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HDHP/HSA Slide Presentation

Understanding High Deductible Health Plans and the Role of Health Savings Accounts Health Reimbursement Arrangements

High Deductible Health Plans (HDHP) and Open Season

  • OPM is pleased to offer high deductible health plans.
  • HDHPs give the Federal Team additional opportunities to save and better manage their hard-earned dollars.
  • The Federal Team can enroll in HDHPs during Open Season.

High Deductible Health Plans – Part 1

Graphical overview of this presentation.

We have divided the presentation into 3 parts. We will begin by talking about High Deductible Health Plan (Part 1). These are plans intended to cover serious illness or injury.

We will move on to the role of health savings accounts (Part 2A), and health reimbursement arrangements (Part 2B).

The Basics of High Deductible Health Plans

  • High Deductible Health Plans (HDHP) provide insurance coverage.
  • Service delivery in HDHP programs may be offered with a:
    • Preferred Provider Organization (PPO)
    • Health Maintenance Organization (HMO)
    • Point of Service (POS)
  • Depending on the HDHP, you may have the choice of using in-network or out-of-network providers. Using in-network providers will save you money.
  • With the exception of preventive care, the annual deductible must be met before plan benefits are paid.
  • An HDHP with a Health Savings Account (HSA) or a Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA):
    • Helps to build savings for future medical expenses
    • Allows greater flexibility over how you use your health care dollars
  • For 2021, HDHPs must have minimum deductibles of:
    • $1,400 for Self Only coverage
    • $2,800 for Self and Family coverage
  • HDHPs have higher annual out-of-pocket limits than many plans. The maximum in-network, out-of-pocket limits for HDHPs in the FEHB Program are:
    • $7,000 for Self coverage
    • $14,000 for Self and Family coverage

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Health Savings Account – Part 2A

Graphic introducing Part 2A. Description in the text below.

Part 2A: Health Savings Account -- Dollars for healthcare expenses.

The Basics of a Health Savings Account

  • A Health Savings Account (HSA) and a Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) provide a tax-advantaged way to save for future medical expenses.
  • An HSA is a component of a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP). You must be enrolled in an HDHP to have an HSA.

    Insurance + Tax-Advantaged Savings Vehicle = HDHP/HSA

  • An HSA is an account that you own for the purpose of paying qualified medical expenses for yourself, your spouse, and your dependents.

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Funding Your HSA

  • Your HSA may be funded up to your IRS limits through the premium pass through (the monthly contribution from your health plan) and your voluntary contributions. The maximum annual contribution limit for HDHPs in the FEHB Program are:
    • $3,600 for Self Only coverage
    • $7,200 for Self and Family coverage
  • Your voluntary contribution is made directly to an IRS approved trustee administering the HSA.

    Plan $$ + member's own contribution $$ + earned interest = HSA

  • You can also make pre-tax allotments to your HSA through the Federal Flexible Benefits Plan (FEDFLEX).

Eligibility for a Health Savings Account

  • By law, to be eligible for an HSA, you must enroll in an HDHP.
  • By law, you are not eligible for an HSA if you:
    • are enrolled in Medicare,
    • are covered by another health care plan that is not an HDHP,
    • can be claimed as a dependent on someone else's tax return,
    • are enrolled in a general Health Care Flexible Spending Account (or covered by a spouse's FSA),
    • are covered by a non-HDHP such as TRICARE and TRICARE For Life, or
    • are covered by VA or IHS benefits and have used VA or IHS medical services within the previous 3 months.
  • The HDHP helps you determine your eligibility for an HSA.
  • If you do not qualify for an HSA, your HDHP will establish a Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) for you.

The Features of a Health Savings Account

“Graphic showing features of HSA. Description in the text below. src=

Basically, this is how HSAs work.
The health plan deposits a 'premium pass through' and you can make voluntary contributions.
There is no tax on the 'premium pass through.'
Your voluntary contributions are recorded on your tax form (such as a 1040) as a tax deduction (applies with either itemized or standard deduction).
These two contributions can earn tax-free interest. You can use this money for qualified medical expenses.

The money can also be used for non-medical expenses but you have to pay regular tax and a 10% tax penalty if you are younger than 65.

  • Tax-deductible contributions
    • Your own HSA contribution – your own HSA contributions are either tax-deductible or pre-tax (if made by payroll deduction).
    • Annual contributions may be made any time during the calendar year up to April 15 of the following year (tax return due date).
    • The health plan's 'premium pass through' is not taxable.
    • The annual maximum contribution is established by law.

Catch-Up Contribution to HSA

In addition to the maximum contribution, (the plan's annual deductible) individuals between the ages of 55 and 65, can make "catch-up" contributions to the HSA each year.

In 2021, and subsequent years, an additional $1,000 contribution is allowed.

  • Tax-free withdrawals for "qualified medical expenses."
  • Qualified medical expenses include:
    • Dental treatment such as fillings, braces, extractions
    • Hearing aids including batteries
    • Prescription drugs
    • Eye exams, eyeglasses and contact lens
    • Premiums for qualified long term care insurance (dollar limits may apply)
    • Out-of-pocket expenses including deductibles, coinsurance and co-payments
    • Acupuncture
  • Tax-free interest
    • Interest accrues on the HSA balance.
  • Rollover of funds
    • Unused funds and interest carry over, without limit, from year to year.
  • Portability
    • The HSA is yours to keep—even when you retire, leave the Federal Government, or change health plans.
  • Funds held with a qualified trustee or custodian
    • Example: Bank, insurance company, Federal credit union. The FEHB member may select a different trustee or custodian for voluntary contributions.

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Other Types of Insurance Coverage

  • Insurance Allowed with an HSA:
    • Accident
    • Disability
    • Dental care
    • Vision care
    • Long-term care
    • Specified disease or illness
    • Insurance that pays a fixed amount per day of hospitalization
    • Limited HCFSA
  • Insurance or Accounts Not Allowed with an HSA:
    • General Health Care Flexible Spending Account (HCFSA) or a Spouse's FSA
    • Medical coverage by a non-HDHP
    • TRICARE or TRICARE For Life
    • Any VA benefits used within previous 3 months
    • Part A and/or Part B Medicare

Determining the Maximum Allowable Contribution to an HSA Account

The maximum allowable contribution is determined by the HDHP's effective date.

If your HDHP was effective January 1st, the total amount you can contribute to your account is the maximum contribution amount set by the IRS.

  • If your HDHP is effective after the first day of the month, you may make or receive a full year's contribution to your HSA for partial year coverage as long as you maintain your HDHP enrollment for 12 months.
  • If you do not maintain your enrollment in an HDHP for 12 months, your maximum contribution amount is pro-rated based on the number of full months your HDHP was in effect.

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HSA Distribution Process

  • HSA trustees or custodians are not required to determine whether HSA distributions are used for qualified medical expenses.
  • Individuals who establish HSAs should maintain records of medical expenses to show distributions have been made exclusively for qualified medical expenses should the IRS request them..
  • Each HSA trustee will have specific instructions on the qualified distribution of qualified or non-medical expenses.

Health Reimbursement Arrangement – Part 2B

Graphic introducing Part 2B. Description in the text below.

Part 2B: Health Reimbursement Arrangement -- Credits for healthcare expenses.

The Basics of a Health Reimbursement Arrangement

  • An HRA is a savings credit that works hand-in-hand with an HDHP.
  • The HDHP credits a portion of the health plan premium to the HRA (some plans will credit the annual amount at the beginning of the plan year).
  • The HDHP helps determine eligibility. If you are not eligible for an HSA, your health plan will enroll you in an HRA.
  • A limited HRA (called a Personal Care Account) is also available with Consumer Driven health plan.

The Features of a Health Reimbursement Arrangement

  • Tax-free withdrawals for qualified medical expenses only. Must provide documents of medical expense to health plan.
  • Carryover of unused credits from year to year.
  • Credits in an HRA do not earn interest.
  • Credits in an HRA are forfeited if you switch health plans or leave Federal employment, except for retirement.
  • Voluntary contributions to an HRA are not allowed.
  • HRAs are more limited on tax advantages, forfeitures, expense distribution, and voluntary contributions than HSAs.

The Differences Between an HSA and HRA

Benefits HSA HRA
Interest? Yes. No.
Tax-deductible contributions to your account? Yes. No.
Withdrawal of funds for non-medical purposes? Yes, subject to tax; and penalties prior to age 65 No.
Portable? Yes. You own your account. No. Your account is forfeited if you leave the sponsoring health plan or leave the government (except for retirement).

Health Care Flexible Spending Account (HCFSA). Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (DCFSA)

Will an HCFSA and/or a DCFSA affect the member's eligibility to an HSA or HRA?

  • A DCFSA is permitted with an HCFSA, HSA or HRA.
  • A Limited Expense HCFSA is allowed with an HSA
  • An FSAFEDS HCFSA is permitted with an HRA.
  • An FSAFEDS general purpose HCFSA is not allowed with an HSA.

What is a limited Expense Health Care Flexible Spending Account?(LEX HCFSA)?

  • An FSA option available to employees who are enrolled in FEHB HDHP with an HSA.
  • Expense are limited to dental and vision care services/products that meet IRS definition medical care.
  • You can set aside anywhere from a minimum of $100 to $2,750 per year.
  • You can enroll in an LEX HCFSA during the FSAFEDS Open Season. Go to and select Enroll Now to enroll.

Features of a Health Reimbursement Arrangement

Graphic showing features of HRA. Description in the text below.

This is how an HRA works.
The health plan makes credits to the HRA. These credits are not taxable. You can make tax-free distributions from your HRA for qualified medical expenses.

Let's take a look at how the entire process works for HSAs and HRAs.

Example of an Enrollment, Set-Up, Contribution, and Distribution Process

  1. Open Season election form completed by FEHB member.
  2. HDHP/HSA or HRA set-up begins with receipt of enrollment form.
  3. Trustee/custodian/or health plan paperwork sent to FEHB member.
  4. The first "Premium Pass Through" deposited to the HSA, or credits to HRA by the health plan.
  5. Trustee/custodian paperwork completed by the FEHB member & returned to health plan.
  6. Only medical expenses incurred on or after the HSA or HRA is set-up are reimbursable through distributions.
  7. Enrollee may begin voluntary contributions after the HSA is set-up.

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List of High Deductible Health Plans

GEHA and Mail Handlers are available nationwide.

Plan Parts of:
GEHA National
Mail Handlers National
Aetna HealthFund 50 states and District of Columbia
Altius Health Plans Idaho, Utah, Wyoming
AultCare Ohio
CareFirst Blue Choice DC, Maryland, Virginia
Coventry Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri
HealthAmerica Pennsylvania
Independent Health Association New York
KPS Health Plans Washington State
TakeCare Guam
UPMC Health Plan Pennsylvania

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