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HRA Explained- New Benefit for 2009

By Jody Record, Campus Journal Editor
November 5, 2008

Details of the $500 employer-funded health reimbursement account that qualified employees will receive in 2009 were outlined during the benefits fair last week. In case you missed one of the information sessions, here’s how it works:

The money, which can be used only for approved medical-related expenses, will be available as of Jan. 1 to full-time, benefits-eligible staff and faculty not covered by a collective bargaining agreement. A husband and wife on the same insurance plan will receive $500 per couple; those with individual plans will get $500 each.

Unlike a flexible spending account where the funds expire, any money in the HRA not spent by the end of 2009 can be rolled over to 2010. Presently, the plan is to fund the account annually.

In 2010, payments will be made into the account on a quarterly basis; that is, on Jan. 1, 2010, an employee will have $125 in the account with $125 deposited thereafter every three months.

The HRA can be used to pay for office visits, co-pays, prescription drugs, glasses, contacts, laser surgery, acupuncture, chiropractic care, and dental work. It can’t be used to pay monthly premiums.

WageWorks Inc., the tax-advantage benefits company that manages the FSA accounts of UNH employees, will also manage the HRAs.

Before Jan. 1, 2009, employees will receive a debit card that can be used at participating providers and venders such as Wal-Mart, CVS and other pharmacies. For a complete list of merchants go to http://www.sig-is.org/en/index.asp) and click on SIGIS merchant list under publications.

You can get as many cards as you want and any family member can use the HRA debit card even if they are on a different insurance plan. If you have a flexible spending account, that money will be tapped first. (New this year: unused contributions to FSA can be carried over to March 15, 2009).

Once you get your card you can go to wageworks.com to create an account so you can keep track of your balance. By providing your email address, you will receive notices acknowledging such actions as receipt of a bill or that a check is being mailed.

If you use the debit card to pay for over-the-counter items and have something that isn’t medical (vitamins; a bag of chips, i.e.), you will have to pay for that item separately.

A list of FAQs can be found at www.unh.edu/hr. For more information call Kristie Camacho 2-0509 or Sherry MacDormand 2-0504 or contact WageWorks directly at 1-877-924-3967 or visit www.wageworks.com.

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