Innovative Benefit Planning Blog

4 Concepts to Construct Company Culture

Posted On: February 25, 2020 | Categorized as: HR Consulting

4 Concepts to Construct Company Culture February 25th, 2020 When we think of employee retention, it often seems like we think of the same few strategies: employee benefits, PTO, food, etc. However, the company culture surrounding a team seems to matter just as much.  Your employees spend a considerable amount of their time at work, so one of the simplest tools at your fingertips when it comes to retention is offering them your consideration, and an enjoyable environment that they can be a part of. Here are some simple ways to make your team members feel more involved in your office. Create a Culture Committee If you’re in HR, you probably spend a good portion of your year doing things like exploring different team-building ideas, finding volunteer opportunities and discovering  ways to welcome new members to the team. Truthfully, the people that can help you the most with these tasks…


January 2020 Compliance Recap

Posted On: February 24, 2020 | Categorized as: Compliance

January was a busy month in the employee benefits world. The U.S. Supreme Court (Supreme Court) denied expedited review of a court case challenging the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Supreme Court also granted review of a nationwide preliminary injunction of the November 2018 contraceptive coverage exemptions final rules. The Department of Labor (DOL) issued its annual adjustment of federal civil monetary penalties. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued its annual adjustment of civil monetary penalties. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a proposed rule for benefit payment and parameters for 2021. The HHS' Office for Civil Rights released a notice regarding enforcement of individuals' right of access to health records under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH). The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released Publication…


Easy, Healthy Valentine’s Day Treats and Snacks

Posted On: February 12, 2020 | Categorized as: Workplace Wellness

cake batter energy balls on a plate with strawberry syrup in the shape of a heart for a valentine's day treat

Easy, Healthy Valentine’s Day Treats and Snacks February 12th, 2020 A few whole grains here, a little less fat there, add some fruit and suddenly you have Valentine’s Day treats that are a nutritious and delicious way to say, “I love you”. Chocolate Dipped Fruit; Gluten-free Vegan Ingredients 1 cup (8 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate 18-24 bite size pieces of fresh fruit (strawberries, cantaloupe, pineapple, honeydew, banana, grapes, kiwi) Optional: wooden skewers Optional garnish: sprinkles or chopped nuts Directions Melt chocolate in microwave-safe bowl on high for 1 minute (or in a double-boiler) If using skewers, spear fruit onto skewer prior to dipping Dip fruit pieces about 2/3 of the way into chocolate, gently tap off excess If desired, sprinkle nuts or sprinkles over the chocolate Lay pieces on wax paper to cool, refrigerate until ready to serve Serves 8 (About 2-3 pieces per serving, depending on size of fruit), Prep…


Heart Health Month: Show Yourself Some Love

Posted On: February 3, 2020 | Categorized as: Workplace Wellness

Show yourself some love; get heart healthy; Stethoscope in heart shape

February is heart health month and it’s a great time to raise awareness and learn what you can do to reduce your risk of heart disease. Because many cases of heart disease are controllable, you can take charge of your health by actively working to improve it by making some simple lifestyle changes and making yourself and your health a priority. Self Care Self care is about taking time to pay attention to you, in a way that ensures that you are being cared for by you. Did you know that half of Americans have at least one of the top 3 risk factors for heart disease: high blood pressure, high cholesterol or smoking? Did you know heart disease doesn’t just happen to older adults? In fact, millions of Americans of all ages have high blood pressure, including millions of people in their 40s and 50s. About half of the…


DOL Increases ERISA Penalties for 2020

Posted On: January 29, 2020 | Categorized as: Compliance

DOL Department Of Labor

January 29th, 2020 On January 15, 2020, consistent with its policy of annual adjustment, the DOL published its final rule adjusting ERISA’s civil monetary penalties for 2020. ERISA protects the interests of employee benefit plan participants and their beneficiaries.  The adjustments are non-discretionary (and therefore not subject to a notice and comment period) and based on the consumer price index from October of 2019. There are five penalty increases of particular importance to employers. Maximum penalty for failure to timely file Form 5500 Maximum penalty for failure to furnish a summary of benefits and coverage (SBC) Failure to comply with the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) and failure to provide required Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) notices Failure to provide information to the DOL upon request Failure to file form M-1 (for Multiple Employer Welfare Associations or MEWAs) To avoid the imposition of penalties, employers should ensure ERISA compliance for…


What To Do When Your Retirement Vendor Is Sold

Posted On: January 28, 2020 | Categorized as: Events

What To Do When Your Retirement Vendor Is Sold January 28th, 2020 The retirement plan industry is undergoing a wave of consolidation, with many 401(k) vendors merging with competitors or being acquired. Their pending merger may be in the best interest of the companies combining, but you must determine if it is also in your best interest. As a plan sponsor, when your record keeper changes, you have a fiduciary obligation to research what is happening and how it affects both your organization and your participants. While this may be a good move for your plan, accepting an automatic conversion remains a fiduciary decision. Plan sponsors should initiate a process to determine whether the change is best for plan participants and beneficiaries, or if an alternative solution would be better. A plan sponsor also needs to document that decision. Your documentation should include a thorough review of the cost and…


Walnut-Rosemary Crusted Salmon

Posted On: January 23, 2020 | Categorized as: Events

salmon recipe

Walnut-Rosemary Crusted Salmon January 23rd, 2020 Are you tired of always falling short on your health goals? Maybe it is because the method you're using to reach them just isn't designed with your personal well-being in mind. The key to making a healthy change is to set yourself up for success, and it's important to recognize what your body needs to make those changes happen.  Take a look at your nutrition and how you are prepping your food for the week.  The right choices in food will fuel your body, ultimately improving your health, mood, sleep, and possibly many more aspects of your everyday life! Start looking at what the food you're consuming has to offer. Salmon and walnuts are both great sources of omega-3 fatty acids.  Pair this easy salmon recipe with a simple salad and a side of roasted potatoes or quinoa.   Ingredients 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard 1…


How Managers Can Influence Workplace Well-Being

Posted On: January 16, 2020 | Categorized as: Workplace Wellness

woman-wearing-gray-shirt-managing a team of employees, setting a good example for workplace well-being

How Managers Can Influence Workplace Well-Being January 16th, 2020 When you think about your best manager, what are the first few things that come to mind?  Hopefully, you think about someone who is bold, communicates well, gives employees space to do great work and positions them to take care of themselves. When it comes to well-being, managers are one of the biggest indicators on whether employees will or will not participate in well-being programs at work.  Work can be very complex in any environment and managers must pay attention to what their people need. Also, in this working all the time kind of world, burnout is on the rise and it seems we are all having a hard time turning “off”.  Therefore, it’s crucial for managers to lead the way and model healthy behaviors. Model Behavior   Even if you have an established and comprehensive well-being program, a perceived lack of manager support could prevent employees from participating and benefiting from these initiatives.  Showing this type of support could be as…


New Year, New You

Posted On: January 14, 2020 | Categorized as: Workplace Wellness

New Year, New You

Bring on the best you, this year! Wondering how you can stick to your goals this year?  The key to making a healthy change is to set yourself up for success.  Your changes this year may look like weight loss, stronger connections in your life, sleeping more, disconnecting from your devices, or just living a happier life.  There are strategies you can put into place to ensure success! Visualize how you want to feel in 2020: There are so many benefits that come from positive intentions.  Spend some quiet time thinking about this or even get creative with a vision board.  This will ensure a more holistic look at what your trying to achieve and less about achieving specific goals (which will happen along the way). Change your habits: When looking at where to start, be mindful of habits that are keeping you from making changes.  Habits are the foundation…


December Compliance Recap

Posted On: January 14, 2020 | Categorized as: Compliance

December Compliance Recap

December was a busy month in the employee benefits world. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's (ACA's) individual mandate is unconstitutional. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released final instructions and final 1094-B, 1095-B, 1094-C, and 1095-C forms for 2019. The IRS also extended good-faith relief from penalties for employers that report inaccurate or incomplete information on the return or statement for 2019 ACA reporting. President Trump signed the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020 that significantly affects provisions under the ACA, largely though one fee extension and the repeal of three taxes. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) updated its frequently asked questions (FAQs) on Section 111 Medicare Secondary Payer (MSP) prescription drug coverage reporting. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) extended the comment period for the coverage transparency proposed rules. The Food and Drug…


The NJ Commuter Benefit Law Coming March 2020

Posted On: January 10, 2020 | Categorized as: Compliance

Public Transit train passing by. NJ Commuter Benefit Law

The NJ Commuter Benefit Law Coming March 2020 January 10th, 2020 The new year comes with many changes for employers, but it doesn't just stop after January.  With the world constantly changing around us, so are the laws that we must follow.  As of March 1st, the New Jersey Commuter Benefit Law will go into affect.  As you may already be aware, employers with more than 20 employees will be required to offer pre-tax commuter benefits to employees.  This new law applies to anyone covered by New Jersey's unemployment insurance law, however employers who hold a collective bargaining agreement are exempt until it expires. What Does This Mean? In short, the new commuter benefits requires employers to offer their employees a choice between taxable compensation or nontaxable qualifies transportation fringe benefits.  Employees must be allowed to choose up to $270 for 2020, which applies to commuter highway vehicles such as…


The 2020 Leap Year Impacting Payroll

Posted On: January 9, 2020 | Categorized as: Compliance

Payroll and salaries for leap year 2020 on desk

The 2020 Leap Year Impacting Payroll January 9th, 2020 As always, the new year comes with a great deal of changes.  With 2020 being a leap year, some of these changes may even be overlooked.  A leap year typically occurs every four years, adding one extra day to the month of February. If you look at your calendar, you'll probably notice that there are twenty-nine days in February, and that is why.  While one day may not seem like a lot, it can effect many aspects of your company, specifically payroll. The Potential Effect On Employers As some of you may be aware, many employers are noticing 27 pay periods instead of 26.  This means that if employers do nothing, they will be providing one additional paycheck, or raise, to employees who are exempt or salaried nonexempt employees.  In short, employers will basically be giving out a raise. Available Options For…


Four Laws That Went into Effect 1/1/2020

Posted On: January 8, 2020 | Categorized as: Compliance

There were several notable laws that effect employers beginning 1/1/2020. It is important for employers to understand how these laws effect your employees and business and any necessary next steps you need to take. As always, your Innovative team will help you understand how these changes will affect your plans and strategy going forward. Please contact us with any questions you may have.        


4 New Year’s Resolutions for an HR Department to Consider

Posted On: January 6, 2020 | Categorized as: HR Consulting

The start of January brings with it the start of a brand-new year, with endless opportunities to be and do better than years past. Often, we consider what goals we would like to set for ourselves personally rather than professionally. Why not set goals for both? Here are a few New Year’s resolutions that will help set you and your team up for a prosperous 2020. Re-evaluate your HR Tools What’s one function of your job you wish could be automated? Chances are, there is software out there that can manage those tedious tasks that seem to consume all your time. Research different options available to you. If it doesn’t seem like there is a software capable of managing that function, consider outsourcing it. If you already have HR software in place, go to market and make sure that it is still the best option for you and fits into…


The ACA’s Cadillac, HIT and Medical Device Taxes Are Repealed; PCORI Fee Extended for 10 More Years

Posted On: December 24, 2019 | Categorized as: Compliance, Employee Benefits

On December 20, 2019, the President signed a $1.4 trillion spending bill that will fund the federal government through September 30, 2020. The bill signed by the President specifically includes the repeal of three major taxes that fund the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including the “Cadillac” tax, the health insurance tax (HIT), and the medical device tax. The excise, or “Cadillac,” tax is a provision of the 2010 ACA law that assesses employer penalties for offering health plans exceeding a certain value, expected to take effect in January 2022. While the Cadillac tax was designed to penalize high-value plans, analyses showed that even moderately priced plans stood to be affected by its implementation. The Cadillac tax has been unpopular with both lawmakers and employers, and its implementation has been repeatedly delayed. With this spending bill, the tax has been fully repealed and will not take effect. Not only does the…


Myth Series #12: I can’t offer a student loan program in my retirement plan.

Posted On: December 19, 2019 | Categorized as: Retirement Plans

With student loan debt reaching astronomical numbers, employers are increasingly looking for ways to add student loan assistance programs to their benefits packages. While current student loan repayment programs can relieve financial stress, they do not offer tax benefits to employees. However, a recent IRS Private Letter Ruling allowing a major pharmaceutical company to add loan repayment benefits to its 401(k) plan has sparked interest in this approach. See how you may be able to design a solution that aligns with the IRS ruling here. Adding student loan repayment to a qualified plan is not the right solution for everyone. If you are considering this enhancement, contact Innovative to discuss your specific situation and objectives.


Broker vs. Fiduciary: The differences you must know

Posted On: December 19, 2019 | Categorized as: Retirement Plans

For plan sponsors, running a 401(k) plan can be complex and time consuming. Some plan sponsors hire outside advisors to help the plan stay compliant with IRS and ERISA laws. It is crucial to understand the difference between hiring a broker versus hiring a fiduciary. 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 for the given situation. Fiduciary advisors: Are held to stricter rules, known as the fiduciary standard of care. This standard legally requires the investment representative to act in the best interest of the investor. The fiduciary duty is the highest standard of care under American law1. Commissions…


Adding Wellbeing to Round out your Employee Value Proposition 

Posted On: December 19, 2019 | Categorized as: Workplace Wellness

When it comes to what companies are prioritizing, engagement and wellbeing are now at the top of the list.   Many organizations struggle with how to focus on what piece and how much to invest. One thing the research is clear on is that when you combine engagement with wellbeing, you can cultivate major human capital impact. First, it’s important to create the distinction between wellbeing and engagement.  Employee wellbeing deals with how an employee feels whereas employee engagement is about how employees feel about their role, their work and value within their company.   In Gallup’s Business Journal article “Well-Being Enhances Benefits of Employee Engagement,” it found that a focus in this area ignites productivity, retention and conditions for the business to thrive. Gallup Reports that those who are in a high state of engagement and wellbeing are: 27% more likely to report "excellent" performance in their own job at work 27% more likely to report "excellent" performance by…


Healthy for the Holidays

Posted On: December 11, 2019 | Categorized as: Workplace Wellness

The holiday season brings family, friends, festivities and lots of food! The temptations are everywhere and with all the extra activities, your daily routine gets disrupted. How can you stay on track when splurging is so apparent? We can help! Here are a few tips to help keep you healthy through the holidays: Holiday proof your plan. While you can’t control what is served during the holidays, you can control our plan of attack. Stay on schedule. Stay as close to your normal meal times as possible or if you are invited to a party, offer to bring a healthy dish.   Be smarter than the buffet. When you are faced with lots of choices, make healthy choices easier by starting with vegetables to take the edge off your appetite or have a small plate of something you really like and then move away from the buffet.   Keep moving.…


November Compliance Recap

Posted On: December 9, 2019 | Categorized as: Compliance

November was a busy month in the employee benefits world. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released draft 2019 instructions for Forms 1094-B, 1095-B, 1094-C, and 1095-C. The IRS also released health plan limits and various compensation, benefit, and contribution levels under qualified retirement plans for 2020. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released inflation-adjusted civil monetary penalty amounts. The Department of Labor (DOL) released advance copies of Form 5500 and related instructions for 2019. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC) materials and supporting documents for plan years beginning 2021. A district court vacated the conscience rights protection final rule. The IRS, DOL, and HHS (collectively, Departments) released proposed rules on coverage transparency for health plans and issuers and final rules on price transparency requirements for hospitals. IRS Releases Draft 2019 Instructions for Forms 1094-B, 1095-B, 1094-C, and 1095-C The…


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