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Businesses Are Not Required to Offer HRA to All Employees

HRA • March 22, 2012 at 5:45 AM • Written by: JD Cleary

A health reimbursement arrangement (HRA) allows an employer to design a health benefits offering that varies by employee and is not required to be provided to all employees at a company.

Federal regulations (45CFR146.121) state the following:

"A plan or issuer may treat participants as two or more distinct groups of similarly situated individuals if the distinction between or among the groups is based on a bona fide employment-based classification consistent with the employer's usual business practices."

HRA Employment-Based Classifications

The type of HRA employment-based classes differ by the type of HRA you offer.

HRA Employee Classes and Federal Law

To comply with federal regulations, employee classes within an HRA must:

  • Treat all "similarly situated" employees equally

  • Not discriminate against unhealthy individuals

  • Spell out the requirements for classes and benefits in the ERISA plan document

With salary and other types of compensation, employers routinely compensate groups of employees differently.  Since health benefits are such an important part of compensation, why not provide benefits that vary by class of employee?

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JD Cleary