What type of health benefits consumer are you?

Written by: Gabrielle Smith
August 23, 2021 at 8:21 AM

If there’s one truth about healthcare in America, it’s that everyone uses it differently. That’s what makes health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) such an excellent health benefits solution, especially for organizations with a wide range of employees across age and health status.

With an HRA, you’re empowered to choose your own individual health insurance plan and get reimbursed, tax-free, for your premium and any other qualifying healthcare purchases you need.

If you’re new to using an HRA, a good place to start is figuring out what kind of health benefits consumer you really are. Do you visit the doctor often? Are you more accident-prone? Is there a history of illness in your family? All of these things will help you decide how much care you need, as well as what kind of health insurance may be best for you.

In this article, we’ll go over four types of healthcare consumers and what health insurance is best for each type:

    1. The occasional consumer
    2. The advice-seeker
    3. The wellness wizard
    4. The frequent visitor

1. The occasional consumer

See if this sounds like you… You’re relatively young, you don’t have any prescriptions you get filled regularly, and you only see the doctor once a year or so just to check in.

If you match this description, then you’re an occasional consumer. People in this category generally don’t have an extensive medical history, are allergy-free, and are just all-around healthy individuals.

The health insurance that’s best for you…

If you’re an occasional consumer, you probably won’t need an insurance plan that covers a lot of doctor’s visits and prescriptions. You’d be safe with a catastrophe plan that covers you in case of a car accident or unexpected injury, or a bronze plan with a lower monthly premium.

However, some people in this category choose not to get health insurance at all. If you’re under 26, you can likely stay on your parents’ plan and not worry about getting your own health insurance.

If you’re not covered under anyone else’s plan and still choose not to get your own individual coverage, just remember that your HRA reimbursements won’t be tax-free if you’re participating in a qualified small employer HRA (QSEHRA). If your employer offers you an individual coverage HRA (ICHRA) then you’ll be required to sign up for a qualifying individual plan.

2. The advice-seeker

Next, let’s look at the advice-seekers. If you’re not as experienced at shopping for health insurance and look to others to help you make your healthcare decisions, then you fall into this category.

Advice-seekers take recommendations from close friends and family members for help navigating the insurance marketplaces, and see their healthcare providers as trusted advisors on how to take care of themselves. You might also take to the internet to look up suggestions on your health and where to go when you have a problem.

The health insurance that’s best for you…

If you’re an advice-seeker, a good place to start with your health insurance is a basic silver plan. This is a plan that splits your healthcare costs relatively evenly between you and your insurance provider. As you get a better sense of what healthcare works best for your personal situation, you can move up to a gold or platinum plan, or down to a bronze plan.

3. The wellness wizard

Up next are the wellness wizards. People in this category are generally healthy, but are always looking out for the latest trends in health and wellness. When you think of health, your mind not only goes to your physical wellbeing, but also your mental health and emotional clarity, because you have a more holistic view when it comes to health.

In addition to routine check-ups with primary care doctors and pharmacy visits for prescription refills, wellness wizards will also utilize services like therapy and counseling, dermatology office visits, and vitamin supplements.

The health insurance that’s best for you…

If you’re a wellness wizard, you’ll likely want a silver or gold plan to help cover the additional office visits you may have compared to the average person. Don’t forget—there are a lot of over-the-counter health and wellness products that you can get reimbursed with your HRA, and even more that you can get reimbursed if you have a doctor’s note. We break them all down in our video.

4. The frequent visitor

Finally, let’s look at the frequent visitor. People in this category are usually older, or just have a lot more medical needs than the average person.

Frequent visitors see the doctor often and get multiple prescriptions filled on a regular basis. They may also have a more extensive family medical history that puts them at risk. Having a more physically demanding job often puts people in this category as well, as their work puts them at a higher risk for accidents or frequent physical therapy services.

The health insurance that’s best for you…

If you’re a frequent visitor, you’ll likely want a gold or platinum plan that ensures your insurance company will pay for a greater portion of your medical needs than you do. Your monthly premium will be higher, but you’ll pay less with each office visit and prescription you get filled.


No matter what kind of health benefits consumer you are, an HRA is there to help. Whether you use it frequently to cover multiple office visits a month, or just every once in a while when you pick up allergy and cold medication, an HRA makes for a completely customizable healthcare experience.

This article was originally published on April 29, 2015. It was last updated August 23, 2021.

Topics: Health Benefits

Additional Resources

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Find out which medical expenses you can get reimbursed with an HRA.