WASHINGTON, D.C. [May 21, 2021] – A diverse group of insurance carriers, brokerage firms, benefits consultants, and health reimbursement arrangement (HRA) administrators today announced the formation of the HRA Council, a non-partisan advocacy group. The council’s mission is to promote education and awareness around two new models of health reimbursement arrangements—the Individual Coverage HRA (ICHRA) and the Qualified Small Employer HRA (QSEHRA)—and build upon them to improve the stability, choice and affordability of health insurance for consumers.
Ken Janda, interim executive director of the HRA Council, former CEO of a non-profit health plan in Houston, and founder of Wild Blue Health Solutions says, “I am thrilled to be working with this group of visionary industry leaders. Defined contribution is the future of employer involvement in health insurance and will allow more employers to support ACA-compliant coverage for uninsured working Americans, especially in states like Texas with millions uninsured. It’s truly a win-win-win for employers, employees and providers of care.”
The goal of the council is to expand coverage by creating a vibrant market for defined contribution models, easing employers’ ability to offer HRAs and employees’ ability to use an HRA to enroll in health coverage. The council will educate employers and policymakers, work towards industry standards, share collective industry research, and advocate for HRA-friendly regulations.
“We believe the HRA Council is part of the future of bipartisan healthcare reform and key to expanding coverage,” shares Jack Hooper, Chairman of the Board for the HRA Council and CEO of Take Command Health, an HRA administrator. “Last year, over 70% of small businesses offering an HRA were offering benefits to employees for the first time. We want to build on that trend. We’ll be working together on both sides of the political aisle to expand coverage for workers, help businesses afford benefits, strengthen the ACA, and reshape the health insurance landscape.”
Account-based health coverage like ICHRAs and QSEHRAs allow employers to reimburse their employees for health insurance with tax-preferred contributions. They substantially expand employers’ ability to offer health coverage to their workers and increase plan options for employees. These options will reduce the number of people without health insurance by an estimated 800,000, with a total of 11 million workers receiving coverage through an ICHRA in the next five years.
“Interest in ICHRA is accelerating among carriers, digital brokerages, and other industry stakeholders. But the lack of education and awareness of this new reimbursement model has limited its adoption,” said Michael W. Levin, co-founder and CEO of Vericred. “We’re excited to collaborate with our industry peers to foster a robust ICHRA market.”
HRAs have been gaining traction. In fact, a recent study by Kaiser Family Foundation and PBGH revealed that 48% of its respondents said they were “considerably or highly likely” to use an ICHRA to offer alternative coverage to employees.
“As a health insurer, we’re seeing more and more interest from employers in offering HRAs to their employees. HRAs give employers more control over their costs and allows them to hand over the purchasing decisions to their employees, something employers have been wanting to do for a long time,” said Cathy Mahaffey, CEO of Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative. “We’re thrilled to be an inaugural member of the HRA Council and look forward to contributing to this important work.”
“Selecting a Medicare plan should not be an individual’s first opportunity to choose a health coverage option that’s best for them. The more advocacy and education we can offer to grow this industry and better leverage individual coverage market exchanges, the more people and their families can directly benefit from choosing their own healthcare coverage,” noted OneBridge Benefits, CEO, Nick Knab. “The HRA Council plays an instrumental role in educating the public and showcasing the benefits of choice, and OneBridge Benefits is dedicated to supporting current and future non-partisan initiatives.”
The council will commence with its first meeting on May 21st at 11 AM CST. Council membership is open to all and the Council is transparent about its members and mission.
Founding Members of the HRA Council include:
Centene Corporation (Ambetter Health Plans)
Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative
Blue Cross Blue Shield Minnesota
ECHO Health Inc.
Friday Health Plans
HealthOne Alliance, LLC.
National Federation of Independent Businesses
Seubert & Associates, Inc.
Take Command Health
Wild Blue Health Solutions
About the HRA Council
The HRA Council is a non-profit, non-partisan advocacy organization comprised of HRA administrators, carriers, and practitioners working together to ease employers’ ability to offer HRAs and employees’ ability to use an HRA to enroll in coverage.