Innovative Benefit Planning Blog

President Trump Signs Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act

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

President Trump signs paycheck protection flexibility act

President Trump Signs Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act The President authorized the Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act on June 5th after it was passed by the House on May 28th with only one dissenting vote and passed unanimously by the Senate on June 3rd.  This act changes provisions surrounding loan forgiveness through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Highlights of this act include changing the time recipients have to spend their PPP loan proceeds, decreasing the amount that needs to be spent on payroll for forgiveness, extending worker and wage deadlines, and more. Below are major details of the act that employers who have received PPP loans may find pertinent: The amount of time PPP Loan recipients have to spend their loan is increasing to 24 weeks from 8 weeks. If they choose to, employers can keep the 8 week period. The PPP provisions previously required 75 percent of the loan to be…



Rotisserie Chicken Tacos with Salsa Verde

Posted On: May 20, 2020 | Categorized as: Workplace Wellness

chicken tacos

Rotisserie Chicken Tacos with Salsa Verde Ingredients:  8 Corn Tortillas 3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken (skin removed) 1 1/2 cups bottled salsa verde 2 limes, quartered 1/2 cup crumbled cotija or feta cheese 1 medium onion 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro Directions:  Heat the tortillas in a large skillet or sauté pan until lightly toasted. Combine the chicken with the salsa in a large mixing bowl, then divide evenly among the tortillas. Top with crumbled cheese, onion and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges. Nutrition: 345 calories, 12 g fat (4.5 g saturated), 800 mg sodium, serves 4


COVID-19 Impact on Retirement Plan Discrimination Testing

Posted On: May 20, 2020 | Categorized as: Retirement Plans

retirement plan binder with glasses

COVID-19 Impact on Retirement Plan Discrimination Testing As a result of COVID-19, many employers have made financial, operational, and employment-related changes. Plan sponsors need to consider how the following actions may impact the results of their 2020 retirement plan discrimination testing: Changing or Discontinuing the employer 401K match Retirement plan design changes Furloughing, laying off, or termination of employees Employee deferral changes, including the discontinuation of deferrals If your organization has taken any of these actions or notice a change in participant behavior, we suggest you take a proactive approach to understand the impact on your non-discrimination testing. It is important to get a better understanding NOW of how any of these changes may negatively impact your retirement plan as corrective actions may be available prior to your plan year end. If would like a complimentary Retirement Plan Impact Analysis, please click here.  


Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan Forgiveness Application

Posted On: May 19, 2020 | Categorized as: HR Consulting, Retirement Plans

paycheck protection program loan application

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan Forgiveness Application On Friday, May 15th the SBA has released their forgiveness application with detailed instructions on how to complete the form.   While the release promised further guidance on loan forgiveness, Innovative has received a lot of questions surrounding the calculation of Full Time Equivalent (FTE) Employees and payroll costs that employers must report on their application. A few highlights relating to these questions are summarized below: Payroll Cost Calculation The application advised there are options for borrowers to calculate payroll costs using an “alternate payroll covered period” that aligns with a borrower’s regular payroll. cycle. Employers will not have to change payroll dates to obtain maximum forgiveness. There is flexibility for employers to include eligible payroll and non-payroll expenses paid or incurred during the eight week period after receiving their PPP loan. FTE Employee Calculation The Loan Forgiveness Application made clear that FTE employees are…


April Compliance Recap

Posted On: May 18, 2020 | Categorized as: Compliance

April was a busy month in the employee benefits world. The President signed the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act (PPPHCEA). The Department of Labor (DOL) and the Department of the Treasury (Treasury) released a final rule extending certain timeframes under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and Internal Revenue Code (IRC) for group health plans, disability, and other welfare plans, pension plans, and participants and beneficiaries of these plans during the COVID-19 national emergency. In addition, the DOL issued a disaster relief notice that extends deadlines for furnishing other required notices or disclosures to plan participants, beneficiaries, and other persons so that plan fiduciaries and plan sponsors have additional time to meet their obligations under Title I of ERISA during the COVID-19 outbreak. The DOL released temporary regulations implementing the leave portions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The Small Business Administration (SBA) released…


Further Guidance on Internal Revenue Service Notice 2020-29

Posted On: May 18, 2020 | Categorized as: Compliance

Further Guidance on Internal Revenue Service Notice 2020-29 The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued IRS Notice 2020-29 (Notice) that provides increased flexibility for making mid-year elections or changes under a Section 125 cafeteria plan during calendar year 2020 related to employer-sponsored health coverage, health flexible spending arrangements (health FSAs), and dependent care assistance programs (DCAPs). This notice also provides increased flexibility with respect to grace periods to apply unused amounts in health FSAs to medical care expenses incurred through December 31, 2020, and unused amounts in dependent care assistance programs to dependent care expenses incurred through December 31, 2020. Elections under a Section 125 cafeteria plan The Notice provides that an employer with insured or self-insured coverage may amend a Section 125 cafeteria plan to allow employees to: Make a new election for employer sponsored health coverage on a prospective basis, if the employee initially declined to elect employer-sponsored health…


IRS Releases Two New COVID-19 Notices

Posted On: May 13, 2020 | Categorized as: Employee Benefits, HR Consulting

IRS Releases Two New COVID-19 Notices To provide additional relief to Americans during these challenging times, the IRS released Notice 2020-29 and 2020-33. These notices provided new relaxed rules for 2020 for making elections under Cafeteria plans, using amounts during a grace period or carryover period changes to the method determining the carryover amounts under Health Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs)  and clarifying which premiums can be reimbursed under Individual Coverage Health Reimbursement Arrangements (ICHRAs). Notice 2020-29 In Notice 2020-29, the IRS provides for increased flexibility with respect to mid-year elections under a cafeteria plan during calendar year 2020 related to employer sponsored health coverage, Health FSAs and Dependent Care Assistance Plans (DCAPs). This notice also provides increased flexibility with respect to grace periods and carryover periods to apply unused amounts in health FSAs to medical care expenses incurred through December 31, 2020, and unused amounts in dependent care assistance programs…


Mother’s Day Frittata

Posted On: May 8, 2020 | Categorized as: Workplace Wellness

Mother's Day Frittata Hats off to all Moms - Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 10. Eggs are always a healthy go-to breakfast. This easy to make frittata-like veggie casserole will sure to be a fast favorite for your Mother's Day brunch. Ingredients:  2 Tbsp coconut oil 1 yellow onion, diced 2-4 cups of chopped green vegetables, such as broccoli, kale or spinach ½ cup chopped fresh basil 1 tsp salt ½ tsp ground black pepper 6 eggs 2 Tbsp canned coconut milk Directions: Pre-heat oven to 375°F and grease 8” square or 9” round baking dish In large skillet, heat the coconut oil, add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes Add the vegetables and cook for 5 to 7 minutes (until softened). Add the basil and cook for 2 seconds more Whisk together the salt, pepper, eggs and coconut milk Transfer the cooked vegetable mixture to your prepared…


Open Enrollment and Outcomes Based Health Screenings Options During COVID-19

Posted On: May 5, 2020 | Categorized as: Employee Benefits

open enrollment options

Open Enrollment and Outcomes Based Health Screenings Options During COVID-19 Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, employers who were planning on offering on-site health screenings tied to payroll deductions are unfortunately being forced to consider other options.  Thankfully, the screening vendors have been flexible with delaying screening dates. As an employer, if you were offering premium discounts based on screening results, you must decide what to do with your payroll deductions and incentives now that screenings will not be occurring before the start of your new plan year. What options do employers with outcomes based wellness plans have? Many employers have expressed interest in keeping the current payroll deduction rates in place for a few more months. Unfortunately, under HIPAA’s rules regarding health contingent wellness programs, this option is not allowed.  Members must be given the opportunity to screen and earn incentives at least once every 12 months. To comply with…


Final Rule on the Extension of Certain Timeframes for Employee Benefit Plans Due to COVID-19

Posted On: May 4, 2020 | Categorized as: Compliance, Employee Benefits

On March 13, 2020, President Trump issued the Proclamation on Declaring a National Emergency Concerning the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Outbreak and by separate letter made a determination, under Section 501(b) of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, that a national emergency exists nationwide beginning March 1, 2020, as the result of the COVID-19 outbreak. The Department of Labor (DOL) and the Department of the Treasury (Treasury) issued a final rule that extends certain timeframes under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and Internal Revenue Code (IRC) for group health plans, disability, and other welfare plans, pension plans, and participants and beneficiaries of these plans during the COVID-19 national emergency. The timing extensions are issued to help alleviate problems faced by health plans to comply with strict ERISA and IRC timeframes and problems faced by participants and beneficiaries in exercising their rights under health plans…


Stuffed Pepper Recipe

Posted On: May 4, 2020 | Categorized as: Workplace Wellness

Stuffed peppers

Stuffed Pepper Recipe Ingredients: Sauce 1 onion, diced 1 TBSP olive oil 2 cups marinara sauce1 cup beef broth 1 TBSP balsamic vinegar 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes Peppers 6 medium peppers, any color, cut in half lengthwise (seeded) 1 lb ground lean beef or turkey 1 cup brown rice or cooked quinoa 10 oz can diced tomatoes 1/4 cup fresh parsley or 1 TBSP dried 4 cloves garlic, minced 2 tsp salt 1 tsp fresh ground pepper Pinch cayenne pepper 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese Directions: Preheat oven 375. Cook rice or quinoa according to directions. Cook onion in olive oil until soften then transfer half of onions to large bowl for pepper mix. Stir into remaining onions the sauce, broth, vinegar and pepper flakes. Cook for 1 minute. Pour sauce into 9 x 13 baking dish. Arrange peppers into dish. Combine ground meat (Can be raw) with diced tomatoes,…


Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act

Posted On: April 29, 2020 | Categorized as: Compliance, Employee Benefits

PPP blocks

Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement ActIn response to the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19), President Trump signed the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act (PPPHCEA) into law on April 24, 2020. The PPPHCEA is phase 3.5 in Congress' response to the COVID-19 pandemic following the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020, and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The PPPHCEA is a $484 billion package that increases amounts authorized and appropriated for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) discussed in our April 2, 2020, and April 13, 2020, Advisors for emergency economic injury disaster loans (EIDL) and for emergency grants under the CARES Act. The PPPHCEA also provides additional funding for health care providers.PPP FundingThe PPP was established under the CARES Act to provide small employers with an incentive to keep workers on their…


4 Tips for a Volatile Market

Posted On: April 29, 2020 | Categorized as: Retirement Plans

The COVID-19 National Emergency has impacted nearly every part of our daily lives and the investment market is no exception. When account balances fluctuate, it is tempting to make quick investment decisions. Before you do, consider a few investing tips to guide your investments through volatile markets. Remain Calm Many investors will hear bad news about the stock market performance and get nervous. Their instinct might be to sell stocks and move to bonds or cash, essentially trying to time the market to avoid losses. A word of caution: trying to time the market is very challenging in that you have to be right twice – when to get out (before the drop, which you likely missed) and when to get back in. Trying to time the market can cause investors to miss the highest- performing days, which can have a significant impact on growth. You should focus on your…


Relaxed Life, Disability and Long-Term Care Insurance Underwriting

Posted On: April 28, 2020 | Categorized as: Employee Benefits

As a result of the COVID-19 National Emergency, insurance companies have adapted to help individuals easily secure protection and obtain insurance without a medical exam that requires a nurse to visit your home or office. This is a TEMPORARY change that will likely end when social distancing can stop. How This Can help You:  You may get approved for the insurance products listed below without having to complete a medical exam or provide fluids during the underwriting process: Term and & Permanent Insurance Age 18-65: Up to $5,000,000 of death benefit Age 66-70: Up to $3,000,000 of death benefit Long-Term Care Insurance No limit on monthly LTC benefit Disability Insurance Age 18-45: No limit on monthly benefit Simplified Application Process Go to the insurance carrier’s online submission tool with Innovative to complete the electronic application. Electronically sign any necessary forms for your application. The insurance carrier will schedule and conduct…


Creating a Financial Wellness Program

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

The case for financial wellness from an employee and employer perspective Many employers incorporate a health wellness program into their organization, but financial wellness is just as important. Studies show that 47% of all employees are stressed about finances and 54% of those employees say they will likely use their retirement funds for expenses other than retirement.1 Employees who are stressed about money or debt often bring that stress into the workplace, causing lower productivity, higher absentee rates and neglect or postponing of personal healthcare. In addition, employees that cannot retire may have a negative impact on employer profitability (higher healthcare/workman’s compensation costs) and impede the development of the next generation of leaders. 5 Steps for Creating a Financial Wellness Program Discovery Understand your organizational goals and objectives. Review current demographic and participation information of existing benefit programs. Survey employees to determine their financial literacy level and pain points. Analyze…


Healthier Mac and Cheese Recipe

Posted On: April 15, 2020 | Categorized as: Workplace Wellness

mac and cheese in a bowl

Healthier Mac and Cheese Recipe Ingredients: 2 Cups Elbow Macaroni, Fusilli or Cavatappi Pasta 2 Tbsp Butter 2 Tbsp Flour 2 Cups 2% Milk 1-1/2 Cups Shredded Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese 1/2 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese 1/4 Cup Greek Yogurt 1/2 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs Directions: Cook pasta according to package directions until just al dente. Drain and reserve. While pasta cooks, melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Slowly add milk, whisking to prevent lumps from forming. Simmer for 5 minutes, until it begins to thicken to the consistency of heavy cream. Stir in the Cheddar and a ¼ cup of the Parmesan cheese, cook until completely melted. Cut the heat and stir in the yogurt. Add the pasta and toss evenly to coat. Preheat the broiler. Pour the macaroni and cheese into an 8” x 8”…



Gov. Murphy Signs Executive Order Granting Grace Periods for Insurance Premium Payments

Posted On: April 14, 2020 | Categorized as: Compliance, Employee Benefits

Gov. Murphy Signs Executive Order Granting Grace Periods for Insurance Premium Payments On April 9, 2020, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed Executive Order No. 123, extending grace periods during which certain insurance companies, including health and dental insurers, life insurers, and property and casualty insurers, will not be able to cancel policies for nonpayment of premiums. Grace Periods for Small Group Employer (0-50 EE’s) Grace period may be initially applied to April or May premium as the policyholder determines and will continue for 60 days from that date. Coverage MUST remain in force and claims must be paid not pended. If a carrier has already provided a grace period for April premium, the time period for which a grace period has already been granted shall be applied toward the emergency grace period. Grace period only applies to policyholders that were in good standing with their insurance carrier on March 1,…


March Compliance Recap

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

March was a busy month in the employee benefits world. The President signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) into law. The Department of Labor (DOL) issued a bulletin regarding enforcement of the FFCRA. The President also signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) into law. The DOL issued frequently asked questions (FAQs) on providing leave under the FFCRA that have been updated multiple times since first being issued. The DOL also issued an employee's rights notice that employers subject to the FFCRA are required to post and issued employee and employer fact sheets on the FFCRA. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued a notice regarding health savings account (HSA) qualified HDHP coverage of testing and treatment related to COVID-19 without meeting a minimum deductible. The IRS also issued a notice providing taxpayers with various filing and payment deadline extensions, including an extension for HSA…


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