Now that I have your attention – let me explain. Most who know me understand that I hate the word pivot, as I have always maintained that we have not pivoted. In a recent reflection, I have come to realize that this is not the case.
Back when we started myHSA, we built a system and idea for small corporations – those with one to five people – the supposed ideal market for spending accounts. As we developed other products, such as myHSA, myFlexplan, and eventually myASO, the groups coming onto myHSA were no longer those initially intended. We were changing our focus, what we were doing, and for whom we were doing it. The groups became more complex, but our system and offerings had a unique way of simplifying them.
A few years ago, news broke that the government was looking at the taxation of employee benefits – including spending accounts – which scared the living shit out of us.
Was our model gone?
We even tried to change the name of the company. We wanted to stay away from anything to do with HSAs. We were scared that if the government went ahead with this change, then we would be backed into the corner. In reality, if the government were to tax benefits, then they would tax all benefits – not just us. Inherently this put us in a better position, as the offerings would likely become less determined on price and instead in user experience and flexibility – values we'd been driving into the myHSA system since inception.
The name change did not happen – nor did the taxation of benefits – but it did clarify for us the vision of the company. We were no longer trying to drive the HSA market and work with small companies. We were changing the way companies view and facilitate transactional benefits (meaning benefits that are known expenses rather than sudden and catastrophic in nature).
The vision of myHSA went from a way to help small businesses with medical costs to a bigger mission of digitizing Insurance Advisors and giving them the tools to effectively offer a solution for areas where insurance did not make sense – to facilitate flexible benefits. What we were building was much bigger than what we gave it credit. We have been learning about a model launched in South Africa – setting the stage to change how benefits are offered.
Also, we are learning about the ICHRA model in the U.S. launched in 2020 – which very closely resembles the HSA market in Canada (have you heard about myHRA?)– and found this interesting quote this morning:
It is stories and ideas like these that excite us, and any time we question our model, we seem to hear about another one. We are not arrogant as a company, but we are bold. We feel that we are well on our way to changing the way benefits are thought of. However, using the most effective way of offering them which is through Advisors. What we are working on is a big idea – and like anything, big ideas take time.
Founder & CEO