June 19, 2015
I typically categorize Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) as “something that adults talk about.” Since I barely consider myself an adult on my best days, I’ll admit to not knowing much about them. However, I recently had the pleasure of chatting with Aaron Benway, co-founder and CEO of HSA Coach, and he schooled me on the importance of HSAs as part of saving for retirement, and about how his app is helping people maximize their HSAs for the present and the future.
How did the idea for HSA Coach come about?
Healthcare costs are growing faster than the rate of both inflation and pay increases. It’s an expense that can blindside even the best budgeters. When Benway was CFO at HelloWallet, he thought a lot about how they could help people budget for inevitable health costs.
“The world is going to high deductible health care plans. In that environment [at HelloWallet] how can you help people, not just educate them on how best to use their health savings account,but also to provide sort of a broader perspective for them in how the health savings account ties in to their budget.”
What has been the most challenging part in creating HSA Coach?
Benway says that he started HSA coach with realistic expectations.”You feel like you know the right answer and you just want people, and the market, to get there faster, and recognizing that these things take time.” He knew that it would take a while to build the product, gain traction, and most importantly, gain people’s trust.
What is the best feature HSA Coach offers?
The primary thing that HSA Coach aims to provide is information. They want people to be better informed when making financial decisions, especially when it comes to healthcare. The website and app feature different financial calculators (available on website with rollout onto the app coming in a couple weeks) and blog posts covering a variety of related topics. They also provide an HSA Playbook which gets down and dirty about the rules of HSAs, how they can help you save on taxes, and the differences between HSAs and FSAs (flexible spending accounts).
“People really up until now have been on traditional health care plans with an FSA, but the world is going to high deductible plans, where they’re cheaper on the monthly and premiums, but you pay more out of pocket. But for that, you now have a health savings account…. And that HSA works very differently than your FSA because the money is not use or lose and if you know what you’re doing you can put it into a mutual fund and into the market just like you can your 401k.”
What are the long-term goals for HSA Coach?
“What people are looking for is something they can trust, and all things being equal, they trust people before they trust enterprise logos and brands, and so our goal over time, along with adding more features and making the app more functional and more user friendly, is also, frankly, just to surround this space with information so that it can be the go-to tool that people trust.”
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