Category: HRA

Health Care Reform’s Effect on Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs)

A Health Reimbursement Arrangement (commonly referred to as an HRA) has long been considered an extra financial benefit to ensure your healthcare needs are met. Although not considered health insurance, a Health Reimbursement Arrangement is an employer-funded health benefit plan, approved by the IRS to reimburse employees for out-of-pocket medical expenses, including personal health insurance premiums. Although there are restrictions on what the money can be spent on, the arrangement is a great way for employees to pay for a wide range of medical expenses that their current insurance does not cover.

Employers can also choose to include year-to-year rollover options, and there is no cap on how much an employer can contribute. Some employers may even grant retired employees access to the arrangement. Furthermore, employers can change the options of the plan at any time, establish a maximum balance for employees, and sort the reimbursements into categories such as dental, vision, and more.

HRAs are also notional, meaning employees are directly reimbursed only after the approved medical expense was incurred.

It must be noted, however, that a Health Reimbursement Arrangement is not the same thing as a Health Reimbursement Account. The two funds are commonly mistaken as one in the same. Although the Health Reimbursement Account is also an employer-funded, tax-exempt medical aid plan, the chief difference is how and when the money is allocated.

Learn more about how the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) will affect Health Reimbursement Arrangements by reading below. Check for the latest information on health care reform for making informed decisions on your health care and insurance.

What is the SHOP Marketplace?

The Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) is a new program that simplifies the process of buying health insurance for your small business. For 2014, the SHOP Marketplace is open to employers with 50 or fewer full-time-eqivalent employees (FTEs). The advantages of using SHOP include: You control the coverage you offer and how much you pay toward employee premiums. You can compare health plans online on an apples-to-apples basis, which helps you make a decision… Continue reading

Ch Ch Ch Ch Changes! Countdown to 2014.

If your role within your firm involves you touching any part of your group health insurance plan, these past few years have been anything but boring.  Though there are still some legislators talking about killing the Affordable Care Act (dubbed Obamacare) by defunding it, it seems that most have agreed that it is finally time to understand and embrace the coming changes from Health Reform. That shift in thinking comes just in time for some… Continue reading

Will Health Care Reform Lower or Raise Premiums?

There will be 50 statewide insurance exchanges where consumers can compare premiums and coverage plans opening soon. The current administration has announced that it predicts low costs when the exchanges open on October 1st. How will the exchange lower premiums? In the last few years, many people have chosen to live without health insurance. This has especially been the case with young working class individuals between the ages of 18 and 35, which is the… Continue reading

Major Provision of The Health Care Reform Delayed: What Now?

The Affordable Care Act was launched in 2010, and while it never had a formal start date, the Obama administration has announced that the implementation of one key provision will be delayed until 2015. That delayed provision, known as the “employer mandate,” requires that any business with more than 50 employees must provide affordable health insurance coverage or pay a penalty. This delay will give administrators on both the business and government ends time to… Continue reading

The Post-aPPACAlyptic World and The Extinction of the 50 Man Firm

In the post-aPPACAlytic world, the 50 employee firm will be hard to find, increasingly so each year so that by 2020, or perhaps sooner, it will be extinct. The truth is, there will be no reason to officially have 50 employees, or a little more than that.  Even employers with 60, perhaps 70 or even 100 will be hard to find and increasingly rare.  Let’s call this group of employers the small large-employers. The quantity… Continue reading

Take My Coverage – PLEASE! An Obamacare Fairy Tale

Inspired by a true evaluation of options with one of my clients, this is the tale (set in the “not too distant” future) of a well-meaning employer and how he unwittingly hurt one of his best employees and his company – all while trying to do the best thing for his employee.  The new rules of PPACA bring surprising new motivations.  The names have been changed to protect the innocent! Once upon a time, there was a… Continue reading

Summary of Benefits and Coverage Information

Most have been prepared for the Health Reform SBC mandates related to their fully insured health plan.  However, Health Reform also states that SBCs are required for all group health plans, including HRAs.  This provision starts with the first open enrollment period beginning on or after September 23, 2012 – basically October 1st and beyond. Because the SBC guidelines were written for fully-insured health plans, they are confusing when applied to HRAs.  The HHS has suggested that… Continue reading

Comparative Effectiveness Research Fee

A quick notice to employers offering or considering offering HRAs: Health Reform requires that plan sponsors (employers) and health insurers pay a fee to be attributed to thePatient-Centered Outcomes Research Trust Fund. The fund will establish a nonprofit corporation to conduct clinical effectiveness research to evaluate risks and benefits of medical treatments, services, procedures and drugs. Who must pay the fee? Many HRAs will be required to pay the fee. If an HRA is integrated with… Continue reading

How to Set Up an HRA

Posted by Rick Lindquist from ZaneBenefits The list of ways employers can use HRAs (or Health Reimbursement Arrangements) to improve benefits and lower health plan costs grows every day. HRAs are the future of employer-sponsored health insurance; they are one of the only employee-benefits vehicle allowed to reimburse premiums on individual health insurance and are therefore a critical part of any defined contribution health plan. In this post, we examine five uses of HRAs and then summarize how HRAs work so you… Continue reading

Health Reform Policy and Implementation Update

We were very pleased to have Michael Bertaut, Healthcare Economist/Exchange Coordinator for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana, with a group of our clients in our new office this afternoon.  He provided an extremely timely update on the state of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (better known as PPACA or Health Reform). This was a great review of the key elements of Health Reform as we prepare for next month’s Supreme Court decisions regarding… Continue reading