What Is ICHRA Health Insurance and What Benefits Does It Offer?

ICHRA: Individual Coverage Health Reimbursement Arrangement
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If you’re a Business Owner, CFO, or HR Professional that views your employees as assets and investments…


In an era of evolving healthcare policies and rising costs, it has become crucial for individuals and employers to stay informed about viable healthcare options.

The Individual Coverage Health Reimbursement Arrangement (ICHRA) is an option that warrants attention. Understanding ICHRA can empower individuals to make informed decisions about their health insurance coverage, while employers can leverage its benefits to provide flexible and customizable options for their employees.

This article provides a comprehensive guide to ICHRA, offering detailed insights into its purpose, benefits, eligibility criteria, and differences from other health insurance options.


ICHRA – Definition

An Individual Coverage Health Reimbursement Arrangement (ICHRA) is a health benefits arrangement that allows employers to reimburse employees for individual health insurance premiums and qualified medical expenses, while still maintaining the PRE-tax benefits.

Unlike traditional group health insurance, ICHRA provides greater flexibility in plan design, empowering employees to choose their insurance plans while receiving financial support from their employers.



Key Features and Characteristics of ICHRA Plans

  1. Flexibility in plan design: ICHRA plans can be tailored to meet the unique needs of both employers and employees. This flexibility allows employers to customize benefits based on employee demographics, location, and individual preferences.
  2. Reimbursement for individual health insurance premiums: One of the primary features of ICHRA is the reimbursement of individual health insurance premiums. Employees purchase their health insurance plans, and employers reimburse them for the eligible expenses. (note: look for a “Super ICHRA” type plan that uses technology to pay the various carriers instead of the employees)
  3. Potential for reimbursement of qualified medical expenses: In addition to premium reimbursements, ICHRA plans allow for the reimbursement of qualified medical expenses. This feature provides employees additional financial support for healthcare-related costs beyond insurance premiums.  Click for a list here.
  4. Employer contribution options: Employers have the flexibility to determine the amount they contribute to employees’ ICHRA plans. The contribution can vary based on employee classification, family size, and coverage tiers. This allows employers to control their healthcare budgets while providing valuable benefits to their workforce.


Eligibility for ICHRA

Let’s look at what employers and employees can do to be eligible for Individual Coverage HRA and the benefits it encompasses.

Employer Eligibility Criteria

  1. Company size: Employers of all sizes can potentially offer ICHRA plans. Unlike other group health insurance options, ICHRA does not have specific size restrictions. Whether a company is a small business with just a handful of employees or a large corporation with hundreds or thousands of employees, they can consider implementing an ICHRA plan (there are also NO minimum participation requirements with an ICHRA).
  2. Full-time vs. part-time employees: ICHRA plans can be offered to both full-time and part-time employees. There are no restrictions on the classification of employees based on their employment status, allowing employers to provide benefits to a diverse workforce.
  3. Waiting and probationary periods: Employers can establish waiting periods or probationary periods before employees become eligible for ICHRA benefits. This can be useful for managing employee onboarding and ensuring a stable workforce before implementing the reimbursement arrangement.
  4. Collective bargaining agreements: Employers who have employees covered under collective bargaining agreements can still offer ICHRA plans, provided they comply with the applicable rules and regulations established by such agreements.

Employee Eligibility Criteria

  1. Active employment status: Employees must be actively employed by an eligible employer to be eligible for ICHRA. This means they must be engaged in regular employment and meet the employer’s criteria for active work status.
  2. Minimum age and residency: There are generally no specific age or residency requirements for employees eligible for ICHRA. Employees can participate in the plan regardless of age or residency if they meet the employment status criteria.
  3. Enrollment in individual health insurance coverage: To participate in ICHRA, employees must enroll in individual health insurance coverage that complies with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirements. ICHRA plans are designed to reimburse employees for the cost of premiums associated with individual health insurance policies.
  4. Exclusion of employees covered by other group health plans: Employees already covered by another group health plan, such as a spouse’s plan or Medicare, may not be eligible for ICHRA. However, eligibility can vary based on specific circumstances, and it is essential to review the plan details and consult with benefits advisors to determine eligibility.


3 Benefits of ICHRA Health Insurance

1. Increased Options and Individual Choice

  • Freedom to choose individual health insurance plans: ICHRA empowers employees to select their health insurance plans from the marketplace or private insurers. This flexibility allows individuals to select coverage options that align with their healthcare needs and preferences.
  • Portability and continuity of coverage: With ICHRA, employees can maintain their health insurance coverage even if they switch jobs or experience changes in employment status. This portability ensures that individuals have continuous access to healthcare coverage, reducing the disruption often associated with transitioning between jobs.

2. Potential Cost Savings for Employers and Employees

  • Employer control over budget allocation: ICHRA allows employers to control their healthcare budgets by determining the amount they contribute to employees’ health insurance premiums and qualified medical expenses. This enables employers to set a budget that aligns with their financial capabilities and long-term business goals.
  • Tax advantages for employers and employees: Employers can generally deduct their contributions to ICHRA plans as a business expense, potentially reducing their taxable income. Employees’ reimbursements through ICHRA are generally tax-free, providing additional savings compared to traditional taxable compensation.

3. Enhanced Employee Satisfaction and Engagement

  • Customizable benefit plans based on employee needs: ICHRA allows employers to customize benefit plans to address the unique needs of their employees. By tailoring the plans to align with individual preferences, employees feel a greater sense of value and appreciation, increasing satisfaction and engagement.
  • Improved perception of employer commitment to employee well-being: Offering ICHRA demonstrates an employer’s commitment to providing quality healthcare benefits and support. This can positively impact employee morale, loyalty, and overall perception of the employer’s dedication to their well-being.


ICHRA Insurance vs. Other Health Insurance Options

Traditional group health insurance typically involves employers selecting and offering employees a specific health insurance plan. The insurance provider predetermines the coverage options and benefits.

In contrast, ICHRA allows for greater flexibility in plan design, as employees can choose their own individual health insurance plans that best meet their needs. This gives individuals more control over the specific coverage and benefits they receive.



ICHRA vs. Health Savings Account (HSA)

While ICHRA and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) offer potential tax advantages, they serve different purposes. ICHRA primarily focuses on reimbursing health insurance premiums and qualified medical expenses. On the other hand, HSAs are tax-advantaged savings accounts that individuals can use to set aside funds for qualified medical expenses. HSAs are typically coupled with high-deductible health insurance plans.

Sometimes, individuals may be eligible for both ICHRA and an HSA. However, specific rules and limitations apply. Generally, if an individual has an HSA and is enrolled in an ICHRA plan, they cannot use their HSA funds to pay for health insurance premiums. However, they can still use HSA funds for other qualified medical expenses not covered by ICHRA.

ICHRA vs. Qualified Small Employer Health Reimbursement Arrangement (QSEHRA)

QSEHRA is designed specifically for small employers with fewer than 50 full-time employees. In contrast, ICHRA has no specific size restrictions and can be offered by employers of any size. Both options allow employers to reimburse employees for individual health insurance premiums and qualified medical expenses.

However, there are variations in contribution limits, employee eligibility requirements, and plan features between QSEHRA and ICHRA. It is essential for employers and employees to carefully review the criteria and consider their specific needs when choosing between the two options.


Implementing ICHRA

Here are 3 steps involved in setting up an ICHRA plan employers should consider:

Step 1: Determining Eligibility and Plan Design

Employers need to assess their eligibility to offer ICHRA and evaluate the suitability of ICHRA for their workforce. This includes reviewing factors such as company size, employee classifications, and any collective bargaining agreements. Employers can also work with benefits advisors, like the MillenGroup, to design an ICHRA plan that aligns with their goals and meets the needs of their employees.

Step 2: Communication and Education for Employees

Clear communication is crucial during implementing an ICHRA plan. Employers should provide comprehensive information to employees about the benefits, enrollment process, reimbursement guidelines, and any plan-specific details. This ensures that employees understand their options and can make informed decisions regarding their health insurance coverage.

Step 3: Enrollment and Administration Processes

Employers must establish a streamlined enrollment process to facilitate employees’ selection of individual health insurance plans. This may involve providing employees access to resources, guidance, and tools to help them navigate the insurance marketplace. Employers should also establish effective administrative processes to track reimbursements, maintain compliance, and handle employee queries or concerns.




The Individual Coverage Health Reimbursement Arrangement (ICHRA) offers a comprehensive approach to health insurance, providing individuals with greater control over their coverage options and empowering employers to customize benefits for their workforce.

The benefits of ICHRA include increased options and individual choice, potential cost savings for employers and employees, and enhanced employee satisfaction and engagement.

Implementing ICHRA involves a step-by-step process, including determining eligibility and plan design, effective employee communication and education, and establishing streamlined enrollment and administration processes.

MillenGroup is available for FREE consultations and analysis discussions.

They can be reached at [email protected], 804-459-8100, or MillenGroup.com


If you’re a Business Owner, CFO, or HR Professional that views your employees as assets and investments…

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