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  • Steve McEwan

myASO and DEI Initiatives

Updated: Jul 19, 2023

We have a plan option that many advisors haven't even heard about and if they have, chances are they're not aware of all the innovative ways it can be used. We call it myASO, although it used to go by the name myDefined… which some argue might be an even better fit. It originated back when medical cannabis was a really hot topic, we kept receiving requests for plan customization to exclude medical cannabis from HSA plans. That got us thinking about carve-outs and custom plans, something that could resemble a traditional self-insured plan. Our version was a plan that allowed for different buckets of funds, each with its own defined limit. It wasn't exactly like the ASO offered by insurers or other TPAs, hence the name myDefined. But here's the funny thing: every time we explained it, people would say, 'Oh, it's like an ASO, right?' One advisor even suggested renaming it myASO, thinking it might strike a chord with our audience and grab more attention. We went along with it, but deep down, we still joke about how we kinda prefer myDefined. After all, we constantly find ourselves having to clarify how it's different from the usual notion of an ASO. Maybe we should have a vote on a name change? What do you think?

The concept behind myASO is incredibly powerful and versatile. The few advisors who have used it have had great success. The hard part, but also the best part, is that it is so customizable that you must use your imagination, or better yet, ask your client what they want to build. It really is a way to carve out and create a custom employer funding plan for whatever they want. With myASO, you can create single or bundled expense items and allocate a predetermined amount of money to each category. For instance, you can mimic a dental-insured plan by setting up Basic, Major, and Ortho categories with different limits. Similarly, you can simulate a vision plan with a 24-month benefit period and a fixed dollar amount. We even designed myASO to provide three different ways to allocate funds to an employee:

Fixed amount: Similar to a regular HSA – a fixed amount for the employee, which can be shared with their family, if applicable.

Individual limits: Each family member has their own respective limits.

Pooled family funds: Each family member increases the family’s pool of funds – to be spent on anyone in the family’s expenses.

The really cool thing about this plan is that we are now seeing it as a way to address Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives:

Gender Affirmation: An employer has set a large dollar amount available for those who come forward that want access to these funds. Since a lower percentage of employees will ever access this, it is 100% smarter to self-insure this through a spending account versus paying for insurance premiums. Once the employee makes it known they want to use the funds (we have a discrete way to administer the funds), they make claims as they would in the platform. All expenses draw from this one bucket of funds. They still have their HSA and WSA as well, this is just a separate offering.

Indigenous Employee Support: We have a plan that has created separate buckets for non-traditional benefits that may be of value to a company that employs Indigenous people. This includes amounts for things like healing circles, tobacco, Indigenous Healers, art supplies (beads, paints, etc.). Similar to the example above, they still have other more traditional insurance benefits on top of this.

Fertility Treatment: Although a portion of the procedures and costs are covered under traditional benefits and HSAs, it is still not enough. Again though, not everyone will need this benefit, so insuring it does not make sense. We have seen employers utilizing myASO to create a Fertility benefit with $10,000 limit for employees who needed it.

These are a few examples we have seen, but we expect to see many more. With today's diverse workforce, offering a wide range of options has become a crucial competitive advantage. It's clear that employees appreciate having the freedom to access benefits that align with their needs and provide real value to them. This flexibility has become an expectation rather than a luxury.

We know these are unique cases, our team is dedicated to working closely with you to ensure every aspect of the plan aligns perfectly with your vision and the unique needs of each client. Let's collaborate and unlock the full potential of myASO together.

Steve McEwan

COO & Co-Founder


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