Innovative Benefit Planning Blog

7 Low-Cost Initiatives Employers Can Incorporate in Their D&I Programs Now

Posted On: June 23, 2022 | Categorized as: Employee Benefits, HR Consulting

Countless studies show that employers who focus on diversity and inclusion policies and practices help increase employee engagement and boost overall happiness in the workplace, thus improving retention. Research shows that companies with diverse, inclusive teams generate 19% more revenue and perform 35% better than their industry average.While integrating diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs in the workplace might seem expensive, there are actually several ways to efficiently make the workplace more inclusive.Here are 7 techniques companies can consider integrating DEI initiatives without added cost:Tweaking your paid-time-off policies offers multiple opportunities to align DEI initiatives with existing benefits. Consider:Does your parental leave policy include adoptions and new foster children?Is family leave specific only to mothers, or can it include new fathers and/or same-sex new mothers? Is parental leave longer for birth mothers than for others?Is your sick leave policy broad enough to cover a variety of contingencies, such as transition…


May 2022 Compliance Recap

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

The month of May again brought relatively little major employee benefit compliance guidance from federal agencies. However, there was plenty of activity in the courts to provide useful insight into steps employer plan sponsors can take to safeguard against benefits litigation. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR PROVIDES MENTAL HEALTH CONDITION GUIDANCE UNDER FMLA The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released Fact Sheet #280 as well as Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about how the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) accommodates mental health-related leaves. The DOL’s Wage and Hour Division issued the guidance as part of Mental Health Awareness Month to provide employers additional information on how to handle leave requests for mental health concerns. Among the notable provisions in the guidance – especially given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, incidents of gun violence, and news regarding the economy – is a reminder that an FMLA-eligible individual working for an employer subject to FMLA may take…


What Health Plan Sponsors Need to Know about Publishing Machine-Readable Files

Posted On: June 7, 2022 | Categorized as: Compliance

person typing on computer with 3-D files appearing off-screen

June 1, 2022 As of July 1, 2022, group health plans must clear one of the first major compliance hurdles required by the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) Transparency in Coverage (TiC) Final Rules. By that date, plans and insurance carriers must have prepared and posted two machine-readable files (MRFs) to a public website so individuals can readily learn their in-network group health plan costs as well as historical paid amounts for out-of-network services. (A third MRF relating to prescription drugs will be required later and is not subject to the July 1, 2022, deadline.) There is still some confusion surrounding the MRF requirement, so this Advisor is designed to provide important context and actionable steps for plan sponsors to understand their transparency obligations as they cope with the new TiC disclosure requirement. Background The ACA contains numerous provisions requiring medical care and services to be delivered more transparently. The TiC…


Temporary Flexibilities for Remote Document Examination for Form I-9 Extended

Posted On: June 7, 2022 | Categorized as: Compliance

In March 2020, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) instituted a temporary policy which allowed employers with a remote workforce to defer physical presence requirements associated with Form I-9 and Section 274A of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Initially applicable only to employers with an entirely remote workforce, the flexibilities were extended in April 2021 to include all employers who hire remote employees on or after April 1, 2021, if such employees were hired to exclusively work remote due to the employer’s COVID-19 policy. Under this guidance, exclusively remote employees are exempt from the physical inspection requirements until non-remote employment is undertaken, or new guidance around the requirements has been issued.Previously, this guidance was set to expire April 30, 2022, but has now been extended again until October 31, 2022. DHS has taken steps to evaluate if this policy should be made permanent.…


Mental Health: What a Stigma-Free Workplace Looks Like Breakfast-N-Learn

Posted On: May 26, 2022 | Categorized as: Events

Innovative is excited to host our Breakfast-N-Learn, Mental Health: What a Stigma Free Workplace Looks Like. Mental health is top of mind everywhere these days as about 20% of adult Americans report symptoms of mental illness according to the Centers for Disease Control. Workplace mental health concerns such as anxiety, stress, burnout, and depression had already been growing, and then the COVID-19 pandemic and remote work situations just intensified these matters. It’s no secret that work-related factors, especially during the pandemic, are impacting employee’s mental health. It’s no longer a bonus to discuss mental health in the workplace, employers have a responsibility to support employees. During this presentation, we will dive into:Learning objectives include:Benefits of addressing mental health in the workplace Understanding the physical health connection and potential health risks How to build a culture of mental health and break the stigma in the workplaceCreating management and leadership trainingWorkplace Wellness initiatives to encourage…


April 2022 Compliance Recap

Posted On: May 24, 2022 | Categorized as: Compliance

After several very quiet months this year, April saw renewed compliance activity. The IRS provided guidance on transportation fringe benefits unused due to COVID-19 workplace changes and announced inflation-adjusted amounts for HSAs and HRAs. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced Medicare Part D rates and the parameters and thresholds for qualified retiree prescription drug coverage. The Department of the Treasury and the IRS issued a proposed rule to base Marketplace premium tax credit (PTC) eligibility on the cost of family health insurance coverage rather than individual coverage to fix the “family glitch” related to PTC eligibility.Treasury Reminds Employers that Unused Transportation Fringe Benefits Cannot Be Cashed Out or Deposited in FSAThe Department of the Treasury released Information Letter 2022-0002 in which the Office of Associate Chief Counsel (Employee Benefits, Exempt Organizations, and Employment Taxes) reminded employers the Internal Revenue Code (Code) prohibits cafeteria plans from offering qualified…


Innovative’s 3rd Annual Well-Being @ Work Summit Recap

Posted On: May 23, 2022 | Categorized as: Company News, Workplace Wellness

On May 12th, 2022 Innovative Benefit Planning hosted the 3rd Annual Well-Being @ Work Summit, an event dedicated to making workplaces healthier, at the Adventure Aquarium in Camden, NJ! https://youtu.be/Eq-f-FltJpMThe morning started out on the right foot with complimentary biometric screenings and breakfast during registration, while attendees also had time to visit with vendors. Attendees received a “registration bag” which included a “Mental Health Matters”, promotional items from sponsors such as portable chargers, toothbrushes, stress balls, chip clips, and more.  The event had a wonderful turnout, including HR professionals, C-Suite decision-makers, health and well-being professionals and top well-being vendors in the industry. "Awakening Well-Being in the Workplace Through a Justice and Healing Centered Lens"Following registration, Innovative kicked off the day’s presentations with opening remarks and the morning speaker, Alisha DeLorenzo, Owner at Living YES.  DeLorenzo is a human connection expert working with individuals, communities and organizations across the globe to awaken…


2022 Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) Fee

Posted On: May 18, 2022 | Categorized as: Compliance

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) fee deadline is around the corner. In Notice 2022-4, the IRS adjusted the applicable dollar amount to be multiplied by the average number of covered lives for purposes of calculating the fee for policy years and plan years that end on or after October 1, 2021, and before October 1, 2022. The fee for the forgoing period is $2.79. Although the PCORI fee is based on the plan year, the reporting and fee due date is always July 31. However, for 2022 the deadline will be August 1, instead of the usual July 31 deadline because the 31st falls on a Sunday. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires health insurers and sponsors of self-funded group health plans and HRAs to pay the fee using IRS form 720. The PCORI fee is based on covered lives. Accordingly, both employees and retirees and their covered spouses and children…


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…


Need a custom plan designed for your team?

Schedule a Consultation

Contact Us Now To Get Your Business Covered