change the pattern.Here are four steps company leaders can take to address the underlying issues driving high renewals rate and create a more stable renewal environment.Proper UnderwritingIn the current environment, traditional underwriting practices and inefficient funding mechanisms lead carriers to overact to large…


The Connection of Healthy Hearts and Minds in the Workplace

Posted On: February 16, 2022 | Categorized as: Workplace Wellness

American Heart Month, observed every February since 1963, raises awareness about the dangers of heart disease and promotes lifestyle changes that can help people improve their heart health. Despite this, heart disease remains the leading cause of death among Americans. However, the American Heart Association (AHA) is now expanding the scope of its guidance to emphasize the emerging connection between heart health and mental health.For many years, the AHA stated recently, doctors thought the only link between mental health and heart health stemmed from behaviors (such as a depressed person smoking, drinking, or eating poor) that hampered heart health. However, newer research indicates that physiological, biological, and chemical factors that affect mental health may also influence heart disease. Mental health issues such as work-related stress and anxiety are becoming widely recognized as additional risk factors for heart disease beyond the traditional sources.In March 2021, the AHA officially recognized the mental…


January 2022 Compliance Recap

Posted On: February 16, 2022 | Categorized as: Compliance

January brought breaking news that the U.S. Supreme Court (the Court) would stop OSHA from enforcing its employee COVID-19 test or vaccinate emergency temporary standard (ETS) for employers with 100 or more employees. Although the decision doesn’t end the OSHA ETS permanently, it means that the ETS is unlikely to be upheld in its current form. The Court left in place a COVID-19 vaccine employer mandate for Medicare and Medicaid-certified entities. The decision does not end the debate, but it does mean employers will continue to be subject to varying standards at the state level with no uniform federal standard.In other news, health plans were notified that they must cover COVID-19 over-the-counter tests at no cost to enrollees, with only days to put a plan in place to comply with the rule. This left employers and pharmacy benefit administrators scrambling to analyze the guidance and be ready within days to…


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