The Lead - September 2016
IN THIS ISSUE:
Open enrollment will be here before you know it. (It always just seems to happen that way, doesn’t it?) As you and your clients review your renewals, know this – Lifetime Benefit Solutions is poised to be your difference-maker.
Keep in mind that we offer a complete suite of products and services, and we’re ready when you are to enhance and complement your medical and dental plans. Keep in mind, too, that our solution for FSA, HRA and HSA services -- one card/one portal/one partner – is a remarkably simple one, providing easy administration and 24/7 access to information for your clients and their employees.
Check out some of our products and services below and view our website for a complete listing.
- FSA/HRA/HSA/QTB Administration
- COBRA Administration
- Vision Services
- Retirement Services
- Compliance Services
For more information contact 1-800-356-1029 or see here.
Hear that? School bells have rung, and the kids are back in class. While you’re probably done buying notebooks, book bags and pencils, there are a few other things parents can do to make sure things go smoothly in those first few days and weeks.
- If you haven’t already, establish a bedtime and morning routine.
- Pack healthy lunches and snacks (see below).
- Evaluate your child’s wardrobe. See what fits and what doesn’t. Donate anything he/she has outgrown to relatives or charity and buy new clothes.
- Update medical records. Make sure your child is up-to-date on immunizations. It’s also not a bad idea to let the school know what medications your child is on or if he/she has any allergies.
- Set an established time and space for homework.
The Department of Labor recently announced that penalties for failure to file Form 5500 and other notices will soon increase significantly, so remember the 5500 deadline – the last day of the seventh month after the end of the plan year.
The DOL-issued regulations increase the civil monetary penalties for a wide range of benefit-related violations. Why? Because penalties have not kept up with the rate of inflation, so Congress enacted legislation in 2015 requiring an initial “catch-up” adjustment to specified penalty amounts, followed by annual adjustments.
Major changes include:
- Form 5500. The maximum penalty for failing to file Form 5500 (which must be filed by most ERISA plans) will increase from $1,100 to $2,063 every day that the Form 5500 is late.
- Group Health Plans. The maximum penalty for failing to provide the summary of benefits and coverage (SBC) required under health care reform will increase from $1,000 to $1,087 per failure.
- Violations of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), such as establishing eligibility rules based on genetic information or requesting genetic information for underwriting purposes, may result in penalties of $110 per participant per day, up from $100.
- Maximum penalties relating to disclosures regarding the availability of Medicaid or CHiP assistance, including failure to disclose to a state, on request, relevant information about the employer’s plan, will also increase from $100 to $110 per day.
- 401(k) Plans. For plans with automatic contribution arrangements, penalties for failure to provide the required ERISA §514(e) preemption notice to participants will increase from $1,000 to $1,632 per day. Penalties for failing to provide blackout notices (required in advance of certain periods during which participants may not change their investments or take loans or distributions) or notices of diversification rights will increase from $100 to $131 per day. And the maximum penalty for failure to comply with the ERISA §209(b) recordkeeping and reporting requirements will increase from $11 to $28 per employee.
- Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangements (MEWAs). Penalties for failure to meet applicable filing requirements, which include annual Form M-1 filings and filings upon origination, will increase from $1,100 to $1,502.
Other increased penalties include those for failure to provide certain information requested by the DOL; failures not corrected within specified time periods; and defined benefit plan compliance failures. The increases apply to penalties assessed after August 1, 2016 with respect to violations occurring after November 2, 2015. Penalty assessments made before August 1, 2016 (including those relating to violations after November 2, 2015) and assessments at any time relating to violations on or before November 2, 2015 will reflect the lower pre-adjustment amounts.
Lifetime Benefit Solutions offers compliance services to support 5500 filing requirements.
To learn more visit www.lifetimebenefitsolutions.com/compliance/.
If lunches of PB&J and turkey and cheese sandwiches leave your child headed straight for the lunch line or vending machines, it’s time to re-think that brown bag lunch. There are plenty of healthy recipes that will keep your child satisfied throughout the day while also giving you peace of mind that they’re eating a balanced diet.
- Baked Sweet Potato Fries
- Tortilla Pizzas
- Oatmeal Snack Cakes
- Zucchini Muffins
- Hummus and Pita Chips
- Whole Wheat PB&J (serve with a banana)
- Bowtie pasta salad with veggies and a greens salad
- Whole wheat pita pockets with grilled chicken and veggies (serve with low-fat vanilla yogurt with sliced strawberries)
Baked Sweet Potato Fries
Prep Time: 10 mins. Total Time: 35 mins.
Makes: 6 Servings
Serving size: 4 or 5 wedges
- 2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 4 small)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. Cut each sweet potato in half lengthwise, and place it flat side down on a cutting board. Cut the potato halves into 1-inch-wide wedges.
- In a small bowl, combine the oil, chili powder and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Place the potatoes on a roasting pan and brush with the oil mixture. Lay the potatoes flesh side down on the pan and put the pan in the oven.
- Cook potatoes, turning once, until soft, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and season with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Let the wedges cool for a bit, and serve warm.
Nutrition Information (per serving): Calories 171, Carbs 30g, Fiber 5g, Protein 2g, Total Fat 5g, Saturated Fat 1g
Recipe from Allison Fisheman’s You Can Trust a Skinny Cook cookbook
As mentioned in our last issue, we recently launched Best Friends for Fitness (BFF), a great way to achieve employee fitness goals with a furry friend and make a difference in the community. Briefly, employees and dogs (from local shelters) get to take each other out for a walk – and benefits accrue to both participants.
According to tons of studies, people who interact with dogs regularly realize genuine health benefits, from a lower incidence of medical problems to lower stress in general. The canine contingent, meanwhile, stands a better chance of being adopted by a loving home.
Best Friends for Fitness is based on a proven “four-legged” approach to corporate wellness activity success:
- It’s customizable and easy to implement
- It’s motivating, engaging – and fun!
- It involves individual goal setting, tracking and measurement
- It connects directly to worthy causes
When your clients enroll, they get a free app to help them, powered by WoofTrax; connection to a local animal shelter that will benefit from their walks; and an assigned account representative to assist with program implementation and management.
If this sounds like a doggone perfect fit for a client looking for a unique community program, contact us here to learn more.
We’ve got news! MDLIVE is now available in Spanish. The leading provider of telemedicine software and services, with capabilities in cloud, voice, video, mobile and virtual care technologies, MDLIVE treats routine medical conditions by connecting patients with doctors 24/7/365, saving time and offering convenience. Your clients can easily sign up by visiting www.mdlive.com/LBSDialADoc.
- 70% of dog owners exercise for at least 2.5 hours a week, compared to only 40% of adults without dogs.
- New dog owners dedicate an average of 48 more minutes a week to exercise over the course of a year.
- 60% of owners walk their dogs every day.
- Dog owners are 25% less likely to be obese.
- Just having a dog in the house cuts the risk of childhood obesity by 50%.
(Source: University of Western Australia)
Lifetime Benefit Solutions Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA), Health Reimbursement Accounts (HRA) and Health Savings Accounts (HSA) administration includes 24/7 web-based access to account information for clients and employees, and a convenient mobile app to check your balance and submit claims.
Flexible Spending Account (FSA): An FSA is an employee benefit plan established under Internal Revenue Code Section 125 that allows your employees to pay for certain qualified expenses on a pretax basis.
Our solution will help you:
- Fight the rising cost of health insurance by offering FSAs along with high deductible insurance plans.
- Offer flexible benefit options with the ability to:
- Stack FSAs with HRAs and HSAs.
- Offer an employer contribution amount and dependent care options.
- Customize eligible expenses.
- Alter plan rules for enrollees with a loss of eligibility.
Health Reimbursement Account (HRA): Coupled with your medical plan, an HRA can help you combat the rising cost of health care. An HRA is an employer-funded, tax-sheltered account that reimburses employees for allowable medical expenses. High-deductible health plan members who do not qualify for an HSA can be enrolled in an HRA. Established under Internal Revenue Code Section 105, this employee benefit plan allows participants to pay for certain out-of-pocket health care expenses while you remain in control of how the dollars are spent.
Health Savings Account (HSA): HSAs are tax-advantaged savings accounts used in combination with qualified high deductible health plans (HDHP) to give employees a new way to manage health care costs. Employees can use the HSA funds to cover qualified health care expenses—from co-payments at the doctor’s office to pharmacy bills, dental care, vision care and more.
To learn more visit our website.
Flu season is once again upon us, so it’s incumbent upon us to remind you why a flu shot should be on your to-do list.
Influenza is serious business, a disease that can lead to hospitalization and, in some cases, death. Consider: Every flu season is different, and flu infections can affect people differently. Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to others.
‘Tis the season
In the United States, flu season typically begins as early as October and lasts as late as May – otherwise know as when flu viruses are circulating at higher levels. Getting a seasonal flu vaccine (either via flu shot or the nasal spray flu vaccine) is the single best way to reduce the chances that you will contract it and spread it to others. The more people are vaccinated against the flu, the less flu can spread through the community. Even those who are unable to receive the flu vaccine benefit from others getting vaccinated to reduce the spread of the virus.
Here’s how the vaccine works
Flu vaccines trigger the formation of antibodies (the cells that help us fight infections) to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. These cells provide protection against infection from the viruses resident in the vaccine. The seasonal flu vaccine protects against the influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming flu season.
The vaccine is a three-fer
The standard flu vaccine protects against three different flu viruses. For people 65 or older, a high-dose vaccine is four times stronger than the regular flu shot. Your doctor will tell you what vaccine is best for you.
Resources: www.cdc.gov - Lynn Friedman, RN Health Management Specialist (taken from Interactive Health August 2016 newsletter)
The Lead is published periodically to keep you abreast of the ever-changing world of employee benefit plans. You are receiving this newsletter as a partner, customer, associate or friend of Lifetime Benefit Solutions.
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