White House expands health accounts for small firms

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WASHINGTON — The Trump administration says it will expand options for small companies to use special accounts to help workers buy their own health insurance or upgrade job-based coverage, officials said Thursday.

The tax-free individual accounts are called “health reimbursement arrangements,” or HRAs.

White House officials said Thursday that employers could also combine the accounts with workplace coverage, allowing workers to use the money for additional benefits such as dental and vision care.

HRAs are already available, but the administration is promoting new uses that potentially could boost their popularity. Critics fear that could undermine traditional workplace insurance.

The HRA accounts join short-term health insurance and association health plans as the Trump administration’s answer to high health insurance premiums. The ultimate impact of the policy changes is still unclear.

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