What’s an HRA and how do I use it?

Who is this for?

Michigan Health Insurance – Customer Service – Health Spending Accounts

Anyone under age 65 who’s employed.

An HRA, or health reimbursement arrangement, is a kind of health spending account provided and owned by an employer. The money in it pays for qualified expenses, like medical, pharmacy, dental and vision, as determined by the employer. 

  • Other key things to know about HRAs are:
  • Only your employer can put money in an HRA
  • You don’t pay taxes on money that comes from an HRA

Your employer decides whether to let unused funds roll over from one year to the next

Employers have more say in how HRAs work and have more options to choose from than other health spending accounts.

Kinds of HRAs

Employers not only decide what an HRA will pay for, they can decide when it pays, by choosing from different designs. Here are a couple of examples:

  • HRA pays first: You use the funds until gone then you pay expenses your plan doesn’t cover
  • You pay first: You pay for expenses not covered by your plan until you reach an amount set by your employer, then the HRA pays

Signing up for an HRA

You’ll find out what kind of HRA is available and how much your employer puts in it during open enrollment, or when you join the company. If you don't sign up for the HRA at that time, then you'll have to wait until the next open enrollment.

Using an HRA

The payment process for most Blue Cross members who have an HRA is easy. When you get care, we get the bill and use funds from the HRA to pay. You'll see the payment listed on your explanation of benefits, or EOB, as well as your member account.

Blue Cross members with a health spending account can keep track of their HRA through their member account using our website or mobile app. After you log in:

  • On the Blue Cross mobile app, look for the health spending account icon on the home screen
  • On our website, look for the health spending account link under My Coverage