Men

Movember and Men’s Healthcare

Each November, men across the globe grow mustaches to spotlight issues within men’s healthcare. Let’s talk about some of the most common issues and how consumer-directed healthcare accounts can help cover related expenses. Men’s Healthcare: Cancer Screenings After non-melanoma skin cancer, the CDC reports, prostate cancer is the most frequent type that men experience. Although … More >>

FSA vs. HRA vs. HSA: The Differences

When it comes to FSA vs. HRA vs. HSA, can you tell the differences? Each has a distinct purpose. Below is a quick overview and helpful infographic that compares specific features of each type of account.

Three consumer-directed healthcare (CDH) benefit accounts offer tax advantages. They include Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs), Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs), and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs).

While these accounts bear some similarities, they are not the same. Employers sponsor all of them, and they all offer tax advantages, help offset the cost of medical care, and help individuals take more control of their healthcare. However, beyond that, there are striking differences. 

FSA vs. HRA vs. HSA: The Overview

Flexible Spending Account (FSA)

Funding:  FSAs are owned by the employer. Participants contribute the funds, although employers may choose to contribute.

Contributions:  Participants reduce their tax liability by making pre-tax contributions. For 2023, the maximum annual election will be $3,050 for healthcare FSAs and $5,000 for DCAPs (Dependent Care Assistance Plans), often offered alongside healthcare FSAs.

Eligible Expenses:  Participants can use FSA funds to pay for a wide range of out-of-pocket medical expenses approved by the IRS. Eligible purchases include copays, deductibles, and coinsurance for medical care, prescriptions, eye exams, eyeglasses/contacts, dental care, first aid supplies, over-the-counter (OTC) medications, and more.

Unused Funds: There are three options to address unused funds at the plan year’s end. Each plan adopts one of the three as chosen by the employer.

  • ‘Use It or Lose It’ – Leftover funds are forfeited to the employer.
  • 2.5-Month Grace Period – Extra time is provided to spend the funds.
  • Carryover – Participants carry over a certain amount of unused funds to the next plan year; for 2023, the carryover limit will be $610.

Portability: FSAs are not portable. The employer owns the accounts, so participants cannot keep them if they change employers (voluntarily or involuntarily) or retire.

Other Important Facts: FSAs are “notional” accounts. That means participants must incur an eligible expense before administrators process a reimbursement. A significant advantage to the participant is that the funds do not need to accrue before use. The total annual election amount is available to spend immediately after the plan year starts.

Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA)

Funding:  HRAs are owned and funded by the employer only.

Contribution Limits:  There is no government-mandated limit on funding. The employer determines the amount each year. Since the employer is the sole contributor, there are no contribution tax breaks for the employee. However, employer contributions are not counted as income to the employee-participant.

Eligible Expenses: Employee participants can use their HRA to pay for qualified out-of-pocket medical expenses for themselves and their dependents. HRA-qualified expenses are determined by the employer and may vary from one company to the next. 

Rollover:  Unused funds may roll over from year to year, either in total or up to a certain amount, depending on the plan parameters.

Portability:  HRAs are not portable. An employee-participant loses access to the funds if he or she changes employers (whether voluntarily or involuntarily). Employers who offer retiree health insurance benefits may also offer an HRA for former employees enrolled in the retiree health plan.

Other Important Facts:  HRAs are “notional” accounts, meaning the participant must incur a qualified expense before funds are paid out. Self-employed persons are generally ineligible to have an HRA. However, if the self-employed person’s spouse is considered an employee of the business and receives a W-2 paycheck, then the spouse can have an HRA.

Health Savings Account (HSA)

Funding: HSAs are owned by the employee (although some employers also choose to contribute).

Contribution Limits: For 2023, the maximum annual election is $3,850 for employees with individual health coverage and $7,750 for those with family coverage. 

Eligible Expenses: Employee participants can use their HSA to pay for the same IRS-approved out-of-pocket medical expenses as FSAs. In addition, HSA owners can use their funds to pay premiums for COBRA, long-term care, and Medicare Parts A and B.

Plan Requirement: To be eligible to contribute to an HSA, the employee-participant must be enrolled in an HSA-qualified high-deductible health plan (HDHP).

Unused Funds: The account automatically renews at the plan year’s end, and any unused funds roll over to the next year.

Portability: HSA accounts, being individually owned, stay with the employee-participant for the life of the account, no matter their employment status.

Other Important Facts:

  • HSAs offer three tax advantages. Contributions are deducted from payroll before tax calculations. Withdrawals for qualified expenses are tax-free. Interest on the balance and any investment earnings are also tax-free.
  • Account owners may invest their HSA dollars once they meet the minimum balance threshold required by their plan provider.
  • Account owners over age 55 can make an extra “catch-up” contribution of up to $1,000 per year above the annual limit.
  • HSA owners under age 65 incur both income tax and non-qualified withdrawal penalties. However, when they turn 65, funds used or withdrawn for non-eligible expenses are only considered regular income for tax calculations.

FSA vs. HRA vs. HSA: The Infographic

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2023 Limits Increase for FSA, Transit, Adoption

The IRS published Revenue Procedure 2022-38 on October 18, 2022, detailing 2023 limit increases for Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs), Transit, and Adoption benefits. FSA Limit for 2023 The maximum annual contribution for Health FSAs is rising from $2,850 in 2022 to $3,050 in 2023. Dependent Care FSA limits remain $5,000 for married couples filing jointly … More >>

Back to School

FSA Help Pay for Back-to-School

Flexible Spending Account (FSA) holders with calendar-year plans have barely three months left in their plan year, and some are looking for ways to spend down their balances. Although we’re past the back-to-school period here in Arkansas, you can still use FSA dollars to cover certain school supplies. Some schools ask families to continuously replenish … More >>

allergies flu COVID

Is it Allergies, Flu or COVID?

From hayrides and warm apple cider to Halloween festivities and Thanksgiving homecomings, people look forward to Fall. But the return of cooler temperatures also brings an increase in hay fever and a rise in cold and flu rates – and there could be another COVID wave. When you sneeze or cough, how do you know … More >>

3 Ways to an Easier Enrollment

Is your company getting ready for open enrollment? It can be a stressful time for HR and employees alike. An estimated 45% of workers say they are apprehensive about the open enrollment process. Here are three ways to help ease the stress of enrollment season. #1: Take Active Steps to Fend Off Stress and Burnout HR … More >>

travel

Using Your Benefits to Ease Travel Stress

This summer has been hard on travelers, from high gasoline prices to numerous canceled flights. Whether traveling for business or pleasure, no one has been immune from it. Here are eight ways you can use your benefit accounts to help ease travel stress. 1. Stock Up on Medications Use your FSA or HSA account to … More >>

surprise

Surprising FSA-Eligible Expenses

Healthcare flexible spending accounts (FSAs) let you use pre-tax funds to pay for some medical, dental, and health-related products and services, including certain over-the-counter items. Most people know FSA eligible expenses include doctor visits, surgery and other medical procedures, prescription medicines, dental, vision, chiropractic, and mental health services. However, there are some eligible expenses that … More >>

debit cards

Debit Cards are a Benefits Must Have

During the pandemic, the use of debit and credit cards has soared. A 2021 MarketWatch analysis found that debit card transaction volumes continue to surge, while growth in credit transactions has remained essentially flat. Always a possible addition to tax-advantaged benefit accounts, debit cards have increasingly become a benefits “must have.” Employees Save Time Offering … More >>

Some Nutritional Needs Qualify as FSA/HSA-Eligible Expenses

No, you can’t use your Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA) for straight food purchases like meat, produce and dairy. But you can use them for some nutrition-related products and services. To review, tax-advantaged accounts have regulatory restrictions on eligible products and services. The products and services must have a medical purpose, … More >>

woman preventive care

Reducing Out-of-Pocket Expenses for Women and Children’s Preventive Care

New preventive care and screening guidelines aimed at reducing out-of-pocket expenses for women, infants, children, and adolescents were recently announced by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS) The new guidelines take effect for plans starting in 2023. Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), certain group … More >>

New Year, New You with Employee Wellness Programs

As we welcome a new year, many of us are focused on how we can better ourselves and are making new resolutions. Some are emphasizing physical health, vowing to eat better and exercise more. Others are targeting their financial health, making an effort to spend less and save more. Some are centered on taking care … More >>

DCAP Benefits and the Sandwich Generation

Life expectancy in the U.S. has gone up over the years thanks to a variety of factors. However, longer lifespans are creating a conundrum for many Americans. Millions of people in the workforce find themselves caring for their children and aging parents/relatives at the same time. A Dependent Care Assistance Program, or DCAP, can help … More >>

no suprises act

No Surprises Act and Medical Bills

Did you know more than a third of employees say the medical bills they receive after seeking care are “always or usually” a surprise? But 28% pay them anyway because they don’t want to have to deal with the insurance company. Insurance plans cover some of the cost of medical care. What’s left over falls … More >>

2022 FSA Contribution Limit, Max Carryover Announced by IRS

On November 10, 2021, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) published Rev. Proc. 2021-45, announcing the 2022 annual contribution limit for Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs), maximum carryover amount, contribution limits for Transportation benefits and more. 2022 FSA Contribution Limits The annual maximum 2022 FSA contribution limit will increase to $2,850. The annual limit applies to Health … More >>

flu shots pandemic

Flu Shots and the Pandemic

Flu season can be miserable for everyone. Parents have to deal with sick kids at home. Employers have to deal with employees taking sick time. Doctors offices are hard to get into for an appointment. Add in people dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. It seems more important than ever to get, and stay, educated on … More >>

Mental Health Care and Your Benefits Accounts

With one in five U.S. adults experiencing some form of mental illness in any given year, the need for mental health care impacts many families. Yet, according to the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI), 55 percent of adults and 49 percent of children ages 6-17 with a mental illness don’t receive mental health care services. … More >>

Captain Contributor Explains Eligible Expenses

” Good news! Your FSA or HSA account now has even more spending power! The CARES Act of 2020 expanded the use of Health Savings Accounts and Flexible Spending Accounts accounts to include more eligible healthcare items. Watch this video to learn more about eligible healthcare expenses! Captain Contributor – Benefits Super Hero Captain Contributor Explains ICHRAs … More >>

Captain Contributor Explains COBRA Insurance

” Sometimes things happen that can cause you to lose healthcare coverage provided by an employer’s group health plan. Luckily, COBRA is an emergency option that keeps people from losing their health insurance until they can find other coverage. Watch this video to learn more about COBRA Insurance! Captain Contributor – Benefits Super Hero Captain Contributor Explains … More >>

COVID-19 PPE Is Now An Eligible Healthcare Expense

The fight against COVID-19 has expanded to the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE) items. On Friday, March 26, the IRS released Announcement 2021-7, which qualifies PPE purchased for the primary purpose of preventing the spread of COVID-19 as medical expenses under section 213(d) of the Internal Revenue Code. The regulation allows specific items to be … More >>

Captain Contributor Explains the Uniform Coverage Rule

” You probably already know that by using a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) you can get significant tax savings, but did you know that with a health or limited purpose FSA, you do not have to wait for that money to build up before it’s available?  Watch this video to learn more about the uniform … More >>

Health and Dependent Care FSA Rules

Health and Dependent Care FSA Rules for 2021-2022

The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 was recently approved by Congress and the President. The bill provides a number of relief measures to help people cope with the ongoing COVID-19 healthcare crisis. Among the provisions are new temporary rules for health and dependent care Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs). The new rules allow for increased carryover amounts, … More >>

4 Things to Know About Your FSA Before the Year Ends

When you have a Flexible Spending Account (FSA), you set aside money before taxes to cover qualified out-of-pocket healthcare expenses for yourself and your family. As the year comes to an end, there are a few things you should be aware of so you can maximize your account’s benefits. Here are 4 things to know … More >>

Captain Contributor Explains HSA Funding

” A Health Savings Plan (HSA) is a great compliment to a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP). But HSA funding can be confusing. How do you build up your HSA account balance while using it for healthcare expenses at the same time? Watch this video to learn more about funding your HSA! Captain Contributor – Benefits Super Hero … More >>

Use-it-or-Lose-it: COVID-19 and Your FSA Balance

During the pandemic, a lot of people spent more time at home and didn’t keep up with their normal spending habits. Because of that, your remaining FSA balance may be larger than that of a normal year. In fact, FSAStore.com estimates that the average FSA account holder has 30-35 percent more in their account balance … More >>