Innovative Benefit Planning Blog

Innovative Benefit Planning Named “Best of Biz 2019”

Posted On: August 27, 2019 | Categorized as: Company News, Employee Benefits

Innovative Benefit Planning has been named by South Jersey Biz, as one of their 2019 Best of Biz recipients. The Best of Biz award recognizes 102 of region’s most esteemed service providers and we are proud to say that Innovative has been selected for their “Employee Benefits” category. According to South Jersey Biz, “The past few months were quite busy as we spent hours researching businesses from all over the region, as well as counting your votes for our annual Best of Biz−and your voices were heard. From banking, construction, law firms and real estate to education, engineering, IT Support and staffing agencies to name a few, we listed companies that are not only the best at what they do, they are trustworthy and respected in their fields.” At Innovative, we strive to go above and beyond for our clients to deliver the best results possible so it’s an honor…


Innovative Celebrates 30 Year Anniversary

Posted On: August 27, 2019 | Categorized as: Company News

Before 2019 came to an end, Innovative Benefit Planning had to officially celebrate our 30 Year anniversary, and we certainly didn’t get here alone. On July 24th, our employees, partners and clients, came together to enjoy food trucks, music, and memories from over the years. The afternoon was filled with reminiscing, congratulations, and appreciation.Watch this video to see the highlights from the day, including well wishes and all-time favorite memories from the Innovative team.Whether you have joined us from the beginning or just this year, you have all played an integral role in our success and we genuinely appreciate each of you.https://youtu.be/6-DxhPv74L0


Do’s and Don’ts When Creating an Employee Handbook

Posted On: August 27, 2019 | Categorized as: HR Consulting

The employee handbook is an important communication resource for your employees that also limits your company's legal liability. It can be tough to decide what does and does not belong in the employee handbook, but these tips can help you along the way.   Read the full article, here.



Vice President, Consulting, Dan Foley, Named to Rand Institute Advisory Board at Rutgers University–Camden

Posted On: August 21, 2019 | Categorized as: Company News

The Senator Walter Rand Institute for Public Affairs at Rutgers University–Camden, an institute for public policy issues impacting southern New Jersey, announced last week that Innovative’s Vice President, Consulting, Dan Foley, has been appointed to their advisory board. Dan is joined by two other regional leaders, Amy Obsorn, vice president and head of private banking for Republic Bank and Christina Renna, senior vice president at the Chamber of Commerce Southern New Jersey. “It’s important for South Jersey to think and act regionally if we hope to balance our competing desires for growth with the preservation of the quality of life that makes South Jersey such an attractive place to live,” says Darren Spielman, executive director of the Rand Institute at Rutgers–Camden. “These individuals are committed to the Rand Institute’s mission to leverage Rutgers–Camden research expertise in order to bring together citizens and policy makers on behalf of South Jersey’s citizens.”…


Mind Your Health-Mental Health & Exercise

Posted On: August 9, 2019 | Categorized as: Workplace Wellness

You have probably heard of the variety of benefits from weekly exercise.... But did you know that exercise can do wonders for both physical AND mental health? People who exercise regularly gain a sense of well-being, feel more energetic throughout the day, have a better quality of sleep, and have a greater sense of positivity. Studies have shown that regular exercise has a profoundly positive impact on depression, anxiety, ADHD and several other mental health conditions. Additionally, inactivity could contribute to poor mental health and reduced feelings of well-being. A study published in 2018 examined participants with an average experience of 3.4 days of poor mental health each month. Compared to people who reported no exercise activity, participants who exercised reported 1.5 fewer days of poor mental health each month – a reduction of 43%. Types of exercise with the strongest association of improved mental health included team activity, cycling,…


NJ Bans Salary History

Posted On: August 8, 2019 | Categorized as: Compliance

On July 25th, 2019, New Jersey's Acting Governor Sheila Oliver signed NJ Bill A1094 ("the Law"), which bans employers from asking applicants for their salary history. Read the full law here, NJ Bans Salary History, to learn: What is now illegal for an employer to do What the law allows employers to do The next steps New Jersey employers should take Next Steps for New Jersey Employers If your employment application includes questions about the applicant’s salary history, consider either deleting them or, if you are a multistate employer, including a clear instruction that New Jersey applicants should not provide this information. Be certain that you expressly direct your background check vendors not to ask for or share an applicant’s salary history information with the employer unless the applicant has expressly authorized the disclosure. Conduct training with your recruiters and managers about the new law prohibiting them from asking applicants…


Additional Preventive Care Benefits Permitted for High Deductible Plans

Posted On: August 8, 2019 | Categorized as: Compliance, Employee Benefits

In Executive Order 13877, issued June 2019, the Treasury Department and the IRS were directed to consider ways to expand the use and flexibility of HSA's and HDHP's. In response to the Executive Order, the Treasury Department issued guidance on July 17, 2019, that lists newly identified preventive care items and services that may now be covered by a high deductible health plan. Read the complete executive order details here, including the list of identified items: HDPS Additional Preventive Care HDHP sponsors should review the new guidance promptly. For some HDHPs, plan sponsors may seek to expand the list of preventive care items and services covered under the HDHP. For other HDHPs, which already treated certain chronic care expenses as preventive, plan sponsors will need to consider whether changes to that list of preventive items and services are now necessary or appropriate. If you have any questions regarding these additional…


July 2019 Compliance Recap

Posted On: August 8, 2019 | Categorized as: Compliance

July was a busy month in the employee benefits world. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released a notice that expands the list of preventive care benefits a high deductible health plan can provide without a deductible or with a deductible below the annual minimum deductible. The IRS also released the indexed affordability percentage for plan years beginning in 2020. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) published an "A" rating final recommendation. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released an update to the notice requirements for plans using the HHS-administered federal external review process. A U.S. District Court upheld the 2018 short-term, limited-duration insurance final rule. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a federal district court's preliminary injunction regarding contraceptive coverage exemptions. The Department of Labor (DOL) released an advisory opinion regarding association health plans (AHPs) and multiple employer welfare arrangements (MEWAs). The Fifth Circuit Court of…


Cyber Security: The Need for Both IT and HR

Posted On: August 1, 2019 | Categorized as: HR Consulting

Businesses face a multitude of risks throughout their daily operations. One of the most complicated risks that organizations confront is cybersecurity risk. Cybersecurity is defined as the protection of internet-connected systems, including hardware, software and cyberattacks. When businesses hold sensitive data on the cloud or shared servers, you must address the potential risks that arise from storing information. Cyber security risk is difficult to address because a cyberattack can come in many forms. Hackers have become more creative in how they breach data systems, but there are vital steps HR and organizations can take to protect themselves, such as:   Implement Email Screening Software: Companies can proactively protect against these forms of cyber-attacks by implementing software that “screens” messages before they are delivered. The best defense against phishing scams is preventing the messages from reaching employees. Screening software is always improving but it’s use does not guarantee that a fraudulent…


Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Updates

Posted On: July 23, 2019 | Categorized as: Compliance, Employee Benefits

Effective July 20, 2019, Pennsylvania will recognize anxiety and Tourette Syndrome as serious medical conditions in the medical marijuana program.   The Pennsylvania Department of Health stated that the decision came after a research-based recommendation by the state’s Medical Marijuana Advisory Board, followed by Health Secretary Rachel Levine’s careful review of the medical literature available about the conditions. You can read more in Pennsylvania’s press release: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health-Details.aspx?newsid=620 The Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Act allows individuals with a serious medical condition to receive a certification to use medical marijuana obtained from a licensed dispensary in the Commonwealth. Employers need to be familiar with the Act and prepared to properly manage employees at the worksite that are certified to use medical marijuana. The Act provides protections for employees certified to use medical marijuana and in particular, it prohibits employers from discriminating or taking an adverse action against an employee “solely on the basis of the employee’s…


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…


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