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A Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA), commonly referred to as a Health Reimbursement Account, is an IRS approved, employer-funded, tax-advantaged employer health benefit plan that reimburses employees for out-of-pocket medical expenses and individual health insurance premiums. Health Reimbursement Arrangements are notional arrangements; no funds are expensed until reimbursements are paid. Unlike a Health Savings Account (HSA), there is no limit to the amount of money an employer can contribute to an employeea€™s Health Reimbursement Arrangement.
A Health Reimbursement Arrangement may reimburse any expense considered to be a qualified medical expense under IRS Section 213 of the Code, including premiums for personal health insurance policies. HRA Administration Reporting features make real-time monitoring of Health Reimbursement Arrangement liabilities, reimbursements and utilization easy.
Editor's Note (September 2013): Because of health reform, there are changes to the use of HRAs that affect some HRA plans. There are specific HIPAA and ERISA regulations governing the distribution of individual health insurance policies at the workplace--basically restricting employer involvement with the sale or administration of employee Individual health insurance policies.
A Health Reimbursement Arrangement, or HRA, is a type of Medical Expense Reimbursement Plan or MERP that allows the employer to use tax-free dollars to reimburse designated employees for out-of-pocket medical expenses (including insurance premiums and deductibles).
Employees are not taxed on the value of their HRA coverage or on reimbursements they receive from the HRA. HRAs are not subject to HSA rules thus allowing greater flexibility in the plan design of the high deductible health plan.
An integrated HRA is an HRA that is integrated with a high deductible major medical plan, whereby the HRA is offered only to those who take the major medical coverage. A stand-alone HRA is an HRA that is not linked to a major medical plan and has separate eligibility rules.
Few things are scarier than racking up medical bills and then learning that your health insurance company won't pay.It's a nightmare that could panic any policyholder. Typically, the outside reviewers are health professionals who have experience managing the medical condition, procedure, treatment or other issue in question, Vukadin says.An insurance company that holds firm to a denial must inform you how to initiate an external review, she says.

Learn the latest trends that will help grow your portfolio, plus tips on investing strategies. Through Health Reimbursement Arrangements, employers reimburse employees directly only after the employees incur approved medical expenses.
Within IRS guidelines, employers may restrict the list of reimbursable expenses in any way they choose for their HRA plan.
Employers can design the program not to allow balances to roll over from one year to the next. The HRA administration platform utilized should ensure employer compliance with these regulations.
Eligible medical expenses are approved and reimbursed either by the employer or a third party administrator.
You must request this "internal appeal" within 180 days of being notified that your claim was denied.You may write a letter to your insurer, asking for a full and fair review of its decision. You may, for example, be told to mail your request to a specified address.You must file a written request for an external review within 60 days after your insurer sent its second decision. We ask that you stay focused on the story topic, respect other people's opinions, and avoid profanity, offensive statements, illegal contents and advertisement posts. Please refer to Bankrate's privacy policy for more information regarding Bankrate's privacy practices.
Bankrate may be compensated in exchange for featured placement of certain sponsored products and services, or your clicking on certain links posted on this website. However, limiting the rollover feature defeats a key Health Reimbursement Arrangement advantage. For current information, see: FAQ - Can Employers Reimburse Employees' Individual Health Insurance in 2015?
Treasury and State publications spelling out how employers can use HRAs for tax-free reimbursement of the premiums paid for personal health insurance policies.

An HRA plan is an excellent way to supplement health insurance benefits and allow employees to pay for a wide range of medical expenses not covered by insurance.
Employers may allow employees to have access to their Health Reimbursement Arrangement accounts after retirement. Government Accountability Office found that claim denial rates vary significantly among states and health insurers. Plans older than that date are said to be "grandfathered" and are not required to allow you to appeal. Insurers are supposed to notify consumers if they have a grandfathered plan."If the plans make certain changes, though, they are no longer grandfathered," notes Vukadin, who wrote a 2012 academic paper on the new rules.Another 'no'?
The outside party will either uphold the insurance company's denial of your claim or reverse it in your favor. Please avoid posting private or confidential information, and also keep in mind that anything you post may be disclosed, published, transmitted or reused. Then, seek an external reviewIf your claim is still rejected after your insurer's internal appeal, you can file for an "external review," in which an independent third party will go over your case.
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A 2006 study by the industry group America's Health Insurance Plans found external reviewers decide in favor of the consumer about 40 percent of the time.But, too many people fail to appeal because of the difficulty of wading through the process, Vukadin says.

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