As an MBA student at New York’s Columbia Business School, Jeremy Miller came up with a business idea to help everyday Americans take advantage of and maximize their pre-tax healthcare saving accounts with workplace benefits and healthcare and wellness spending. He saw that employees were missing out on effectively utilizing the funds they were putting aside in their Flexible Savings Accounts (FSAs) and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). In fact, many individuals were leaving money on the table or were unsure how and where to spend their funds.
Jeremy was clearly onto something and was recognized for his vision when he won the Columbia Business School’s Odyssey Global MBA Award for “Best Entrepreneurial Business Idea.” With funding from Columbia’s Lang Fund and other Angel investors, in 2010, he got his new business, Health-E Commerce, a consumer health and wellness online retailer, off the ground. That same year, the company launched the FSA Store, the first e-commerce site focused on FSA-eligible products. Consumers could now, with ease, convenience, and confidence, find and shop for products and services that are covered under an FSA account. Today, the FSA Store is comprised of the most comprehensive list of FSA-eligible products for individuals to purchase available anywhere.
Following the success of the FSA Store, Miller used the same principles behind simplifying FSA healthcare spending to launch the company’s HSA Store in 2015. The HSA Store is designed to assist individuals to find HSA-eligible products, maximize health savings, and stretch HSA funds to cover everyday healthcare-related expenses quickly and easily.
Behind Jeremy Miller’s Idea
Despite the fact that FSAs and HSAs were becoming increasingly popular, it became apparent to Miller that confusion about the accounts existed in the marketplace. Employees were missing out on the value FSAs and HSAs offered. They either did not understand how these savings accounts worked, what type of products were eligible for purchase, or, in the case, of FSAs, were not fully aware that they would lose the money remaining in their accounts if it was not spent by the deadline. There are about 15 million FSAs covering 35 million Americans (as of 2019) and more than 32 million HSAs (as of 2021).
FSAs are employer-sponsored healthcare spending accounts that allow both the employer and employee to contribute funds with tax-free dollars, up to a certain amount. Employees can use the funds to pay for out-of-pocket medical expenses as well as for FSA-eligible products and services. However, FSAs are known as “use it or lose it” accounts and the funds must be used up by the end of the year. Any funds that go unused are forfeited to the employer that sponsored the plan. In addition, the plan stays with the employer if you leave the company, whether you find another job, are fired or retire. Jeremy estimates that today more than $ 500 million in FSA funds get forfeited each year by employees.
FSA Store and HSA Store Take the Guesswork Out of Shopping
The FSA Store, based on Miller’s original idea, provides consumers with an easy-to-use online resource for consumers to view by category which products are eligible for purchase with their FSA account. In fact, the FSA Store is now the largest online marketplace for guaranteed FSA-eligible products, with more than 6,000 products and educational content.
HSAs, as with FSAs, are employer-sponsored, but they are only available with high-deductible insurance plans. Contributions are not taxed, the money grows tax-free, and withdrawals are tax-free if used for qualifying medical expenses and HSA-eligible products. Every year, unlike FSAs, employees’ balances are carried over. The key again is in educating employees on which products they can purchase throughout the year and helping them manage the costs of their personal healthcare. This is exactly what the HSA Store does. Employees can shop for qualified products and search for services to learn more about an HSA to maximize utilization.
Additionally, the account tools on the Health-E Commerce site make it easy for consumers to plan annual contributions and remember important plan dates.
Additional Health & Wellness Brands on Health-E Commerce
Jeremy took his passion to help consumers improve their health and maximize their health savings through qualified shopping and education and expanded it with the launch of several other brands on Health-E Commerce. This includes Caring Mill, a private-label line of health and wellness products. For each product purchased, Health-E Commerce makes a donation to the Children’s Health Fund to provide quality healthcare to needy children.
Health-E Commerce’s Well Deserved line enables shoppers to purchase health-related items with Wellness Rewards.
Jeremy’s most recent venture, Medicare OTC Store, is a customized platform designed to make it easy for senior citizens to shop for products covered by Medicare Advantage plans’ supplemental OTC benefits.
Health-E Commerce’s success is underpinned by its customer base of more than 200,000 people who benefit from Miller’s business model. He and his company have been recognized with several accolades including the EY Entrepreneur of the Year in 2018 and the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 Awards from 2016 to 2020 as one of the fastest-growing companies in the United States.
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