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News Release

Monday, September 20, 2004
Contact: Michael Orenstein
Tel: 202-606-2402

Director James Launches Educational Website on HSAs and HRAs

Washington, D.C. -- The U.S. Office of Personnel Management today posted a web site to help federal employees and federal retirees obtain information about Health Savings Accounts and Health Reimbursement Arrangements available to them next year through the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.

OPM Director Kay Coles James said: "HSAs and HRA's are an important new option within the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, and we encourage employees and retirees to carefully review available information. I trust the wisdom of federal employees to make informed financial and health care decisions, and OPM will provide continuous information to help guide their decision-making process."

Individuals can access OPM's Health Savings Account website at The site provides definitions of and eligibility requirements for Health Savings Accounts (HSA) and Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRA). The site also offers information on various features of these accounts, including automatic funding, individual contributions and the distribution of monies from an HSA or HRA to pay for medical expenses. The site also provides information on the portability and annual rollover features.

The new HSA website kicks-off a broad initiative by OPM and FEHB carriers to inform and educate potential enrollees about HSAs and HRAs. More detailed information about HSAs will be made available closer to the beginning of the FEHB Open Season, which runs from November 8 through December 13, 2004. General information about plan provisions will be contained in the 2005 Guide to FEHB Plans, and detailed information will be contained in individual plan brochures.

Enrollment in a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) is a prerequisite for eligibility to establish an HSA or HRA, as this new product will be structured in the FEHB Program. In general, HSAs are available to people who are not enrolled in Medicare; HRAs are open to individuals, generally retirees, with Medicare coverage and others not eligible for HSAs under Department of Treasury regulations.

The availability of HSAs is the result of President George W. Bush's signing of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003. The law also allows members of the general public to participate in an HSA through enrollment in a private High Deductible Health Plan.

Earlier this week, OPM Director Kay Coles James announced a 7.9 percent average premium increase in 2005 for individuals enrolled in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. The increase is the lowest in eight years.

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