Employee benefits newsmakers inhealth insurance, retirement plans, health care, and more. (Photo:Shutterstock)

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Innovation and collaboration don't get any better than thatfound in the benefits business. Here's news from companies in theemployee benefits industry.

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The Financial Solutions Lab at the Center forFinancial Services Innovation with FinLab partner JPMorgan Chase & Co. launched its Fifth Annual Challenge. It will focus onidentifying employee financial health solutions that serve bothemployers and employees, catering to the needs of the diverseAmerican workforce with a focus on low- to moderate-income workers.Each winning organization will receive $125,000 in capital andprofessional services assistance. The deadline to apply is November9, 2018.

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EaseCentral, an HR and benefits SaaS platform,announced a partnership with health insurer Oscar Health. Thepartnership will let California-based brokers access pre-builtOscar health care plans within the EaseCentral system and submitenrollments completed within EaseCentral directly to Oscar.

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Edukate,a financial wellness platform announced its collaboration withGradifi, anemployee benefits platform. Gradifi's SLP Plan (Student LoanPaydown) lets employers help pay down an employee's student loandebt. Gradifi Refi gives employees access to leading student loanrefinancing lenders at no cost to the employer. Gradifi's CollegeSaveUp Plan allows employers to make contributions to employees'529 college savings plans.

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Consumer health care navigation company Quantum andCityof Hope announced the first major employers that haveimplemented the Personal Precision Oncology Management (PPOM)program. The program lets employers provide a range of clinicalcancer support services to their employees and expertise to thoseemployees' physicians. The Cheesecake Factory Incorporated, PorticoBenefit Services (the employee benefits division of the EvangelicalLutheran Church in America Ministry) and Wawa, a chain ofconvenience retail stores are among the first employers.

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Kashable, avoluntary employee benefit provider that helps employees tackledebt and unexpected expenses, has secured a $100 million creditfacility that will accelerate the company's growth and ability toextend loans. Kashable provides an alternative to 401(k) loans,high interest credit cards and pay advances for employees who needemergency financing.

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Zenefitsand Arianna Huffington's Thrive Global announced Zenefits Well-being inpartnership with Thrive, an application integrated into theZenefits platform. It will deliver curated content, tips and toolsfrom Thrive to individual employees at appropriate moments.Business owners can also use the app to measure and track workforcewell-being.

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HumanInterest, an automated 401(k) provider, announced the launch ofits Partner Program, newly integrated with a Partner Portal. Thenew Partner Portal is designed for partners to manage their clientreferrals. With access to the Partner Portal, Human Interestpartners have the ability to refer small business clients, trackstatuses on client referrals, manage revenue share agreements, andupdate contact, payment, and other user information. Financialadvisors, benefits advisors and consultants, and benefits brokerscan participate by signing up online.

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READ MORE:

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Employee benefits product roundup: Intuitivechatbot, LTC coverage, empathy test

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Benefits industry product roundup: PBM system, AIcollege counseling, financial wellness

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Employee  benefits newsmakers: America'sBest 401(k), EZShield, DPL Financial Partners

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Employee benefits newsmakers: Jellyvision, Wink,Endeavor Plus, Milliman

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C.J. Marwitz

C.J. Marwitz is a writer and editor.