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An excepted benefit health reimbursement arrangement (EBHRA) provides employer refunds to help fund expenses outside traditional health insurance coverage. As Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) continue to grow in popularity, employers are looking for new and innovative ways to mix and match their health offerings; HRAs aim to help employees receive the benefits that they need without paying for what they don’t. An EBHRA helps to cover expenses not included in the standard medical insurance coverage. Categories covered under an EBHRA include vision, dental, or short-term, limited duration insurance premiums, so your employees aren’t left with gaps in their coverage.

1. AN EBHRA Provides Flexibility for Employees and Employers

Employees can Select the Benefits They Want Without Paying for What They Don’t

Unlike some other insurance options, an EBHRA doesn’t require employees to opt-in to employer group health insurance coverage nor an individual health insurance plan. An employer can not exclusively offer and EBHRA, because it does not cover the basics of health insurance, and an employer-sponsored health plan must be used as a supplement; however, employers do not have to enroll in the more robust option. This provides an additional freedom of choice regarding health insurance, so employees can choose the combination of options that works best for them.

Employers Have the Freedom to Design

Much like other HRAs, an EBHRA is designed to provide a customized insurance experience that can be catered to both the needs of the employer and employee. The employer gets to determine what expenses can be reimbursed under an EBHRA and what the reimbursement limit is (up to a maximum of $1,800 per year). This limit will be adjusted over the years to account for inflation.

Unlike an Individual Coverage Health Reimbursement Arrangement (ICHRA), an EBHRA is restricted by uniform availability, so all eligible similarly situated employees must be offered the same benefits on the same terms. This prevents employee with detrimental health factors from being discriminated against by setting clearly defined classifications under HIPAA nondiscrimination rules.

These classifications include:

  • Full-time or part-time employees
  • Occupation
  • Hire date and time span of employment
  • Geographic location
  • Membership in a collective bargaining agreement

2. An EBHRA Offers Potential Savings Across the Board

Cost Control for Employers

Businesses that managed through the past year of economic instability and costly furloughs are facing a narrower operational budget for the years to follow. An EBHRA offers companies a way to predict anticipated costs that are in line with those budgets while still offering additional benefits. Considering so many employers are one or two unforeseen expenses away from dipping into the red, HRAs, including an EBHRA, are a game-changing solution to company benefits in a controlled cost manner.

Additional Savings Through Tax Breaks

All reimbursements made through an EBHRA are 100% deductible as a business expense for employers. Additionally, based on employer-set rules, money not used by employees during the plan year can be returned to the employer instead of being rolled-over to the next year. An EBHRA offers savings across the board to help companies make the most out of their limited budget.

Employees can also capitalize of the cost saving aspect of an EBHRA. The $1,800 available through the reimbursement account is tax-free and comes with no strings attached!

3. An HBHRA Is Unlike Anything Else Currently in the Game

Despite being an HRA, an EBHRA covers different bases than Qualified Small Employer Health Reimbursement Arrangements (QSEHRAs). The same general rules apply, both involve reimbursements for out-of-pocket medical expenses; however, what they cover, how much, and for who are completely different. To learn more about QSEHRAs, check out our blog all about them!

Like ICHRAS, the span of an EBHRA is limitless. Employers of any size can offer an EBHRA, and both can be combined with more transitional group health insurance offerings.

Despite having similar positive benefits, an ICHRA and an EBHRA covers entirely different medical expenses. Focusing on coverage not included in traditional coverage, an EBHRA offers the chance for employers to afford care that was once outside of their grasp.

Consider combining an ICHRA with an EBHRA to offer a complete and affordable profile of health coverage. When your company is ready to take the next step with setting up an HRA, you might still have some questions about getting started or exploring how to customize your process. W3LL can help you develop a plan that fits your company structure, budget, and employees. For personalization and flexibility in employee reimbursement benefits, both ICHRA and EBHRA are great options. And to help you launch yours, W3LL is a great partner.


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