NU Online News Service, Feb. 10, 3:20 p.m. – Nationwide Health Plans, a unit of Nationwide Financial Services, Inc., Columbus, Ohio, has introduced a new health plan designed for employers with 50 or more employees. The product, MyChoice Health Plan, is a consumer-directed plan sold by NHP in an alliance with Vested Health, a health plan provider in Charlotte, N.C.

Consumer-directed health plans, also known as defined-contribution health plans or health care reimbursement accounts (HRA), combine a high-deductible health insurance plan with an HRA for each employee. Employees can use the HRA to pay for qualified medical expenses.

NHP will underwrite and administer MyChoice, a high-deductible paid provider organization health plan. Vested Health will set up and administer the reimbursement account for employees. Employers determine how much they will put into each employee’s Vested Health account. Employees may use the account to pay for medical expenses not covered by the PPO plan.

Vested Health will handle all health care fund transactions under the plan.

A key feature of the reimbursement accounts is that they offer employees long-term savings potential, Vested Health says. Employers can elect to establish a vesting schedule, which gives the employees an incentive to stay with their current employer while enabling them to take part of the account with them when they eventually leave. All unused portions roll over into the employees’ account the next year, Vested Health says.