Telemedicine Wait Times

Category: Employee Benefits

Telemedicine Wait Times

Posted On: April 2, 2020 | Categorized as: Employee Benefits

In light of the recent COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak. The CDC recommends leveraging telemedicine for your unique medical needs to help limit the spread of the virus by eliminating the risk of exposure to the ER, urgent care, and primary care offices. They are recommending members schedule their virtual visits rather than remain in the virtual waiting room for an unknown period of time. For more information, visit here.  Please contact the Innovative Benefit Planning team if you have any further questions.


COVID-19: Carrier Enhancements

Posted On: March 17, 2020 | Categorized as: Employee Benefits

COVID-19: Carrier Enhancements March 17th, 2020 Due to the outbreak of COVID-19 in the United States, the CEO’s of major US health insurance companies met at the White House on March 10, 2020 and agreed to waive costs for certain services such as the COVID-19 test, telemedicine services and prescription refill limitations. Whether you are an employer sponsoring a fully-insured or self-funded plan, it is important to understand the insurance companies response to how certain benefits are being enhanced to address this global pandemic.  For the fully-insured health plans these changes are happening automatically.  Self-funded plans thus far have the option to adopt these enhancements. On March 11th, The Internal Revenue Service advised that high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) can pay for COVID-19 related testing and treatment, without jeopardizing their status. This also means that an individual with an HDHP that covers these costs may continue to contribute to a health…


Ways Employers Can Deal With Employee Student Loan Debt

Posted On: February 25, 2020 | Categorized as: Employee Benefits, Retirement Plans

Ways Employers Can Deal With Employee Student Loan Debt February 25th, 2020 Student debt has increased dramatically in recent years, creating a financial burden on employees’ ability to save for retirement. Many employers have begun implementing programs to help employees manage student loan debt. Millennials (and their families) are often burdened with significant student loan debt. More than 70 million millennials make up 50% of today’s workforce, and that number is growing. Also, many older workers in the “sandwich generation” are saving for their children’s college. Both of these scenarios provide opportunities for employers to design programs that help employees reduce their financial stress (which often affects productivity), as well as make the company more attractive to talented candidates. To review your options, feel free to contact Innovative Benefit Planning. We have extensive experience guiding clients through these decisions, and would be more than happy to help.


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…


IRS Extends ACA Reporting Deadline for Furnishing Statements for 2019 from January 31 to March 2, 2020

Posted On: December 3, 2019 | Categorized as: Compliance, Employee Benefits

In Notice 2019-63, the IRS extended the 2020 deadline for employers and insurers to furnish individual statements on 2019 health coverage and full-time employee status (Forms 1095-B and 1095-C) from January 31 to March 2. The notice also extends the good-faith penalty relief to 2019 for incorrect or incomplete reports due in 2020. In the Notice, the IRS did not extend the due date for filing the 1094 and 1095 forms with the IRS. If filing by paper, forms are due February 28, 2020, or March 31, 2020, if filing electronically. Please remember that filers can still take advantage of an automatic 30-day extension of the IRS filing deadline by submitting Form 8809 before the relevant due date. IRS indicated that it will continue to require the Filing of Form 1095-B and the completion of Part III of Form 1095-C for 2019. Notice 2019-63 also extends the good-faith relief to 2019. This relief applies to missing and inaccurate taxpayer identification numbers…


2020 IRS Contribution Limits Released

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

On Wednesday, the IRS announced new contribution limits for medical FSA, Commuter Benefit, and HSA plans for 2020.  The FSA contribution will increase to $2,750, a $50 increase from current limits. The HSA contribution limit for individuals with a high deductible health plan (HDHP) will likewise be raised from $3,500 for an individual and $7,000 for a family to $3,550 for an individual and $7,100 for a family.  The IRS also adjusted the contribution limits for adoption assistance programs, increasing the limit from $14, 080 to $14,300. The current and new contribution limits are listed below:   2019 2020 Medical FSA Contribution Limit   $2,700 $2,750 Monthly Commuter Benefits Contribution Limit $265 $270 HSA Contribution Limit Single:   $3,500 Family: $7,000 Single:   $3,550 Family: $7,100 Adoption Assistance Limit   $14,080 $14,300


September 2019 Compliance Recap

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

September was a busy month in the employee benefits world. The U.S. Senate confirmed Eugene Scalia as the new Secretary of the Department of Labor (DOL). The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) published proposed rules regarding affordability safe harbors and Section 105(h) nondiscrimination rules as applied to individual coverage health reimbursement arrangements (ICHRAs). The IRS also announced that the health insurance providers fee will resume for 2020. The IRS released an information letter regarding transition relief and whether employer shared responsibility penalties may be waived under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The DOL, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and Treasury (collectively, the "Departments") released final FAQs on mental health parity. The DOL issued an opinion letter regarding delaying Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave. The DOL also issued an opinion letter regarding whether employer contributions to health savings accounts (HSAs) are earnings subject to wage garnishment…


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…


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…


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…


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…


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…


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.                                


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…


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.


EEOC Pay Data Collection

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

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) announced that it will collect information from applicable employers on employee pay and hours-worked—known as Component 2 data—for 2017 and 2018 as part of the annual EEO-1 report and the data is due by September 30, 2019. The Department of Justice filed a Notice of Appeal to challenge the collection of this data.  However, as of now, the appeal does not put the filing deadline on hold. The EEOC’s notice advises employers to begin preparations for submitting Component 2 data.  Link to Notice: https://www.eeoc.gov/employers/eeo1survey/index.cfm In previous years, employers just had to submit Component 1 data—race/ethnicity, gender, and job category information. But the Obama administration added the new Component 2 requirement on hours worked and total pay for employers with at least 100 employees to help the EEOC and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs identify pay disparities across industries and occupations. The purpose…


April 2019 Compliance Recap

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

April was a busy month in the employee benefits world. The Centers for Medicare & Medicare Services (CMS) issued its parameters for the defined standard Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit for 2020. In the court case challenging the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's constitutionality, the court will hear oral arguments during the week of July 8, 2019. CMS released its 2020 Benefit Payment and Parameters final rule and fact sheet. The Department of Labor (DOL) started its appeal of the court case that invalidated portions of the DOL's association health plans final rule. The DOL also released a statement regarding its enforcement of the final rule. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a notice that all Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) enforcement actions will be governed by lower interim civil monetary penalty amounts as a matter of HHS' enforcement discretion, pending…


New NJ Commuter Law

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

Governor Murphy signed a new law on March 1, 2019, read here: Commuter Law, requiring certain employers to provide pre-tax commuter fringe benefits to employees.  New Jersey employers with at least 20 employees in the state will need to begin offering those employees pre-tax transportation fringe benefits covering commuter highway vehicle and mass transit costs. The program must be implemented by March 1, 2020, or the effective date of New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce regulations, whichever occurs first. Covered Employers The benefit applies to employers and employees covered by New Jersey’s unemployment insurance law. Employers covered by a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) are exempt until any current CBA expires. The mandate doesn’t specify how soon after hire employers must be offered these benefits or impose any notice or posting requirements, but these issues may be addressed in the impending regulations. Mandated Benefit The pre-tax commuter benefit must comply with…


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