Flexible & Friendly, Expert & Empathetic – P&A Group’s Fresh Perspective on Employee Benefits

One Size Doesn't Always Fit All

You’ve received the glossy brochures.  You’ve heard the sales pitch, you’ve shook hands, and you’ve received promises of lower costs, increased efficiency and less “headaches.”  Naturally, you decide to give a new vendor a chance – why not – and you sign up for a new service.  It’s too good an opportunity to miss.  Or, is it?

If you find yourself feeling like you’re one of many who has been given the same spiel, chances are you’re probably right.  What’s worse is when you change your vendor (any vendor, for that matter) and only after realize it’s a mistake.  You quickly learn ABC Company doesn’t really care about your needs; to them, you’re just a number.  But, switching vendors again seems like a DAUNTING task, so you decide to stick it out until next year.  After all, what’s another few months?

Why are you settling?  You’re better than that and you deserve more.

When you partner with P&A Group, we ask you questions.  We want to learn about your business and understand your pain points, and then come up with a solution that makes the most sense for you.   We are real people, not robots, with over 40 years of experience helping thousands of different companies (in all different industries) across the country.

Not every business is the same and we understand that.  With the P&A Group, our employee benefit solutions are not one size fits all because, well, every company is different.

We are committed to working hard for you.  Our clients’ best interests drive decision making.  Employee benefits are challenging and complicated, so let a team of dedicated experts help you.  It’s time you experienced a service administered around you.

This is the first part of a series highlighting P&A Group’s services.

Focus On Communication Practices for 2017’s National Employee Benefits Day

NEBD logo 2017April 3 is recognized as National Employee Benefits Day (NEBD) by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, a nonprofit organization which provides research and education to the benefits community.

This year, NEBD emphasizes communication and examines how important benefit choices and changes are provided to employees. We are sharing some communication tips and practices P&A Group offers – please see the links below.


Penny Panda Videos  P&A Group offers a library of educational videos for participants. View them here.


Communications & Marketing Team  P&A Group’s creative specialists are available to assist with executing a communication strategy that engages and educates your employees.  From e-mail blasts to flyers and promotional materials, we can help!  Contact our team at marketing@padmin.com.


Webinars  Has it been a while since you and your HR Team toured P&A Group’s website and dedicated employer web portal, HR Connect?  Contact us here to setup a quick tutorial and learn about new enhancements coming!


thank you square paper sign isolated on whiteIn honor of NEBD, we want to recognize our colleagues, administrators, clients and brokers who play an important role in this industry daily, providing services to people across the country.  To all benefit professionals, your role is vital to the employee benefits community.  Your service is an important contribution and we thank you for your partnership and commitment to helping others.

 

Is the March Deadline Approaching for your 2016 Flexible Spending Account?

15 march calendar sheet with red pin.

How to Use Your 2016 Funds Before March 15! 

If your Flexible Spending Account (FSA) plan is on a calendar plan year (January 1 – December 31) and your plan offers the grace period, you have until March 15, 2017 to spend any unused money currently available in your 2016 Health FSA.  After March 15, unused money will be forfeited under IRS rules.

Don’t panic – whether you have a significant balance remaining or just a few dollars, here are some helpful ideas to exhaust your account by the approaching deadline.

  1. Doctor fees and checkups. With just two weeks left until 3/15, there may be time to schedule that physical or blood work you’ve been putting off for months.  While an annual physical may covered in full by your insurance, blood and lab work are usually not.  Use your Health FSA to pay for these out-of-pocket expenses and get your medical records updated.
  1. Dental and vision visits. Did you know that your Health FSA also covers dental and vision expenses?  Consider making a trip to your dentist or ophthalmologist and pay for the visit with your Health FSA.  If there’s not enough time to schedule an appointment, you can also use your Health FSA to purchase eligible items like glasses and contact lens solutions.
  1. Stock up on eligible healthcare items. FSA-Store
    P&A Group’s vendor partner, FSA Store, offers thousands of pre-approved discounted FSA eligible items that are ready for purchase online.  Consider investing in a First Aid Kit for your car (you never know when this will come in handy), or other items like a blood pressure monitor or heating pads and wraps.  Visit here to browse eligible expenses.

To help you determine the right amount to contribute to your FSA annually, check out P&A Group’s interactive calculator.

Coming Soon: P&A Benefits Card To Be Accepted at uberPOOL, Lyft Line & Via

Personal perspective view of hand holding phone ordering Uber ride

P&A Group’s Benefits Card vendor, Alegeus, has just announced that uberPOOL, Lyft Line & Via fare can be paid for with the P&A issued Benefits Card.  This new feature will provide greater convenience for commuter participants in the pre-tax Transit program!  Previously, these fares were not authorized with the Benefits Card and therefore unable to be used under the Section 132 Transit program. Paying for uberPOOL, Lyft Line and Via fare with the Benefits Cards is currently restricted to cities who are eligible to leverage these services.  The following cities currently leverage these services:

uberPOOL

Atlanta, GA

Boston, MA

Chicago, IL

Denver, CO

Las Vegas, NV

Los Angeles, CA

Miami, FL

New York, NY

Philadelphia, PA

San Diego, CA

San Francisco, CA

Seattle, WA

State of New Jersey

Washington DC

Lyft Line

Boston, MA

Miami, FL

New York, NY

Seattle, WA

Via

Chicago, IL

New York, NY

Washington DC

This list is constantly growing, so please check the Uber, Lyft and Via websites for updates.  We look forward to working with our client and broker partners in adding this feature to eligible Transit Plans.

Top 5 Resources for Your FSA Open Enrollment

 

 

workspace with computer, pen, pencil and cup of coffeeOpen Enrollment is here and well underway for many companies.  Making important benefit decisions for you and your family can be critical, and we want you to know about the free FSA tools available to help you.  Before you enroll in your P&A Group Flex Spending Account (FSA), take advantage of these resources which include everything from explaining the plan and tax savings opportunities, to helping you determine how much to contribute and what expenses are eligible.  We’ve identified our top five P&A FSA resources and invite you to check them out.

  1. FSA Calculator – This interactive calculator lets you determine the estimated savings you’ll receive when you sign up for the FSA. Calculate your anticipated expenses and see how much you’ll save by enrolling.  Click here to access the calculator or when you log into your P&A My Benefits Account.
  1. Penny Panda Videos – Penny Panda, P&A’s newest spokesperson for everything FSA related, offers a series of four short educational videos that guide you through what you need to know about the FSA plan, how to log into your account and more. View Penny Panda on our Tools & Resource page here.
  1. FSA Store – Shop online for exclusive pre-approved eligible FSA expenses through our vendor partner FSA Store, which also offers an extensive eligible expense list of products and services. Plus, you also get $10 off your first order and free shipping on orders over $50.  Visit FSA Store here.
  1. FSA Glossary – There’s an abundance of acronyms and industry specific terms when it comes to your healthcare benefits. Unsure of what a specific FSA term or definition means?  View P&A’s FSA Glossary page here.
  1. Team of Customer Service & Benefit Professionals – Customer service simply cannot be replaced with technology, which is why we have a team of professionals ready to assist you with any questions about your P&A plans. You can also choose how you want to communicate – give our team a call, use the live online webchat feature (click “Chat Now”) or send us in e-mail inquiry through Contact Us.  Extended customer service hours are Monday – Friday, 8:30AM – 10:00PM ET.

Meet Penny Panda, Purveyor of Flex Spending Accounts

penny-panda

Penny is P&A’s unofficially “official” mascot, educator and all around lovable colleague who provides excellent guidance on everything related to a Flexible Spending Account (FSA).  Her job is to help participants and those interested in this pre-tax benefit understand the ins and outs of an FSA and the IRS rules that can sometimes seem daunting.  Through a series of brand new educational videos, Penny breaks down what an FSA exactly is, explains the cost-savings and benefits of enrolling in this account and shares insight on how an FSA works.  She also walks participants through logging into their P&A Account and shows them how to access important tools so that they can easily manage their plans.

Penny is a great addition to P&A and we can’t wait for you to meet her.  We welcome you to check out her new videos, accessible right on the P&A Group website here: https://www.padmin.com/mybenefits/video/pandavideo.aspx

Don’t forget to check out P&A Group’s new YouTube channel!  Click here:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCF91mY4PVG9XzHlNue1FsfQ

Re-designed Retirement Participant Portal Offers Improved Layout, Functionality

Dashboard - new retirement portal - track retirement

 

Dashboard - new retirement portal -portfolio & recent activity

Recently, P&A Retirement Plan Services overhauled the participant portal* and replaced it with a new modern look and feel.  Increasing user convenience and ease remained at the forefront of this re-model, and the new layout provides intuitive functionality embedded in a more aesthetically-minded design.  With a simplified navigation, the participant dashboard offers everything from account balance viewing to making changes to your investment choices and transferring money between funds.  You can even contact your Plan’s Financial Advisor directly once you’re logged into the portal.

While we hope participants enjoy the new portal, we’ll let you make up your own mind.  Interested in viewing the new design?  Click here to take a peek for yourself.

*This portal is accessible to P&A clients who obtain recordkeeping/investment platform services from P&A Group.

PCORI Fees Due by July 31

Deadline Time Business Concept

 

In 2010 the Affordable Care Act created a new entity known as PCORI, the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute.  Part of the Institute’s funding is through temporary fees imposed on group health plans, including Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) and Medical Expense Reimbursement Plans (MERPs).  These fees, which must be paid by the plan sponsor, are due by July 31 of the following plan year.

For example, a group with a calendar year plan of January 1, 2015 – December 31, 2015, must submit their fees by July 31, 2016.

Click here to view more details about the excise tax and the fee schedule imposed on the annual deadline.

FSA Store Provides Online Shopping for Pre-Approved FSA Eligible Expenses

FSA-Store

June, which is designated as national safety month, also marks the official start of summer and kicks off summer vacation for many people.  While you may not necessarily be thinking about your Flexible Spending Account (FSA) as you lay by the pool, there are seasonal products and services that you should be aware are FSA eligible.  Why not stock up on summer essentials and save money by using your FSA?  Here’s a quick peek at some common items that you can purchase with your FSA and use during the summer months:

  • Emergency medical kits and first aid kits (this will especially come in handy if you’re traveling this summer or going camping)
  • Prescription sunglasses
  • Sunscreen over SPF 15
  • The cost of summer day camp for children under age 13 (you must be enrolled in the Dependent Day Care FSA)
  • Motion sickness aids

FSA Store, P&A’s partner vendor, offers an online plethora of pre-approved FSA eligible expenses that you can purchase from your computer or mobile device with your FSA Benefits Card.  Save time and money by shopping for items that you know are FSA eligible, and stock up on supplies for you and your family.  FSA Store offers an extensive eligible expense list, live online chat for inquiries, sales and other perks.  To check out FSA Store, visit https://www.padmin.com/fsaextras/.

 

Flip flops and sunglasses on wooden planks and water

Save time and money when you use your FSA for pre-approved summer essential items.