Health Reimbursement Accounts: Blue-by-Design

Blue-by-DesignSM is a consumer-driven health plan. That means members with Blue-by-Design have the power to make their own health care decisions. The plan features an employer-sponsored health reimbursement account (HRA) paired with a high deductible health plan. Members can choose from more than 600,000 health care professionals and facilities in all 50 states and abroad. They also can seek care outside our networks. And, they have access to all of the BlueCross discount programs.

As an employer, you deposit a set amount of money each year into an HRA for each employee. Employees can use the HRA funds to pay any covered health care costs. Using a secure website, members can track their expenses and the HRA balance. Once members meet the health plan deductible, the plan will pay covered expenses according to their coinsurance percentages. As members track their expenses, they'll become more aware of how much they spend on health care.

One option available for Blue-by-Design plans is to allow members to carry forward any balance left in the HRA at the end of the benefits period. You can also offer a separate flexible spending account (FSA) that members can fund with pre-tax dollars and use to bridge the gap between the HRA and the health plan deductible.

If you want to encourage employees to seek recommended preventive care, you have several options. You can offer 100 percent coverage for preventive services that doesn't apply to the annual deductible. This coverage would include annual physicals, mammograms and well childcare. Or you can assign a set amount of the HRA for preventive care that will not roll over if members do not use it by the end of the benefits period.

For more information, please contact your benefits consultant or BlueCross marketing representative today!