Avoid Open Enrollment Scares this Halloween

OE Scares

Open Enrollment can be the stuff nightmares are made of, but it doesn’t have to be.  Prepare by staying up to date on your company’s benefit offerings and know the plans that are available to you as a healthcare consumer.  Take advantage of P&A’s free tools and learn how Flexible Spending Accounts can complement your other benefits and save you money throughout the year.

FSA Calculator

Use our interactive calculator that lets you determine the estimated savings you receive when you sign up for an FSA. Access the calculator here or when you log into your P&A My Benefits account.

Penny Panda Videos

Penny Panda, P&A’s spokesperson for everything FSA related, offers a series of short educational videos that guide you through what you need to know about the FSA plan, how to log into your account and more. Check out Penny Panda.

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 today.

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.

Team of Customer Service & Benefit Professionals

P&A Group’s team of benefit professionals are ready to assist you with any questions you have about your P&A plans. You can choose how you want to communicate – call us, use the live online webchat feature or send us an e-mail inquiry through Contact Us Extended customer service hours are Monday – Friday, 8:30 am – 10:00 pm ET.

Phone:  (800) 688-2611 • Website:  www.padmin.com

P&A Group’s FSA Online Enrollment Offers Easy Convenience

FSA Online EnrollmentOpen Enrollment is often a hectic time for companies and their HR departments, so we’re all about making it easier in any way we can.  That’s why P&A offers online enrollment – at no additional cost – for your Flexible Spending Account (FSA) renewal.  This secure enrollment option is available for any size company that has more than 25 eligible participants.

What exactly does online enrollment entail?  It’s easy.  First, let your renewal rep know that you want to use the online enrollment platform.  Next, determine the window of dates you want online enrollment to be available to your employees.  Then, we’ll provide you with a file template asking for your employees’ main demographic info.  All that’s required of you is to complete the eligibility file and upload it securely to P&A’s employer portal, HR Connect.  P&A’s online enrollment team does the rest.  Pretty easy, right?

P&A’s online enrollment solution gives your employees more freedom when it comes to enrolling in their FSA plan – they can log in at any time and change their election amount during their open enrollment window.  It also gives employees the opportunity to make other changes to their accounts, like signing up for direct deposit and taking advantage of P&A’s text messaging features.  With the elimination of paper forms and multiple file formats, online enrollment makes it easy for your company to renew its FSA plan.

To get setup with online enrollment this Open Enrollment, contact your P&A representative or submit an inquiry.

Online Enrollment Advantages

  • Provides employees an easy way to re-enroll in their FSA
  • Allows employees to make their own election changes during the Open Enrollment window
  • Reduces paperwork and time spent collecting enrollment forms and processing last minute changes
  • P&A provides a secure, password protected file in HR Connect with your company’s online enrollment results


P&A Group Honored with Fast Track Award Sponsored by Business First

Biz First Fast Track Award 2017

Joe Priselac (left) and Michael Rizzo (right) receive the 2017 Fast Track Award

Michael Rizzo, President of P&A Group and Joe Priselac, CEO, were awarded the 2017 Fast Track Award last week by Business First.  The Fast Track list ranks companies based on revenue growth over the last three years.  P&A Group celebrates 18% growth with this award!

“While P&A Group is no newbie to the employee benefits industry, we feel fortunate to continue growing organically and successfully in a competitive industry. P&A is successful because our employees are – they embody what is needed to achieve client and participant satisfaction through excellent customer service,” says Joe Priselac.

The award ceremony, held in downtown Buffalo’s Westin hotel, honored 54 companies small and large across the Western New York region.

School’s Out for Summer: Save on Summer Daycare with Your FSA

Summer day care blog post graphic (1)

Summer is in the air (finally!) and many families are settling into new routines, enjoying the perks of summer vacations carefully planned around work schedules and other commitments.  It’s a busy time of year for many, especially for working parents who have to worry about child care while school’s not in session.

Luckily, there’s some financial relief available on summer childcare costs through Dependent Daycare Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs).   This kind of pre-tax advantage gives you an average of 30% savings on eligible dependent daycare expenses.  Here’s how it works.  When you enroll in a Dependent Care FSA, you choose to contribute a certain dollar amount – pre-tax – into this special designated account.  That total dollar amount is divided by the nuber of pay periods you have in a year, and that amount is deducted from your paycheck, pre-tax, every pay period.  Because you are using pre-tax dollars – money before taxes are deducted – you save approximately 30% when you use this account.  With the high costs of day care, a 30% savings can make a huge impact on your budget.

If you have a child or dependent who attends a summer day camp take advantage of the savings an FSA offers and use this account to pay for those summer day care expenses – as long as they’re under age 13, per IRS rules.  (Overnight camps are not an eligible expense, so the Dependent Care FSA is unable to reimburse for it.)  You can also use this account to pay for other qualifying day care expenses, like nursery schools, adult day care or eldercare for your dependent parents, and day care centers.

Participants in the Dependent Daycare FSA need to enroll in the account during their employer’s Open Enrollment period (check with your HR department to see when yours may be), unless they experience an event that allows them to enroll mid-plan year, like a change in work schedule or moving.  IRS guidelines impose a maximum contribution amount of $5,000 for this account.

Already enrolled in a Dependent Daycare FSA?  Make sure you use your account by the end of the plan year.  An IRS rule known as Use or Lose does not allow Dependent Care funds to rollover from year to year, so be diligent in spending your account balance by the end of the plan year.  Your plan may offer a grace period, which allows you to use leftover funds on eligible expenses during the first 2 ½ months of the following plan year.  Check with your employer to see if your plan has this provision in place.

Whether you’re a first time participant, or a regular FSA account holder, the tax savings you receive with an FSA can be pretty significant – and it gives you the chance to put more money in your pocket!

Do you participate in a Health FSA, too?  Consider stocking up on essential summer care products at FSA Store, an online provider of exclusive pre-approved, discounted FSA eligible expenses.  Experience great savings on sun care, first aid kits and more.

PCORI Filing Fee Due July 31

July 31. Calendar on white background.The next Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) filing deadline is July 31, 2017 for all Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs), Medical Expense Reimbursement Plans (MERPs) and self-funded medical plans with a plan year ending in 2016.  View the schedule of fees and learn more about this excise tax.
Created under the Affordable Care Act, part of PCORI’s funding is through temporary fees imposed on group health plans, HRAs and MERPs.
If you have any questions, please contact a P&A sales representative or your plan administrator, Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM ET at (800) 688-2611.


DOL will not pursue claims against Fiduciaries During Phased Implementation Period Ending on January 1, 2018

An Update from Washington

On May 22, 2017 the DOL published Field Assistance Bulletin No. 2017-02 which announced a temporary enforcement policy related to the Department of Labor’s final rule defining who is a “fiduciary” under ERISA and the related prohibited transaction exemptions (PTEs).

The final rule, entitled “Definition of the Term ‘Fiduciary’; Conflict of Interest Rule — Retirement Investment Advice,” was published in the Federal Register on April 8, 2016, became effective on June 7, 2016, and had an original applicability date of April 10, 2017. The PTEs also had an original applicability date of April 10, 2017, with a phased implementation period ending on January 1, 2018, for the BIC Exemption and the Principal Transactions Exemption. The applicability date was previously delayed from April 10, 2017 until June 9, 2017.

The temporary enforcement policy states that during the phased implementation period ending on January 1, 2018, the Department will not pursue claims against fiduciaries who are working diligently and in good faith to comply with the fiduciary duty rule and exemptions, or treat those fiduciaries as being in violation of the fiduciary duty rule and exemptions.1

 1On March 28, 2017, the Treasury Department and the IRS issued IRS Announcement 2017-4 stating that the IRS will not apply § 4975 (which provides excise taxes relating to prohibited transactions) and related reporting obligations with respect to any transaction or agreement to which the Labor Department’s temporary enforcement policy described in FAB 2017-01, or other subsequent related enforcement guidance, would apply. The Treasury Department and the IRS have confirmed that, for purposes of applying IRS Announcement 2017-4, this FAB 2017-02 constitutes “other subsequent related enforcement guidance.”

HRAs – Will they work for your company?

A Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) is an employer funded benefit that is used to reimburse employees for medical expenses as defined in IRS Code 213(d). You as an employer are able to contribute tax-deductible dollars to the account, allowing employees to receive tax-free reimbursements.

The HRA allows for employees to be reimbursed for the same expenses as a Health Flexible Spending Account (FSA). This includes insurance co-pays and deductibles, dental and vision expenses, and prescription co-pays.

What’s great about HRAs is employers have the flexibility to restrict what can be reimbursed. For example, if you want to only reimburse a portion of the high deductible health insurance, prescription co-pays or just vision-related expenses, you can design the plan with those restrictions. On the flip-side, if you want your employees to receive reimbursement for all eligible medical, dental and vision expenses allowed under IRS guidelines, you can.

What are the benefits for employers?

  • Employer contributions to HRAs are NOT subject to payroll taxes, workers’ compensation or pension and profit sharing contributions.
  • By combining a higher deductible insurance plan with an HRA, you can lower your company’s health insurance costs!
  • Administrative costs are tax deductible and can be paid by the employer, the employee or both
  • HRAs complement FSA plans and help to increase FSA participation.

How does combining the HRA and FSA work?

An HRA and FSA work together to give your employees a robust benefits package. Having both plans allows for employees to better manage their health expenses. The HRA provides employees with employer funds and the FSA allows employees to contribute pre-tax dollars to pay for additional out-of-pocket expenses – making it easier to manage those costs.  It’s a win-win for both the employer and employee.

Interested in learning more about how an HRA can work for you, contact us today!