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HRA Tool


Under new regulations, Employers offering Employees ICHRAs to purchase individual health insurance could cause tax complications.


IdeaCrew worked with State Health & Value Strategies to develop an HRA calculator tool as a shared service for State-based Marketplaces to provide consumers consistent guidance

In June of 2019, the Trump Administration published new regulations creating something called the Individual Coverage Health Reimbursable Arrangement, “ICHRA” for short. Under this program, employers have flexibility to provide HRAs to employees, in lieu of traditional group coverage, which the employees then use to purchase coverage on the individual market. The challenge for states was that the availability of the ICHRA could affect an individual’s eligibility for premium tax credits, causing tax complications down the road. So the new program added a level of complexity, and State-Based Marketplaces (SBMs) needed an HRA calculator tool to help.

In the past, each state would pay a separate vendor to build the same kind of tool, so millions of dollars would be spent to build the same thing multiple times. IdeaCrew brings a different approach. We believe in open source code and shared services, so SBM’s can get the most for their money. We partnered with Princeton University’s State Health and Value Strategies to develop a solution that could work for all states, not just one. The project, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’ launched in August 2019.

We worked with 14 of the 16 SBMs on this project. We convened regular meetings of the SBM technical and operations staff, developed business requirements, deployed functionality in sprints, managed stakeholder testing by SBM staffs, and delivered a fully functional HRA calculator tool in time for open enrollment.

In developing the tool, we had to become expert on the unique rating rules and SERFF templates of each SBM. We also developed an administrative portal for SBM technical staff. This included installation instructions as well as scripts to allow for automated installation in AWS and Azure environments. The text is fully editable by SBM staff to allow SBMs to tailor the language to their specific marketplace. The tool is available in both English and Spanish and is architected to allow SBMs to translate it into any language. IdeaCrew delivered the tool in just 6 weeks, and even offered to host the tool for free during open enrollment for any state that wanted it. California, New York, Washington, Massachusetts, and the District of Columbia SBMs all used the tool.

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