Friday, July 6, 2007

Summary of Health Spending Accounts

I found this article which gives a good little summary of available options for health care spending accounts (at the very least, it defines the acronyms):

What's an FSA?

Biotech Week via NewsEdge Corporation :
2007 JUL 11 - ( -- Health insurance is confusing enough. And then we're expected to understand all of those acronyms. What's an FSA? An HRA? An HSA?
David Ewers, Boise district manager for PacificSource Health Plans, thinks it's important to talk to people in plain English. "How can you make good choices if you don't understand your options?" he asks.
Today, many employers are encouraging their employees to take a more active role in managing their own health care -- and their own health care costs. That trend has led to a whole new array of health care plan options, along with a new set of acronyms.
Such consumer-directed plans help employers control healthcare costs while giving employees more control over how their healthcare dollars are spent. Plans vary but all consumer-directed plans include a low cost, high deductible Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plan plus a healthcare spending account.
Among these spending account options are Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs). FSAs let employees make pre-tax contributions to pay for dependent health insurance premiums and such foreseeable out-of-pocket healthcare expenses as unreimbursed medical expenses, dental and vision care and prescriptions. These plans offer tax savings for both employees and for employers.
Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) are similar to FSAs but employer contributions to employee accounts are not taxable and funds may be rolled over from year to year.
Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) may be funded by either or both employers and employees and, again, there are tax advantages for both.
Ewers says it's worth wading through the sea of acronyms to get the most out of your health insurance. Don't be afraid to ask questions and you'll enjoy all the benefits your insurance plan has to offer.

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