Health

Insurers and brokers create new advocacy group aimed at spurring use of HRAs

A group of insurers and brokers has created a new advocacy group aimed at preserving health reimbursement arrangements that could be targeted by the Biden administration.

The new HRA Council, launched Friday, will serve as a nonpartisan advocacy group aimed at raising awareness about individual and small employer HRAs, which allow employers to subsidize their workers’ health coverage. The new group comes as the Biden administration has withdrawn certain regulations for HRAs.

“As a health insurer, we are seeing more and more interest from employers in offering HRAs to their employees,” Cathy Mahaffey, CEO of member-owned insurer Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative, said in a statement.

The cooperative is a member of the HRA Council alongside insurers Centene Corporation, Oscar Health, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota and OneBridge Benefits.

The creation of the advocacy group comes amid a different regulatory environment for HRAs following the inauguration of President Joe Biden.

The administration appeared to withdraw a final rule that regulated several aspects of HRAs, including creating new safe harbors for individual coverage HRAs to ensure protection from anti-kickback prosecution.

The withdrawal was part of a regulatory freeze that the Biden administration instituted short after the president’s inauguration to review rules that were approved at the tail end of the Trump era.

But the Biden administration did address key regulations for individual coverage HRAs, arrangements created under the Trump administration that allow employers to subsidize Affordable Care Act coverage.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services addressed how insurers can present individual coverage HRAs offered on and off the insurance exchanges in the notice of benefit payment parameters for the 2022 coverage year.

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