The Skinny on HSAs & HRAs


It’s undeniable that the broker business is evolving. With regulatory changes, such as the 21st Century Cures Act [H.R. 5447], there are a number of increased opportunities. At the same time, the market has amplified competition and spurred customer demand. This is why brokers should overcome any apprehension towards change and embrace it. To do this, brokers need a clear vision of the market opportunities and what is needed for success.

According to Managed Care Magazine, HRAs are slated to make a big comeback.. As of January 1, 2017, there is a new hybrid HRA model, known as the Qualified Small Employer Health Reimbursement Arrangement (QSE HRA), that was designed specifically for small employers (with under 50 employees) a new cost sharing measure for paying for individual health insurance premiums. Where brokers fit into this is open to interpretation, however, the opportunity to sell is significant. Property and casualty insurers will have the opportunity to sell QSE HRAs to their clients, adding value to established relationships. Benefit advisors, specifically those selling in the private exchange market, will gain the opportunity of enrolling new consumers into these hybrid plans.

Already Heath Savings Accounts (HSAs) are utilized by millions of Americans. In fact, nearly 18.2 Million Americans had opened an HSA account by June 2016, an increase of 25 percent compared to 2015 [2]. HSA assets had also grown to $34.7 billion, a 22 percent Year over Year (YOY) increase from 2015 to 2016.

Moreover, the 21st Century Cures Act will revive the ability of small businesses to make tax deductible contributions. Before the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, offering pre-tax stipends was quite common among the nearly 28.5 Million small businesses in the U.S. In fact, nearly 17 percent of small businesses offered them to their employees. However, due to regulatory change, penalties of $100 or over $30,000 per employee were enforced annually. (See also: QSEHRAs: 4 Things to Know)

The views and opinions expressed by the authors on this blog website and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of Softheon, Inc. (dba Welltheos) or any employee thereof.

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Yvonne Villante
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Yvonne Villante

Senior Research Manager, Healthcare Reform at Welltheos
As our Senior Research Manager, I work closely with our Solution Architect, Product Management, and Sales teams. My role centers around competitive and market analyses, constructing premium content (whitepapers, research briefs, infographics), curating stories for our newsletters, and blogging.

I earned my BAA from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and MBA in Healthcare Administration from the University of Ohio (Athens). I was born and raised on Long Island, NY and enjoy capturing what the island has to offer through photography.
Yvonne Villante
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