Information for Employers Offering Health Benefits to Employees

Helping Employees Access Health Insurance

Good benefits can help recruit and retain employees. Learn more about the health insurance needs of your small business.

Use the Affordable Employer Coverage Tool to determine whether employer-sponsored health insurance is considered affordable and whether an employee and/or their family is eligible for new savings through Washington Healthplanfinder.

Doctor with  MedicineIndividual Plans

Employees can purchase an individual health insurance plan through Washington Healthplanfinder, the state’s official online marketplace for health insurance. Individual plans allow for employees to choose the plan that best fits their and/or family’s needs and budget. At they can shop, compare and sign-up for high-quality health and dental coverage. All plans offer minimum essential health coverage (MEC), such as doctor visits, preventative care, shots and more. Employees who are not offered health insurance through their employer or when coverage is deemed unaffordable as defined by the ACA, may be eligible for federal tax credits to help lower the cost of their coverage. To determine tax credit eligibility employees can fill out an application with no obligation.

For more information on how you can help employees sign up for coverage contact Marie Cooper at [email protected].

Have questions or need help signing up? Help is available at no cost though Washington Healthplanfinder’s Enrollment Centers.

Health Reimbursement Accounts

A Health Reimbursement Account (HRA) is a vehicle that allows an employer to reimburse medical expenses of employees and their dependents. Generally, HRAs must be 100% funded with employer contributions, integrated with a health insurance plan offered by the employer, and in compliance with ACA rules (e.g., no annual benefit limits). For employees to participate in the HRA, they must also be enrolled in the insurance plan offered by the employer. 

There are several types of HRAs. Two types of HRAs can be used to help pay for individual health insurance coverage but may reduce or eliminate tax credit for coverage purchased through Washington Healthplanfinder:

  1. Individual Coverage Health Reimbursement Arrangements (ICHRA)
  2. Qualified Small Employer Health Reimbursement Arrangements (QSEHRAs)

Employers are cautioned to consider the financial impact an HRA could have on employees’ premium costs. 

If your employees will be getting health insurance in the individual market, offering a QSEHRA or ICHRA could be detrimental to them. For QSEHRAs, employees who would be eligible for tax credits through the Exchange will either lose eligibility for tax credits entirely or have their tax credit reduced by the amount of the QSEHRA contribution. For many employees, coverage in the individual market may be more affordable without a QSEHRA, so they can take full advantage of federal tax credits for health insurance coverage. For ICHRAs, employees who would be eligible for tax credits through the Exchange could lose eligibility for tax credits.

Additional Information:

Health Savings Accounts

A Health Savings Account (HSA) is a tax-favored bank account set up in an employee’s name and collects pre-tax contributions from both the employer and the employee, to be used to pay medical expenses of the employee and their dependents. For employees to participate in the HSA, they must also be enrolled in a qualifying High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP).

If you are interested in learning more about Small Group Plans, HRAs, or HSAs reach out to one of our broker led enrollment centers for assistance.

Additional Information:

Additional Information on Healthcare Options
For more information on accessing health insurance options for your business reach out to Marie Cooper at: [email protected]
Other Small Business Resources: