Yesterday a customer service representative at OneExchange further explained the account setup for married couples who have both retired from IBM. I have never seen any documentation about why and how they setup those accounts.
The account is setup in the name of the person who is oldest. In my case, that is my spouse. The HRA subsidy for both people is put into one account. Because we each have power of attorney for the other we are both able to access the account.
The rep said there is huge benefit to having one account. The amount of money in the account is available to cover the bills and premiums of either person to whatever amount is in the account. So, it is possible to spend the entire account on just one person.
The rep went on to said if the accounts were separated then each person could only spend their own HRA money limit. The couple would not have access to each other's money - meaning if one underspent the HRA benefit the other could not tap into that remaining balance.
I have not seen that explanation written anywhere. All I knew is when the account was setup it was one account in my spouse's name. One customer service rep told me I could split it apart when I questioned it earlier this year but did not tell me the ramifications. I was concerned about what would happen when one of us dies but decided to not do a thing about it until next year.
This customer representative told me they will settle it out when one of us dies and it is no issue.
I haven't yet applied my rule of "ask 3 times" to be more confident that the answers provided are correct. Maybe later in the summer I will ask again.