Use Your HRA, HSA, or FSA

Make your health care money go further with your HRA, HSA, or FSA. These accounts use tax-free1 contributions to pay for qualified health expenses — so you can save money.

Plus, Kaiser Permanente offers convenient ways to manage your account online. You’ll be able to see your balance and account activity, manage your investments, request distributions, and more.2,3,4  

 

Paying for care with your HRA, HSA, or FSA

How you pay depends on the type of account you have and where you get care. Your account might:

  • Give you a health payment card to use at check-in
  • Automatically reimburse you after your visit
  • Require you to request reimbursement yourself 
  • Pay your care provider directly 

Check with your employer’s benefits administrator for specific details about your account.


 

A quick guide to HRAs, HSAs, and FSAs

Category HRA HSA       FSA
You own the account      No Yes No
Your employer owns the account  Yes No Yes
You and your employer can both put money in    No Yes Yes
Only your employer can put money in Yes No No
You can earn tax-free1 interest No Yes No
Unused money stays in your account Sometimes  Yes Rarely


 

Health reimbursement arrangement

An HRA is an employer-funded account. They’ll set it up for you and contribute money to help you pay for qualified health care costs. Each employer gets to define what costs they’ll cover.5

Key takeaways:

  • Your employer owns the account.
  • The money isn’t part of your wages, so you won’t pay taxes on it.1
  • Some employers let you roll over unused money into the next year, and some don’t.6

Contact your employer’s benefits administrator for more information about your specific account.

Health savings account

An HSA lets both you and your employer put aside tax-free dollars to pay for qualified health expenses.1,7 You need to have a qualifying deductible plan to open an HSA.

Key takeaways:

  • You own the account.
  • You can earn tax-free1 interest on your HSA, just like a personal savings account.
  • Some plans let you invest your HSA money into mutual funds.
  • Unused money stays in your account. 
  • If you change jobs or retire, you can keep any unused money in your HSA.

Contact your employer’s benefits administrator for more information about your specific account. If you don’t have an HSA yet, your benefits administrator or a tax advisor can tell you if your health plan qualifies and how to open an account.
 

Flexible spending account

An FSA is an account some employers offer alongside their health plan. You and your employer can both make tax-free1 contributions to help you pay for qualified medical or dependent-care expenses, depending on the type of FSA you have.8,9

Key takeaways:

  • Your employer owns the account.
  • Most FSAs have a “use it or lose it” policy and won’t roll over any unused money at the end of the year. 
  • Some employers may carry a limited portion of leftover money into the next year, or offer a grace period — also called a run-out period — to use up your remaining balance.10 
  • You do not get to keep any money if you change jobs or retire.

Contact your employer’s benefits administrator for more information about your specific account. If your employer offers an FSA but you don’t have one yet, they can tell you how to set one up and start making contributions.


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Save your receipts and documents

Remember to keep all your bills, Explanation of Benefits, and itemized receipts. You may need them for reimbursement or tax purposes. You can usually view and print copies of your bills online.


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© 2019 Kaiser Permanente

1The tax references on this page relate to federal income tax only. Consult with your financial or tax advisor for information about state income tax laws.
2Your sign-on and online experience will vary if you are not enrolled in a Kaiser Permanente health plan with your employer or are not registered on kp.org.
3If you are not enrolled in a Kaiser Permanente health plan, you’ll need to access and manage your HSA at kp.org/healthexpense. When you sign in for the first time, your temporary username and password will both be: the first initial of your first name, plus your first name, plus the last 4 digits of your Social Security number.
4It may take up to 9 days from when you register on kp.org before you can access your account through kp.org/healthpayment.
5You can use your HRA to pay for types of care that are defined as qualified medical expenses. These are described in IRS Publication 502, Medical and Dental Expenses, available at irs.gov/publications. Consult with your employer’s plan administrator to find out what type of HRA you have and which categories of qualified medical expenses are eligible for payment or reimbursement under your HRA.
6If your employer has chosen to roll over unused money, that money will be available to you when your next HRA coverage period begins. Contact your employer’s benefits administrator for more information.
7You can use your HSA to pay for types of care that are defined as qualified medical expenses. These are described in IRS Publication 502, Medical and Dental Expenses, available at irs.gov/publications. As an HSA holder, you are responsible for figuring out whether the particular type of care you want is a qualified medical expense under the tax laws.
8You can use your FSA to pay for types of care that are defined as qualified medical expenses. These are described in IRS Publication 502, Medical and Dental Expenses, available at irs.gov/publications. Consult with your employer’s plan administrator to find out what type of FSA you have and which categories of qualified medical expenses are eligible for payment or reimbursement under your FSA.
9For a list of qualified dependent-care expenses, download IRS Publication 503, Child and Dependent Care Expenses, at irs.gov/publications.
10Your run-out period, if any, is determined by your employer. Contact your employer’s benefits administrator for more information.