heart health

Heart Health and Your Benefits

Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of women as well as men in the United States. February is American Heart Month, encouraging us all to learn more about our heart health. Let’s discuss a little about heart health and how your employer-sponsored benefit accounts may help. Women’s Heart Health Quick facts you need to … More >>

Consumer Directed Healthcare Account

The Value of Consumer Directed Healthcare Accounts

The infographic below details the value of consumer-directed healthcare accounts. Learn more from this overview of HSAs, HRAs, FSAs, and other helpful information. What is a Consumer Directed Healthcare Account? A consumer-directed healthcare (CDH) account is a type of medical savings account that: Helps pay for eligible medical expenses Offered through an employer (or, in … More >>

missed enrollment

Missed Open Enrollment?

As open enrollment winds down, some participants may determine that they have elected too much or too little coverage for next year, while others who ignored enrollment may wish they had chosen something. The good news is that options may still exist. Health Plans Current enrollees in an existing health plan may find that they … More >>

open enrollment

Getting Ready for Enrollment Season

Are you ready for enrollment season? Open enrollment is when you review your benefit options and choose which ones to renew or enroll in for the next year, like health insurance, life insurance, and tax-advantaged healthcare accounts. Whether you sign up for benefits through an employer or enroll through an exchange, you should be ready … More >>

Summary Plan Description

What is a Summary Plan Description?

If you receive healthcare benefits from your employer, you will also receive a Summary Plan Description (SPD). Required by law, the SPD defines plan eligibility and explains benefit calculations and payments, how to submit claims, when benefit guarantees begin, and more. Here’s what you need to know about your Summary Plan Description. Summary Plan Description … More >>

healthcare consumer

What is Healthcare Consumerism?

Healthcare consumerism is a movement to refine the efficiency and affordability of healthcare services by changing how people prioritize their healthcare. Imagine a system where patients are more knowledgeable and active in purchasing healthcare services.  Healthcare consumerism works to make this a reality. Healthcare Consumerism Basics At its core, healthcare consumerism seeks to make patients … More >>

HRA HSA

Can I Have an HRA and HSA Simultaneously?

Healthcare spending accounts, such as Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), help people pay for qualified medical expenses. They also provide more control over how and where to pay for those expenses. Some employees may have simultaneous HRA and HSA eligibility through their employer or when combined with their spouse’s employment options. … More >>

Health Reimbursement Arrangement

FAQs About HRAs

Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) help employees pay for out-of-pocket medical expenses for themselves and their covered dependents. The sponsoring employer chooses the amount available each year and the eligible expenses. Below are answers to common questions about these tax-advantaged accounts. Frequently Asked Questions What is a Health Reimbursement Arrangement? An HRA is an employer-owned and … More >>

HRA plan

HRA Plan Facts: Qualified Expenses, Taxes, and More

Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) are employer-sponsored plans that reimburse participants for qualified expenses. These accounts are entirely funded by the sponsoring employer. Let’s learn more about HRAs by looking at plan facts like qualified expenses, taxes, and more. Generally, there are no limits on employer contributions to regular HRA plans. However, an exception is the … 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 2024, the maximum annual election will be $3,200 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 2024, the carryover limit will be $640.

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 2024, the maximum annual election is $4,150 for employees with individual health coverage and $8,300 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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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 >>

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 >>

QSEHRAs: Effective Small Business Benefit Tool

Employers have been helping employees with healthcare costs since employer-sponsored insurance coverage began about 80 years ago. But just as healthcare costs have risen, the costs of insurance and healthcare benefits have increased as well. Small businesses have always found it financially challenging to offer group benefits to their employees. Fortunately, Congress and regulatory agencies … 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 >>

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 >>

Summit Card: Replenishment FAQs

Debit Card Replenishment Process Answers common questions about the process of replenishing the employer group debit card account in response to participant transactions.

Summit Card: How It Can Work for You

Convenient, Secure Access Explains how offering the Summit debit card can increase employer FICA savings and the overall success of offering a tax-advantaged benefits account plan.

Captain Contributor Explains HRAs

” An HRA, or Health Reimbursement Arrangement, is an employer-sponsored benefit account funded ONLY by the employer. It allows employees to pay for qualified healthcare expenses. Learn more! Captain Contributor – Benefits Super Hero Read Comic Book Read Fact Sheet Captain Contributor Explains ICHRAs Captain Contributor Explains Lifestyle Spending Accounts Captain Contributor Explains Eligible Expenses Captain Contributor Explains … More >>

Individual Coverage HRAs (ICHRA)

Legislation creating the ICHRA was passed to help employees pay premiums for individual insurance coverage in June 2019 and goes into effect January 1, 2020. This guide outlines the requirements to sponsor an ICHRA.

Award-winning Employee Education and Engagement Program

Award-winning Employee Education and Engagement Program Employer-sponsored healthcare accounts can be hard to understand. That’s why DataPath Administrative Services has adopted a year-round employee education and engagement program for our groups. The Adventures of Captain Contributor, a national-award winning program, is both informative and entertaining. In a series of comic books and videos, Captain Contributor … More >>

Forms and Materials Library for Employers

Forms and Materials Library for Employers Welcome to the Forms and Materials Library. You will find a wealth of information about tax-advantaged benefit accounts, compliance questions and answers, commonly used forms, benefit card and system information, and more.  FSA HSA HRA COBRA

Summit User Access Request/Removal

Control HR Access Online To add or remove an authorized user for Employer/HR access to your group account on Summit, complete and submit this form to your DataPath Account Manager. This form can only be submitted by the group’s primary contact person.

Authorization for Release of Information Form

Authorize Discussions with Others HIPAA regulations prevent DataPath from sharing any details about your account, claim, reimbursement, debit card, etc. with anyone besides yourself unless we have a signed Authorization for Release of Information on file that names the specific person. Submit this form if you want to authorize other people, such as your spouse, … More >>

Bank Draft for Administrative Fees

Complete this form to authorize DataPath Administrative Services to draft payment each month for your fees invoice. You will receive a copy of the invoice prior to the bank draft date.