Cigna offers HRAs for small businesses

Cigna HealthCare has announced that it is expanding the availability of its Cigna Choice Fund Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) plans to businesses with 51-200 employees in New Hampshire, Connecticut, Maine, New York and Vermont as well as Arizona, Colorado, Florida, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.

The HRA had previously been available only to employers with more than 200 employees.

The plans are currently available and will take effect on or after June 1, according to company officials.

“Smaller business employers have told us they want the same flexibility, savings, integration and consumer-focused approaches of consumer driven health care that are available to larger businesses,” said Dennis Wilson, president of the Cigna HealthCare Small Business Segment.

HRAs allow employers to set aside funds for the account portion of the plan, making the plan simpler for some smaller businesses to administer.

Unlike health savings accounts, or HSAs, where employees contribute a portion of their own funds into an account, employees cannot take any remaining HRA funds them if they leave the company.

Citing a recent study, Michael Showalter, Cigna’s vice president of consumerism, said subscribers to consumer-driven plans generated an 8 percent reduction in medical costs. “These study results show that given greater choice and control, the right incentives and actionable decision support, Cigna Choice Fund members are becoming more involved in their health care and health care decision-making, while not compromising needed care,” added Showalter.

Cigna Healthcare is headquartered in Bloomfield, Conn., and has over 9 million members nationwide. — CINDY KIBBE

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