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Defined Contribution Health Plans
National Summary
One trend in health plan design that has continued to gain popularity is consumer-driven health care, including defined-contribution health plans intended to make employees more conscious of, and responsible for, the cost of their health care.
Hybrid defined-contribution plans combine a high-deductible plan with a tax-exempt medical expense savings account that could cover the deductible, copayments, or the cost of out-of-network care. Another type of plan provides a fixed sum for routine care and a high-deductible insurance plan to cover major illnesses.
Currently, health savings accounts (HSAs), health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs), and medical savings accounts (MSAs) are the three types of tax-favored consumer-directed plans that have legal authorization. While HSAs and MSAs require coverage under a high-deductible health plan (HDHP), HRAs are also frequently coupled with an HDHP.
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