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The Health Reimbursement Account

If you enroll in the Aetna HealthFund® HRA or Open Choice® Passive PPO plan, you will have a health reimbursement account (HRA). This is a special fund to which Crawford contributes each year and from which money is drawn to pay for your covered expenses during the year.

Plans that have health reimbursement accounts (HRAs) or health savings accounts (HSAs) are called consumer-directed health plans.

Like other employers around the country, we are looking for ways to control our health benefits costs – and health care consumerism offers a solution.

Health care consumerism is about applying the same judgment to health care spending that we apply to buying other goods and services. It's about becoming more cost conscious and more health conscious. It's about learning more about our choices, asking better questions when we see the doctor and becoming more aware of the true costs of our care. Consumer-directed health plans provide the information, tools and support needed to do all this.

Anatomy of a Consumer-Directed Health Plan

The consumer-directed health plan has three parts:

  • A fund used to pay for covered expenses, including the deductible
  • A medical plan that pays benefits once the deductible has been met
  • Special services, tools and programs that support wise health care decisions and spending.

Let's take a closer look at the fund, otherwise known as the health reimbursement account (or HRA).

How the HRA Works

Each January, Crawford makes a fixed contribution to your HRA ($750 if you enroll for individual coverage, $1,125 for employee plus one, and $1,500 if you enroll for family coverage). During the year, as you incur covered expenses, amounts are deducted automatically to pay these expenses. These amounts are also applied to your deductible. If the HRA runs out of money before the deductible is met, you meet the rest out of your own pocket. Once the deductible is met, the medical plan starts to pay benefits.

On the other hand, if your account has money remaining at the end of the year, this is rolled over and added to the following year's contribution. In this way, money can accumulate and be used to pay future expenses – as long as you stay in the plan. If you leave Crawford or switch to a plan without an HRA, you forfeit the funds in your account.

Some Examples

Here are some examples to show you how the HRA works in different situations.

Example #1
Single coverage, $750 starting HRA balance
Year one
Starting HRA balance $750
Expenses
Preventive services ($200)
Sick office visit ($50)
Payments
Plan pays preventive expenses at 100% $200
HRA pays office visit expense $50
Ending HRA balance $700
($750 less office visit expense)
Example #2
Employee + 1 coverage, $1,125 starting balance
Starting HRA balance $1,125
Expenses
Surgery ($1000) $1,400
Preventive services ($100)
Durable Medical Equipment ($300)
Payments
Plan pays preventive expenses at 100% $100
HRA pays other expenses $1,125
(This amount is also applied to deductible) Remaining expense paid by employee because deductible has not been met. $175
Ending HRA balance
(Entire HRA used to meet expenses and help meet deductible.)
$0
Example #3
Family coverage, $1,500 starting balance
Starting HRA balance $1,500
Expenses
Physical therapy ($1,000) $2,000
Preventive services ($200)
Non-preventive lab tests ($800)
Payments
Plan pays preventive expenses at 100% $200
HRA pays other expenses $1,500
(This amount is also applied to deductible) Remaining expense paid by employee because deductible has not been met. $300
Ending HRA balance
(Entire HRA used to meet expenses and help meet deductible.)
$0