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High-Deductible Health Plans incorporate Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) into a benefits strategy. HRAs allow an employer to reimburse medical expenses paid by participating employees, thus yielding tax advantages to offset health care costs. Employees are then reimbursed for the “first dollar” of coverage up to the maximum amount funded by the employee, or the employee can save the money in their account for future medical expenses and pay for current expenses until the deductible is met and coinsurance kicks in. The High-Deductible Health Care Plan is ideal for employees who want to pay lower premiums, save money for future health care expenses and have the freedom to choose their doctor. We have the tools and processes to help your employees become better consumers of health care.
We can help you to determine if High-Deductible Health Plans are right for you and evaluate the features such as Health Reimbursement Arrangements and Health Savings Accounts that will work best for your company. We are experts at building short and long-term benefits strategies.
Anyone can contribute to a Health Savings Account if they have are exclusively enrolled in a federally qualified High-Deductible Plan and have no other first-dollar medical coverage.
Contributions to a Health Savings Account may be made by either the employer or the employee, or both, subject to certain total annual contribution limits. Employees age 55 and older can make additional make-up contributions, similar to 401(k) plan allowances.
Money in an HSA can be used to pay for any qualified medical expense permitted under the federal tax law, including most medical care and services, and dental and vision care. HSA funds can even be used for prescriptions drugs and certain over-the-counter drugs including aspirin.
Employees own the funds accumulated in an HSA whether they are employee or employer contributions and they are portable should the employee terminate employment.
The benefits of an HSA are:
- Affordability – You should be able to lower your health insurance premiums by offering high-deductible health insurance programs.
- Savings – Your employees can save the money in their account for future medical expenses and the account is interest bearing, so funds will appreciate over time.
- Accountability – Your employees become more educated and more cost-conscious consumers of health care as they see how their decision-making process impacts the amount of money in their account.
- Tax Savings – Funds contributed to the account are not subject to employment or social security taxes.
We can help you to determine if implementing Health Savings Accounts should be a component of your High-Deductible Health Program.
An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a counseling service for employees and their eligible dependents that may be experiencing personal or work place problems. EAPs can also help managers to deal with employee performance and productivity issues by giving them a resource that will counsel employees with personal issues that are affecting job performance such as: marital problems, financial problems, substance abuse, etc. EAP programs are effective at increasing productivity, reducing absenteeism and increasing employee satisfaction.
Health Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) and Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts allow employees to pay for eligible out-of-pocket health care and dependent care expenses with pre-tax dollars. By using pre-tax dollars, employees get an immediate discount on qualifying expenses.
FSAs are usually funded through voluntary salary reduction elections made during open enrollment or at the time of another qualifying event. FSAs can be set up so employees can access their accounts using convenient debit cards at the point-of-purchase.
Some features of a health flexible spending account include:
- Employer contributions are excluded from your gross income.
- No employment or federal income taxes are deducted from the contributions.
- Withdrawals may be tax free if used for qualified medical expenses.
- Funds can be used for medical expenses even if the employee has not yet placed the funds in the account.
- Funds qualify for the use-it-or-lose-it provision.
If you offer a Health Reimbursement Arrangement or a Health Savings Account, we can help you to establish a Limited Purpose Flexible Spending Account that coordinates with those types of plans and can cover certain qualified expenses.
Consumer-Driven health insurance plans allow members to use personal Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs), or similar medical payment products to pay routine health care expenses directly, while a high-deductible health insurance policy protects them from catastrophic medical expenses. The national Chamber of Commerce’s Employee Benefits Study 2007 estimated that companies with 1,000 or fewer employees paid their employees on average almost $22,000 in benefits in addition to wages. Consumer Driven Health Plans (CDHPs) aim to better manage health cost trends by:
- Encouraging employees to be better consumers of health care
- Promoting health and wellness
- Rewarding employees for making smart decisions about their health care
We can help you determine if a CDHP is the right choice for your business and your employees.