Consumer-Directed Plans

Empower Your Employees and Control Health Benefit Costs

In contrast to traditional health benefit plans, consumer-directed health plans were developed to empower and encourage covered persons to evaluate their health care options with an eye on the cost and an incentive to spend dollars wisely.  At ASR Health Benefits, we have designed consumer-directed plans to encourage covered persons, the consumers of health care, to make informed choices.

Consumer-directed health plan options from ASR include Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRA), Medical Reimbursement Arrangements (MRA), and more traditional Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA), as well as HSA-qualified high-deductible health plans.

Comparing Consumer-Directed Options

HSA Plans
HSAs are employee-owned accounts that can be funded by both the employee and employer.  The employee can put funds in an HSA pretax or on a tax-deductible basis.  Once an employer contributes funds to an HSA, those dollars belong to the employee and follow the employee upon termination of employment.  Individuals who set up HSAs must be enrolled only in a qualified high-deductible health plan.

HRA Plans
HRAs can be funded only by an employer; employees cannot contribute to an HRA.  The employer simply funds HRA-eligible expenses as they are submitted to and approved by ASR.  While HRAs are usually set up with health plans that have high deductibles and out-of-pocket limits, the rigid requirements that govern the companion health plan for HSAs do not apply to HRAs.

MRA Plans
MRAs are similar to HRAs.  MRAs are usually set up with a traditional high-deductible health plan to fund a portion of the higher deductible for employees and, from time to time, other expenses.  Funds do not roll over from year to year.

FSA Plans
FSAs have been around much longer than HSAs or HRAs and are still a very viable part of a consumer-directed plan design.  FSAs are easy for employees to understand, and funding is flexible since both employees and the employer can contribute.  FSAs can be used with any traditional health plan.

Debit Cards
ASR debit cards make accessing HRA or FSA funds as easy for employees as using their checking accounts.  A single ASR debit card can provide access to one or both of these accounts.

Consumer-Directed Tools
ASR has designed its Website,, in a way that makes all the information needed to manage HRA or FSA accounts easily accessible.  Covered persons stay informed and in control of their health care dollars.

The following chart will help you compare the various consumer-directed options.


Are employee contributions made on a before-tax basis?

Yes n/a Yes

Can vision or dental expenses be reimbursed?

Yes Yes Yes

Can over-the-counter medical expenses be reimbursed (with a prescription for most medications)?

Yes Yes Yes

Can debit cards be provided?

Yes Yes Yes

Discover the Benefits Today...

Empowering your employees means offering them choices.  Working with ASR means you and your employees will understand the financial impact of these choices.  To learn how our consumer-directed health plan options can improve your bottom line, ask your agent or contact the ASR sales staff today.