Changes upcoming to HRAs

Via Benefits to improve reimbursement process, customer interface

By Michael Pramik, Ohio Public Employees Retirement System

Aug.  20, 2019 – The OPERS Medicare Connector provides health care payments to participants through a Health Reimbursement Arrangement. OPERS reminds all participants that the Connector is transitioning its HRA administrator from PayFlex to Via Benefits, which oversees the insurance plan for those over 65.

That means, until the transition is complete on Sept. 3, Connector participants will be unable to access their HRA accounts or details in their Via Benefits online accounts. There also might be a delay in reimbursement processing.

Upon completion, however, Via Benefits’ oversight of the HRA process will have several tangible benefits for Connector participants, including:

  • The option to receive text message and email updates throughout the reimbursement process
  • The ability to request standard or recurring premium reimbursement forms from an automated phone prompt, eliminating the need for participants to sign into their online accounts or speak with a Via Benefits representative
  • A larger, well-trained team of experts ready to answer all HRA-related questions
  • Clear directions and next steps when a request for reimbursement isn’t approved

In addition, Via Benefits will present a new, streamlined Internet experience. A dashboard will provide your available balance, account details and quick links to submit reimbursement requests. You’ll be able to review your account activity and filter information by expense type and plan year. And, you can use your expense history to track the status of reimbursements.

No action by participants is necessary. The transfer of data, including direct deposit information, automatic premium reimbursements choices and personal identification, will be seamless.

Via Benefits has created a video that will help participants understand the upcoming changes. For questions, contact Via Benefits at 844-287-9945.

Michael Pramik

Michael Pramik is communication strategist for the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System and editor of the PERSpective blog. As an experienced business journalist, he clarifies complex pension policies and helps members make smart choices to secure their retirement.

Michael Pramik

Communication Strategist

15 thoughts on “Changes upcoming to HRAs

  • August 20, 2019 at 9:38 am
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    How long will the delay be before we receive reimbursements in our account?

    Reply
    • August 23, 2019 at 11:28 am
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      Ms. Stillwell,

      All claims should be processed by the end of September.

      Julie, OPERS

      Reply
    • September 7, 2019 at 3:39 pm
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      It appears that reimbursement claims are taking longer with the new system. Claims were previously processed within 24-48 hours. Now four days has passed shown as “review”. We were told there would be more staff and things would be more efficient. Is this a start up problem or will this be a normal time frame?

      Reply
      • September 12, 2019 at 2:45 pm
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        The transition from PayFlex to Via Benefits is now complete. We appreciate your patience as they work to enhance the HRA experience and continue processing claims during the scheduled down time. All claims received during the down time will be processed by the end of the month.

        Julie, OPERS

        Reply
  • August 20, 2019 at 11:29 am
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    I was having a problem with my HRA account. I had very little in my HRA after my health insurance and perscription coverage was paid. I called at least 2 times but was motivated to check again because of the system was going to be down.
    I talked to a very nice rep. She went back to 2018 and said I submitted health insurance premiums for my husband last August. Since I did not have enough money in the account to be reimbursed monthly VIA Benefits has slowly paid the health insurance premiums until now and I am beginning to show a balance. Problem was explained to me so I could understand what happened. We have meetings for our Ohio PERS members very 2 months. Our last meeting we spent time going over with members how to get reimbursed for their needs by submitting forms. A lot of our member have no access to a computer and need some help. I am grateful that my OPERS pension allows this HRA to help with my preimums. It just takes some getting used to how to work our benefits, Thanks you for all you all do to help our retirees.
    Sincerely
    Nancy J. Moore
    Shadyside OH

    Reply
    • August 23, 2019 at 11:27 am
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      Thank you, Nancy. Glad we could help.

      Julie, OPERS

      Reply
  • August 21, 2019 at 1:23 pm
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    When I clicked the link for the video, I got “Error 410 Gone”. all my ad blockers off and the site trusted. Can’t wait for Sept. 3.

    Reply
  • August 29, 2019 at 7:57 pm
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    Will reimbursements for insurance and Rx coverage for August be done soon – via direct deposit into checking? Assuming September premiums will be deducted from checking as normal? Please advise. Thank you!

    Reply
    • August 30, 2019 at 4:14 pm
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      Because of the transition from Payflex to Via Benefits, all claims should be processed by the end of September.

      Reply
  • September 3, 2019 at 1:27 pm
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    I cannot sign on to the website to submit claims for reimbursement. We have been doing it that way for a while now and the system still says it is down. Is there an alternate way to submit receipts for reimbursement? Ours are piling up.

    Reply
    • September 3, 2019 at 3:44 pm
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      The transition from Payflex to Via Benefits is almost complete. If you have questions about your account, please contact Via Benefits at 844-287-9945.

      Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 9:19 am
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    Personally, I think the proposed freeze or whatever it is to our COLA is a small price to pay for strengthening the total system. I can live with those changes.

    Reply
  • September 16, 2019 at 9:54 am
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    Iam 84 yrs. old I have no idea how to use hra acct. or matter of fact anything having to do with reinburstments.

    Reply
    • September 16, 2019 at 4:43 pm
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      Please call us at 1-800-222-7377 and a member of our staff can walk you through the process.

      Reply

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