Innovative Benefit Planning Blog

Healthy Summer Salad for a Hot Day

Posted On: July 23, 2019 | Categorized as: Workplace Wellness

Innovative Workplace Wellness is invested in supporting your business through the health of your employees. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), chronic disease accounts for 75% of total healthcare costs. With an employer-sponsored wellness program, you can provide targeted health education and resources needed by your employees to create a healthier workforce. Wellness programs help to build team camaraderie and a “culture of wellness,” which in turn, leads to happier, healthier, more productive employees. At Innovative, we are committed to a healthy lifestyle, that’s why we like to share our healthy tips and tricks with you! Below you will find a healthy summer recipe to create at home.   Chicken and Cucumber Salad with Parsley Pesto   Ingredients 2 cups packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves (from 1 bunch) 1 cup fresh baby spinach 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan…


EEOC Component 2 Data Update

Posted On: July 18, 2019 | Categorized as: Compliance, Employee Benefits

On July 2, 2019, following initial notifications to employers of the upcoming Component 2 filing deadline, the EEOC updated the Component 2 website to include both Additional Information https://eeoccomp2.norc.org/info.html and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) sections. https://eeoccomp2.norc.org/faq.html Under the Additional Information section, employers can find a sample form, an instruction booklet, a fact sheet, a sample initial Component 2 notification letter sent to employers, and reference documents. Under the FAQs section, employers can find answers to questions related to the filing deadline, the filing requirements, the summary compensation and hours worked data to be reported, multi-establishment reporting, the Component 2 online filing system, and confidentiality concerns. Many of the FAQs are consistent with previous guidance from EEOC. However, one particularly helpful and new FAQ is related to whether an employer must choose the same “workforce snapshot period” for Component 2 data that it chose for Component 1 EEO-1 reporting for 2017…


HRA Final Rules

Posted On: July 18, 2019 | Categorized as: Compliance, Employee Benefits

The Department of the Treasury (Treasury), Department of Labor (DOL), and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) (collectively, the Departments) recently released their final rules regarding health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) and other account-based group health plans. An HRA is a type of account-based group health plan funded solely by employer contributions that reimburses an employee for IRC Section 213(d) medical care expenses incurred by the employee, or the employee’s spouse, dependents, and children who are not age 27 as of the end of the taxable year, up to a maximum fixed-dollar amount during a coverage period. Link to IRC Section 213(d):  https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/USCODE-2011-title26/pdf/USCODE-2011-title26-subtitleA-chap1-subchapB-partVII-sec213.pdf These reimbursements are excludable from the employee’s income and wages for federal income tax and employment tax purposes. An HRA can allow amounts that remain at the end of the year to be available to reimburse medical care expenses incurred in later years. The final rules were…


Four Tips for Managing Five Generations in One Workplace

Posted On: July 18, 2019 | Categorized as: HR Consulting

As organizations become more age diverse, business leaders find themselves managing a multigenerational workforce. Five generations in the workplace can mean more opportunity for success or more challenges, depending on how an organization deals with the generational differences. Each generation has grown up in very specific times in history and their outlook, beliefs and perspectives on what “work” means to them have been molded by the socioeconomic, political and cultural atmospheres in which they grew up. The five generations include: Traditionalists/Silents: born before 1927 and 1946 (2% of the workforce) Baby Boomers: born between 1946 and 1964 (25% of the workforce) Generation X: born between 1965 and 1980 (33% of the workforce) Millennials/Generation Y: born between 1981 and 1995 (35% of the workforce) Generation Z: born 1996 to 2012 (5% of the workforce) Each of the generations have different leadership, communication, and career development styles. Understanding what motivates them will…



Do you Practice Sun Safety?

Posted On: July 18, 2019 | Categorized as: Workplace Wellness

Summer is here! That means spending more time with the family, more outdoor activities, and most importantly more exposure to the sun and its harsh UV rays. Increased exposure to UV radiation increases the risk of skin cancer. Due to climate change, the stratospheric ozone is thinning allowing less protection from the sun's harmful rays, which in result increases the UV radiation levels over time. We advise everyone not to rely on temperature as a guide, but to check the sun protection times daily to see when the UV is forecast to be 3 or above. Using the tips below, challenge yourself to practice good sun safety all through July!   SPF and How to Apply Sunscreen. Sun Protection Factor (SPF) measures the length of time a sunscreen product protects against sun exposure. Here are some tips on how to apply sunscreen: --No spray on sunscreens--this can cause you to miss…


President Trump Signs an Executive Order to Improve Price and Quality Transparency in Healthcare

Posted On: July 17, 2019 | Categorized as: Health Care Reform

President Trump signed an executive order directing federal agencies to increase healthcare price and quality transparency. The order specifically directs the Departments of Labor, Treasury and Health and Human Services to issue guidance and propose regulations that would disclose negotiated rates, cost-of-care and de-identified federal healthcare data, and to expand the availability of Health Savings Accounts. The order does not immediately trigger any new federal policies, except for the specific instructions to the federal agencies to develop regulatory guidance. The order includes five main provisions instructing federal agencies to issue guidance that would:   Require hospitals to disclose information about their negotiated rates in a format that's understandable and usable by patients. Require insurance companies to provide patients with information about cost of care, including out-of-pocket costs, before they receive services. Develop a comprehensive roadmap for consistent, limited, consumer-centric quality metrics. Disclose de-identified federal healthcare data that protects patient and…


June 2019 Compliance Recap

Posted On: July 17, 2019 | Categorized as: Compliance

June was a relatively busy month in the employee benefits world. The Department of Labor (DOL), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the Department of Treasury published final rules that removed the prohibition against integrating a health reimbursement arrangement (HRA) with individual health insurance coverage and recognized certain HRAs as limited excepted benefits. A U.S. District Court issued a permanent injunction against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act contraception mandate. The President signed an executive order directing federal agencies to issue guidance and regulations regarding high deductible health plans with health savings accounts, Section 213 medical care expenses, flexible spending arrangements, health plan communication of out-of-pocket costs, and surprise billing. The Department of Health and Human Services' Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding HIPAA compliance for health plans during care coordination and continuity. DOL, HHS, and Treasury Publish Final Rules on Health…


NJ Now Has Greater Protections for Employees Who Are Cannabis Users

Posted On: July 17, 2019 | Categorized as: Compliance, Employee Benefits

On July 2, 2019, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed a bill into effect that overhauls the state’s existing medical cannabis program and law, the Compassionate Use of Medical Marijuana Act (CUMMA), and greatly expands patient access to medical marijuana. For employers who must address the issue of employees and job applicants who use and test positive for cannabis, the New Jersey Assembly Bill A20 provides certain job protections for medical cannabis users. This is a significant change for employees and employers, since CUMMA previously did not explicitly contain such protections.  These changes are summarized below. The CUMMA Amendment Assembly Bill A20 now contains a non-discrimination provision which provides that an employer cannot take an adverse employment action against an employee “based solely on the employee’s status as a registrant” for medical cannabis. Unlike the previous draft of the bill, there is no carve-out in Assembly Bill A20 allowing an…


Andrew Gloninger Joins as Benefits Guardian

Posted On: July 17, 2019 | Categorized as: Company News

It gives us great pleasure in introducing our newest member, Andrew Gloninger, to the Innovative team! Andrew joins Innovative’s employee benefits department as a Benefits Guardian. This position is a key member of the client services team and will serve as a direct point of contact for our client’s employees. As a Benefits Guardian, Andrew will field all claims and problems related to either client’s coverage or those specifically related to an individual employee, including benefit questions, provider directories, pre-authorization and referral assistance. “Benefit Guardians must embrace our core values to put people first, by having a positive and supportive attitude when delivering timely and accurate services to our clients. Andrew’s experience and sense of urgency makes him a great candidate for this position,” remarked Eileen Green, Chief Operating Officer. Andrew is a recent graduate from Temple University, Fox School of Business, where he received his Bachelor of Business Administration…


HHS Proposes to Revise ACA Section 1557 Rule

Posted On: July 17, 2019 | Categorized as: Employee Benefits, Health Care Reform

On May 24, 2019, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR) released a proposed rule to revise its regulations under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s Section 1557. OCR also released a fact sheet and press release. The proposed rule would eliminate: Certain definitions, including the definition of “covered entity” Specific nondiscrimination definitions based on sex and gender identity Translated taglines in significant consumer communications, the requirement to post information about Section 1557 and nondiscrimination at a covered entity’s locations and website, use of language access plans, and certain video standards for individuals with limited English proficiency (LEP) Any reference to a private right of action to sue covered entities for violations of the proposed rule The requirement to have a compliance coordinator and written grievance procedure to handle complaints about Section 1557 violations Enforcement-related provisions Public comment on this proposed rule will close…


Reference-Based Pricing: Employers Are Starting to Take Control of Costs

Posted On: July 17, 2019 | Categorized as: Employee Benefits

You may have heard of Reference-Based Pricing as the healthcare strategy gains momentum to control healthcare costs. But what is it and how does it work? Click below to learn what Reference-Based Pricing is and the pros and cons to consider. Innovative's unique Reference-Based Pricing 6 step process first makes sure it's the right option for you and then bridges the gap between members, provider and RBP vendor to ensure everyone is in sy nc. Contact Innovative here for a free RBP assessment.                                


Innovative Myth Series #6: Funding a Profit Sharing Plan for a Company with More Than 100 Employees Will Only Benefit My Employees

Posted On: July 17, 2019 | Categorized as: Retirement Plans

See how Innovative helped one client generate significant tax savings for their company. Download full case study here. Let Innovative perform a complimentary review of your plan, contact our retirement planning team here.                               Download full case study here. Let Innovative perform a complimentary review of your plan, contact our retirement planning team here.


Kyra Foster Joins as HR and Recruiting Coordinator

Posted On: July 9, 2019 | Categorized as: Company News

We are excited to welcome our newest member of the Innovative team. Please join us in welcoming Kyra Foster as HR and Recruiting Coordinator. In this position, Kyra is responsible for assisting with all internal and external HR related inquiries or requests, as well as providing support to the VP of HR and General Counsel regarding client’s compliance needs. Additionally, Kyra will be assisting in Innovative’s recruitment and interview process and meeting with department managers to develop specific recruiting plans. “This position is crucial to the success of our internal HR process and the culture at Innovative. Kyra’s energy and enthusiasm was evident from her first interview and we look forward to seeing Kyra thrive in her new role!” stated Deirdre Groenen, VP of HR and General Counsel. Kyra recently received her Bachelor of Arts in both Public Relations and Political Science from Temple University. During her time at Temple,…


30 Pledges to Giveback Halfway Recap

Posted On: June 18, 2019 | Categorized as: Company News, Events

30 Giveback

We’re almost halfway through the year and our 30 year givebacks campaign is in full swing! To celebrate our 30 year anniversary and pay thanks to our amazing community and countless partners, Innovative had pledged back in January to give back in 30 different ways this year, and make our community a key part of our business in 2019. As we hit the halfway point, we are half way to 30!   The givebacks we've done so far: #30. The Innovative team came together to support the United Way Impact Fund Campaign for their 2019 Annual Campaign. #29. Innovative sponsored and supported “For Pete’s Sake-Take a Break from Cancer” Annual Gala. #28. We sponsored Samaritan Healthcare & Hospice's annual "Celebration of Life Gala". #27. The Innovative team collected coats for our Winter Coat "Share the Warmth" Drive, which benefited the local nonprofit "Code Blue Collaborative". #26. A team from Innovative cooked…


A Nutrition Approach to Prostate Cancer Prevention

Posted On: June 18, 2019 | Categorized as: Workplace Wellness

According to the American Cancer Society, one in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime. Prostate cancer is a disease in which some of the cells of the prostate gland grow and divide in an uncontrolled way. The resulting mass is called a malignant tumor, which often originates in the outer part of the prostate. Other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men: nearly 200,000 cases are diagnosed in the United States each year. Read a few nutrition and lifestyle modifications below that research has shown to reduce the risk of prostate cancer.   Low-Fat Diet: It is recommended that men reduce fat consumption, particularly saturated fat, from dairy and meat sources. Studies have also shown that meats that have been grilled to the point of being charred may produce a carcinogen that can concentrate in the prostate. Prostate cancer prevalence…


The Importance of a Roth Option in Retirement Plans

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

Roth contributions can provide significant benefits to retirement plans for both participants and plan sponsors alike. But what does Roth mean? Unlike pre-tax, Roth refers to post-tax dollars, meaning the money has already been taxed when it goes into a participant’s account. They are beneficial to participants because qualified Roth distributions are taken tax free. Plan sponsors benefit from the after tax feature because it offers flexibility in how participants can save which improves employee retention, particularly with younger employees. 63% of 401(k) plans in the United States offer a Roth feature for participants within the plan3 . Plan sponsors that offer a Roth option allow their participants to perform tax diversification. Simply put, participants can be more flexible with how they save for retirement. Tax diversification refers to the allocation of an individual’s investments into different account types based on their tax characteristics1. This flexibility in saving will help…


May 2019 Compliance Recap

Posted On: June 18, 2019 | Categorized as: Employee Benefits

May was a busy month in the employee benefits world. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released health savings account annual contribution limits and high deductible health plan minimum annual deductibles and annual out-of-pocket maximums for 2020. The Department of Labor (DOL) released questions and answers (Q&As) to clarify its enforcement of the association health plan final rule. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published a final rule that implements conscience rights protections contained in federal laws. The Department of Health and Human Services' Office for Civil Rights (OCR) released a proposed rule to revise its regulations implementing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's Section 1557. The IRS released an information letter on how to determine whether an item is a Section 213 medical care expense. The OCR released a fact sheet clarifying when business associates are directly liable for violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability…


Migraine and Headache Awareness Month-How to Cope in the Workplace

Posted On: June 18, 2019 | Categorized as: Workplace Wellness

Almost 40 million Americans live with migraine and headache disorders. Unfortunately, headaches are considered invisible diseases, due to its ability to cause people who live with it to feel isolated and alone. There is a lack of understanding from employers, the public and people with migraine themselves about the impact and complexity of the condition. The impact of migraines and headache in the workplace presents a serious issue for employers as well as the individual. Attacks typically last between 4 and 72 hours and symptoms cease in-between attacks which means employees are often able to return to work soon after an attack. Despite the severe pain experienced during an attack many people will not take sick leave when they experience a migraine and will continue to attend work despite their productivity levels being considerably impaired. Promoting employees’ good health and well-being adds value to an organization by increasing motivation and…


Compliance Alert: IRS Raises HSA/HDHP Limits for 2020

Posted On: June 18, 2019 | Categorized as: Compliance, Employee Benefits

Compliance Alert: IRS Raises HSA/HDHP limits for 2020 The IRS has announced that effective January 1, 2020, an individual in a High Deductible Health Plan (“HDHP”) with self-only coverage has a new maximum allowable annual contribution into a Health Savings Account of $3,550, increased from $3,500.  The maximum annual contribution for individuals with family coverage will increase from $7,000 to $7,100.  The catch-up contribution for people age 55+ remains at $1,000. See below for the updates to the annual contributions and cost sharing.   Because of the cost-sharing limits change for HDHPs in 2020, employers that sponsor High Deductible Health Plans may need to make plan design changes for plan years beginning in 2020.  Employers that allow employees to make pre-tax HSA contributions should review their benefit guides and election forms to reflect the updated HSA contributions limits for 2020.


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