An HRA is a type of healthcare account, funded entirely by your employer; employees cannot contribute to an HRA. It is designed to reimburse an employee for eligible medical expenses, as defined under IRS Code Section 213(d), incurred by the employee, his or her spouse and/or dependents. Though your plan may limit the expenses which are eligible for reimbursement, eligible expenses may include medical, dental and vision deductibles, insurance premiums, copayments and coinsurance as well as pharmacy expenses and some over-the-counter items. Per IRS guidelines, all medical expenses paid for with HRA funds must be substantiated. In general, HRAs have no "use-it-or-lose it" policy. The employer can specify at the beginning of the year whether funds remaining in a participant's HRA are either forfeited at the end of the plan year or whether funds can roll over and remain in the account from year to year.
The employer funds deposited into the HRA are not considered part of your income and therefore are not subject to income tax or FICA withholdings.
Participating in an HRA is a great way to stretch your healthcare budget. Typically an HRA sits alongside a health plan with higher deductible, coinsurance and copayment minimums; often these health plans have lower monthly medical premiums allowing you to save money. Some employers allow you to rollover and accumulate unused funds year after year. The more you save in your HRA, the more funds you will have to pay eligible medical expenses when they occur. An employer may also make the HRA portable so that you can take the funds with you when your employment ends or when you retire.
No. One of the main differences between the HRA and the FSA is the funding. HRAs are funded solely through employer contributions while FSAs are typically funded by the employee, usually through pre-tax, payroll deductions. Contact your Human Resources office for information about your plan.