Health Reimbursement Accounts | An Alternative Way to Pay for Medical Care
You’ve heard of Health Savings Accounts – but what about Health Reimbursement Accounts?
By Lou Anne Campese
A health reimbursement account is a savings account set up by an employer for employees to use when paying for qualified healthcare expenses. Unlike the employee-funded and/or employer-funded health savings account (HSA), the health reimbursement account (HRA) is entirely employer-funded.
An employer may choose to set up an HRA if it offers a health plan. HRAs work well with High Deductible Health Plans (HDHP). HDHPs have deductibles that are often high enough that they discourage some employees from seeking some types of care, so the company may choose to pay some or all of the deductible through the HRA to prevent this from being a concern. The money is allocated from the company’s budget just like any other expense, and is set aside from the company’s funds – not the employees’ paychecks.
Oftentimes, a third party account administrator (usually affiliated with the insurance carrier) is hired to help with the distribution of the funds. Doing so prevents the chance of any HIPAA violation on the part of the employer, and saves the employer the time with any administration necessary to distribute and track the funds going out of the account. It also allows for the option of a debit card to be used to access the HRA funds.
We have seen extensive growth in the area of HRAs in the past several years. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to give us a call: 800-268-1830.