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Ask the Expert: How Jeremy Miller Launched Service-Based Initiatives in Response to Market Needs

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While attending the MBA program at Columbia Business School, Jeremy’s idea to help everyday Americans and companies benefit from their pre-tax healthcare savings accounts by simplifying the entire process was recognized with the school’s prestigious Odyssey Global MBA Award for “Best Entrepreneurial Business Idea.” He received funding from both the school and Angel investors to get his business off the ground, and in 2010, Health-E Commerce, a consumer health and wellness online retailer, was launched. 

Miller’s initial vision was to provide service-based initiatives that addressed the market’s lack of understanding, confusion, and underutilization of Flexible Savings Accounts (FSA) and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). He figured out how to do this by making it easy for consumers to access products and services eligible for purchase via their health savings account funds. Over the years, he expanded his vision to include other services to help consumers even more with their healthcare spending. 

The FSA Store: Don’t Forfeit the Money in Your Account

His idea at Columbia and the launching of Health-E Commerce and the FSA Store were borne as a result of the healthcare spending he saw being left behind in FSAs. FSAs allow both employers and employees to contribute funds tax-free, up to a certain limit. Each year, the limit changes. This year the cap is $2,850. Employees can use the funds to cover out-of-pocket medical costs as well as to purchase FSA-eligible products and services. 

The challenge lies in the fact that, in general, if you don’t use the funds in an FSA account by year-end, you lose your money. The funds are forfeited to the employer unless the employer chooses to allow employees the option of rolling over a maximum of $550 a year. (An exception was made for 2022 which gave employers the option to allow all money to be rolled over from 2021 into this year.) Employees today end up losing more than $500 million in FSA funds each year.

The FSA Store provides consumers with an online marketplace to use funds in their FSA accounts to purchase eligible products and services. Consumers using their FSA pre-tax dollars can go to the FSA Store and buy a wide range of products, including vision care; dental care; pregnancy, fertility, and family planning products; skincare products; over-the-counter medications; menstrual supplies; COVID-19 supplies; and much more. Products are clearly categorized and displayed. It’s simple and convenient to purchase them, and you can be confident that the products are guaranteed FSA-eligible. The account tools on the site also make it easy for you to plan annual contributions and remember important plan dates.

HSA Store: Stock Up on Eligible Healthcare Products

Jeremy also addressed the market needs of consumers who wanted a convenient and hassle-free way to spend their HSA funds with the launch of the HSA Store in 2015. The HSA Store includes products such as pain relief, acne and skin care, baby and mom products, first aid, cold and allergy medicine, eye and ear care, diagnostics, menstrual care, vitamins and supplements, and others. 

HSAs are tax-advantaged medical savings accounts that can be used only with high-deductible health plans (HDHP). Both employees and employers can contribute to the HSA. Employers can opt to make a fixed contribution or “matching” contributions. Unlike an FSA, you can roll over funds from one year to the next. In addition, you can invest some of your HSA funds in mutual funds or other investments.

Using Tax-Free Money to Support a Nonprofit

Miller found other ways to help consumers use their pre-tax dollars on qualified health and wellness products. He expanded Health-E Commerce with Caring Mill, a private label line that sells everything from home healthcare products to joint and muscle pain relief, medicine and treatments, personal care products, baby and mom, and more. For every product purchased, Health-E Commerce makes a donation to the Children’s Health Fund, which helps provide children and families living in underserved communities with access to high-quality, comprehensive healthcare.

Putting Your Wellness Reward Cards to Good Use

In addition, he made wellness reward cards easy to use. Wellness Reward cards are an incentive increasingly utilized by employers to reward employees for adopting healthy behaviors as part of their wellness programs. Launched in 2019, Well Deserved enables shoppers to purchase health-related items with their Wellness Reward cards.  

Seniors Shop Online for Eligible Products

In 2021, Jeremy focused on providing seniors with a viable option to buy products covered by Medicare Advantage plans’ supplemental OTC benefits. The Medicare OTC Store gives millions of American seniors the ability to shop online for eligible products. Health plans that partner with the Health Enhancement Community (HEC) will give their members access to purchase OTC medications and products by mail order, phone, and online at the Medicare OTC Store. 

Over the last 12 years, Jeremy Miller and Health-E Commerce have launched several brands, all designed to help consumers better understand, manage, and use their workplace benefits, wellness, and health spending programs.

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