What’s an HRA plan? How do HRA plans work?

Employers and staff face many healthcare questions throughout open enrollment yearly. Employers confronted with selecting which sort of plans to supply staff have many questions, reminiscent of what’s HRA insurance coverage? What’s an HRA account, and the way does it work?

What’s an HRA Plan?

Well being Reimbursement Preparations, or HRAs, are additionally generally referred to as Well being Reimbursement Accounts. An HRA is an employer-funded group well being plan. With this plan, staff are reimbursed tax-free {dollars} for certified medical bills and, typically insurance coverage premiums. As well as, any unused funds could roll over to be used the next 12 months on the employer’s discretion. Particular person Protection HRAs don’t have any type of restrict, which means  there are not any pre-set limitations based mostly on plan kind for the way a lot cash an employer can use on an HRA annually.

→ Learn our complete HRA Information! 

How does an HRA work?

HRAs are funded by employers to cowl certified medical bills for workers. Sure kinds of HRAs just like the Particular person Protection HRA and the Certified Small Employer HRA can reimburse for medical health insurance premiums as properly. The employer determines the quantity it would put into the plan, and staff could request reimbursement for medical bills as much as the quantity the employer has funded.

An HRA just isn’t technically an account; nonetheless, the time period well being reimbursement account is commonly used interchangeably with well being reimbursement association.

“Account” seems like a extra acquainted time period as a result of the association operates and seems like an account. For instance, employers could present staff with an HRA debit card to make use of as fee on the time of service as a substitute of requesting reimbursement.

Staff ask widespread questions concerning HRAs, reminiscent of can I withdraw cash from my HRA account? Very merely, no. The funds could solely be used on the time of service or as a reimbursement for medical providers rendered and paid out of pocket.

→ Click on right here for a full checklist of HRA eligible bills. 

HRA Account Guidelines

HRA guidelines for employers and staff embrace some customary HRA guidelines related to each HRA account. For instance, the enterprise owns the HRA, not the worker. Solely the corporate can put cash into the HRA, HRA funds don’t earn curiosity, and the enterprise determines the quantity contributed to the HRA. Staff can use HRA cash to pay for private and household medical bills. The foundations for reimbursement from an HRA are present in IRS Publication 502, and any unused cash stays with the enterprise. Rollover of funds for workers with an HRA just isn’t assured. Rollover is dependent upon the kind of HRA plan and the enterprise’s determination about permitting it or not. 

Some guidelines differ between HRA plans. For instance, Certified Small Employer Well being Reimbursement Association QSEHRA is well-suited for small employers, whereas Particular person Protection HRA ICHRA is appropriate for employers of all sizes. Subsequently, QSEHRA has some variations from ICHRA. 

→ Deep dive into HRA Account Guidelines 

Professionals and Cons of an HRA

There are all the time upsides and disadvantages to think about when deciding which healthcare plan to decide on. 

Listed below are a number of HRA account professionals and cons.


  • Staff can use it for medical and dental bills, prescriptions, annual exams, contraception medicines, and extra.
  • Staff select suppliers and plans.
  • Some HRA designs (together with all of Take Command’s merchandise) enable staff to make use of their HRA for insurance coverage premiums
  • Unused funds can roll over on the employer’s discretion.
  • Tax-advantaged funds for medical bills 
  • Some kinds of HRAs immediate a Particular Enrollment Interval, which means it’s simpler for workers to join medical health insurance inside 60 days of that change.
  • If an worker loses their job or quits, they maintain their medical health insurance.


  • Funds stick with the employer if an worker leaves the corporate. Observe: that is truly a professional for employers. 
  • Staff can not use it for beauty prices reminiscent of tooth whitening or different procedures or merchandise deemed pointless. Once more, this could be thought of a professional by most employers.
  • There could also be plan-based employer contribution limits relying on what kind of HRA is obtainable
  • Supplier choices could also be restricted based mostly on the insurance coverage market per geographical area.
  • In some instances, staff on partner’s plans can not get reimbursed for his or her partner’s premiums. 
  • For some kinds of HRAs, the HRA supply can substitute premium tax credit that some people obtain.
  • Some HRAs don’t combine with medical sharing plans or TRICARE, amongst others.

For a extra complete, detailed checklist of professionals and cons, try our HRA account professionals and cons weblog.


HRA and HSA plans are sometimes confused however are usually not the identical. So what’s HRA vs HSA? A Well being Financial savings Account HSA is a particular objective checking account, an official approach of claiming an account that holds cash that will solely be used for one objective – On this case, authorised well being care prices. Staff and employers could each contribute to an HSA inside IRS  rules. Additionally, there are some tax benefits related to HSA accounts.

A Well being Reimbursement Association is an employer-funded account that works as a holding place for funds obtainable to staff to cowl authorised medical bills.

Staff could entry the funds by requesting a reimbursement. As well as, employers have the choice to limit the rollover of unused funds annually and the flexibility to decide on between plans that supply barely totally different ranges of reimbursement (e.g., premiums solely vs. premiums with medical bills.)


Take Command 

At Take Command, we embrace the reimbursement well being plan mannequin wholeheartedly. Our focus is on a consumer-centric healthcare system, and we consider creating a transparent path to medical health insurance is a part of the method. At Take Command, you may entry HRA info utilizing our informative web site or talking with us immediately. We’re right here that will help you make clear and perceive your choices!

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