How Do I Start an HRA? 3 Steps to Take Next

How Do I Start an HRA? 3 Steps to Take Next

You, much like many other business owners and benefits coordinators, have decided after a year like 2020, the best employee insurance benefit you can offer is a Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA.) It’s a financially flexible solution for employers and a true cost savings choice for employees. It’s a clear win-win. But now that you have made the decision transition, where do you go first, and what do you do next? We’ve often talked about the many types and countless benefits of an HRA offering. Today, we’ll show you the path to getting started as you embark on setting up your own company HRA plan. Here are three HRA setup steps you can consider taking next.

Outline the Plan for Your HRA

Probably the most essential step you need to take first is to carve out the roadmap and guidelines for your HRA. While you’re free to start up an HRA at any time, doing so without an outline of your benefits structure would be a mistake. And for Individual Coverage Health Reimbursement Arrangements (ICHRAs,) a written plan document is required. Start with your company budget for reimbursements, and you can layout the details accordingly.

Establishing Terms & Plan Obligations
You’ll want to describe your plan and set the terms and conditions for each employee class you employ. Depending on the type of HRA you plan to offer, you’ll have to abide by certain benchmarks. For example, an ICHRA can be leveraged by any class of employee, including full-time, part-time, seasonal, and temporary.

Establishing the Company Agents
Since HRAs belong to and are funded by the employer, the employer should include complete company information and necessary communications within the HRA plan and brief. List the designated agents and plan obligations these administrators manage.

Employee Responsibilities & Legal Disclosures
There are important employee obligations that will need to be included in your HRA plan, according to ACA and CMS guidelines. This section of your outline needs to have concise and clear definitions of the HRA benefits. For example, as a reimbursement platform, HRAs are not health insurance. And those employees who want to take advantage of the expense reimbursements will need to be enrolled in a health insurance plan of their own. Making sure you’re clear about what is required as well as what is legally provided and prohibited will help frame your HRA benefits moving forward.

Introduce the HRA to Your Employees

Once you have an outline for your plan and a structure for your HRA processes, it’s time to put together your employee communications strategy. Chances are, many of your team members may be new to the HRA concept. So, clear communication about how it works in conjunction with a health insurance plan is critical.

Employee Communication Channels
Depending on the scope, size, and regional footprint of your company, you may need to offer a variety of channels with which you communicate your new HRA plan with staff, including official notices by document or mail. Smaller organizations might benefit from a follow-up, in-person meeting, while larger corporations might need to connect digitally. Consider rolling out an official introduction statement, complete with an FAQ section. Make yourself or key members of your team available to take additional questions, as well.

Explanations of Timelines
Ensuring your employees understand their timelines is also important. They will have an allocated window of time to secure their own health insurance, for example. Employees may also need guidance navigating away from your former group plan and exploring affordable health insurance via the Marketplace. You can offer instructional tips for them to take advantage of the special enrollment period within the designated amount of time.

Processes for Reimbursements
Employees will need to know how to submit requests for medical expense reimbursements. Offer guidance to help them understand which out-of-pocket charges are eligible for reimbursement. Include details about what types of proof of payment your HRA process requires, as well. Be clear about explaining when and how your employees can also expect to receive their reimbursements. Many companies pay these with regular payroll or on a designated monthly date.

Partner with the Right Support

There are complexities involved with setting up and managing an HRA. There are reporting metrics and guidelines to be met. And staying on top of ever-changing requirements can be difficult. You might consider partnering or designating the right support to ensure your HRA is successful.

Dedicated Internal HRA Managers
Human Resources professionals may have a better understanding of how managing employee benefits works. And because your employees may have ongoing questions, it makes sense to designate key individuals as HRA benefits coordinators for the HRA plan. Having a dedicated support team internally can ensure your documentation and reimbursement processes have keen oversight.

Third-Party Administrators
For many organizations, the best way to administer and oversee the management of an HRA is with the assistance of a third-party administrator (TPA.) Outsourcing the HRA tasks and tracking can be ideal since TPAs generally are well-versed in HRA operations. And when internal staff may have trouble keeping up with ACA compliance benchmarks, TPAs typically can do so for you effortlessly. In many cases, the TPA can create an online dashboard for employees to use for reimbursements, as well.

The W3ll ICHRA Partnership
If you need a third-party administrator for an ICHRA, you don’t have to look far. The W3ll professionals can help and be the support your company needs to start and manage your HRA. From ACA compliance to enrollment tracking, W3ll can offer all the necessary tools and analytics to ensure a smooth transition to an HRA benefits platform.

Businesses of various sizes are quickly recognizing the flexibility and convenience of offering an HRA platform. The days of a one-size-fits-all company plan that doesn’t really meet the needs of the employees are fading fast. When you’re ready to set up your HRA, contact us to help you get started. We can guide you through the HRA setup process as well as chaperone your employees through the Marketplace health insurance enrollment steps. We can make it easier to set up and manage your HRA based on your business parameters and needs.

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