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 Flexible Health Allowance (FHA) Plan 2011

Frequently Asked Questions


  1. What is Flexible Health Allowance (FHA)?
FHA is a portion of the County’s contribution to employee health insurances that allows employees to have health plan purchase options.
Please refer to the FHA Slide Show for additional information about the FHA Program.
  1. Why is the County doing this?
The County contracts with CalPERS to provide employees with medical plan options.
The County makes equal Medical contributions to both active employees and retirees, as reflected on your 2011 rate sheet.
  1. How is FHA calculated?
While FHA is calculated in accordance with your employee group’s bargaining agreement, the following example illustrates the components necessary for calculating FHA: 

a.  Employee Only – 95% of 2011 Blue Shield Access + HMO premium = $641.73  

b. Maximum 2011 County Medical Contribution = $507.00

(Equal to Retiree Only Medical Contribution)
c.         $675.51          Blue Shield Access + HMO premium 
 ($507.00)        County Medical Contribution for Employee Only
                      $134.73          Flexible Health Allowance
  1. What can I do with FHA?
 There are three FHA program options:
a.  County Medical
b.  VSP Dependent Vision
c.  DPO + (Enhanced Dental)
FHA will automatically be applied to your medical premium cost unless you also choose to purchase VSP Dependent Vision / DPO + Dental.
  1. What is the difference between FHA and HC-FSA?
Flexible Health Allowance (FHA) is a portion of the County’s contribution to employee health insurance that allows employees to have health plan purchase options. FHA can be used towards the following health insurance premiums: County Medical, VSP Dependent Vision and DPO + Dental.
Health Care Flexible Spending Account (HC-FSA) is an employee-funded account for the reimbursement of qualifying health expenses not covered by insurance. The employee’s contribution to HC-FSA is a pre-tax benefit.
  1. How do I figure out the cost of my FHA benefit options?
Cost is dependent upon your medical plan choice and enrollment level.
Refer to your rate sheet or contact the Benefits office for cost information regarding FHA benefit options.
  1. What is the benefit to me?
Some of the 2011 medical plan premiums cost more than both County contributions – Medical and FHA – there are medical plans that cost less. However, you may want to review your FHA benefit package options regardless of medical plan premiums costs.
  1. Do I have to participate in FHA?
If FHA was approved for your employee group, County contributions to employee health insurance will be split into two separate allocations – Medical and FHA – for the 2011 plan year. If no employee selection is made, your FHA contribution will be applied to medical premium costs only. 
  1. Can I apply FHA to the CalPERS Administrative Fee?
No – CalPERS Administrative Fee is not a health premium. It will continue to be charged to employees via payroll deduction.
  1. When can I change my FHA benefit options?
You may only change your FHA benefit options during Open Enrollment, which typically begins in September of each year for changes effective January 1.
Questions? Contact the Benefits Office
or call (831) 454-2241.
701 Ocean Street, Room 510
Santa Cruz, CA 95060