So, Sharon, we have two special guests with us today. Uh, we'd like to welcome first, uh, Michael DiSimone, who is the, uh, president and CEO of PayFlex. Mike has received an MBA from Pace University and some executive training from Columbia Business School. He, uh, has, uh, a long history of very impressive business leadership opportunities that he's, uh, had with ACS Xerox, JPMorgan Chase, uh, Mercer, and Aetna before joining PayFlex. And, uh, w- we're going to look forward to learning a li-, a bit more about his background, uh, in this episode today.
We also have with us Paul Sari, who, uh, is the chief, uh, commercial officer for PayFlex. Uh, Paul has a very interesting background to me. I, I'm a Army brat, um, and, and I was brought up by, uh, in a, in a military family. Paul was educated at the Citadel, which is one of the nation's leading military academies and, following that, he served as fi-, uh, uh, five years as a military officer in the U.S. Army as a Ranger. And, uh, following that, he earned an MBA from the Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell, and then went through a series of, uh, uh, opportunities in business where he served in various roles, such as business development, distribution, strategic partnerships, etc., and, and leadership roles with Mellon, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, and Bank of New York, uh, until he joined PayFlex as their chief commercial officer. So Mike and Paul, welcome aboard.
Michael DiSimone (02:02):
Thank you. Great to be here.
All right. Wonderful. Well, I, I'd like to learn, first of all, it sounds like, uh, just looking at your resumes here, gentlemen, you've probably rubbed shoulders, uh, in the business world before you became, uh, uh, uh, colleagues there at PayFlex.
Michael DiSimone (02:20):
Yeah, that's right. Paul and I actually crossed paths a few times at JPMorgan Chase and at Mellon and, although didn't work directly together, um, you know, worked in some of the same circles. We knew of each other and we've had some contact and, uh, you know, when I had this opportunity for the chief commercial position become available with my operating model redesign a couple years ago, I reached out to Paul and was really glad he, uh, he decided to join us and he's, uh, made a huge impact in a short period of time.
Great. Well, maybe we could start today just, you know, what I, what we'd really like to learn is a bit more about the consumer-directed health care space, uh, where the trends are, uh, and, and learn what's kind of, uh, current. And, you know, it's such an important part of the strategy of most corporations today, I just think it's super relevant, so, um, we hope to learn a lot from you today, uh, around those areas. Before we jump into that, I just, maybe you could give us a quick, uh, maybe, uh, a summary of your background and your respective roles, what you do for the company today, how you came to join the company, and, and, uh, uh, how you see, uh, you know, PayFlex, uh, positioned as a company right now.
Michael DiSimone (03:35):
Sure. I'll start. This is Mike, and I, I joined, as you mentioned, PayFlex, uh, about two and a half years ago, joined Aetna about four years ago. Um, I, I have the privilege of leading our PayFlex business and developing the go-to-market strategy, thinking about our product roadmap, and trying to figure out ways to optimize, um, all of the different benefit programs we have available to us in your ecosystem for the greater good of our, of our members. Um, but, uh, the way I came to, to Aetna, uh, PayFlex, uh, was a little bit unexpected. I was, um, at a prior company where, uh, di-, was not actively searching for the next opportunity. Um, someone reached out to me that I worked with at JPMorgan who was at Aetna and, at the time, was thinking about expanding the leadership team preparing for a different acquisition that they were looking at.
Michael DiSimone (04:35):
Um, that acquisition wound up not going through, but at the time that we were discussing it, it was, uh, a great entree into what would have been a, uh, much bigger organization than it was at the time with, um, a, a path to a role that was very aligned with my, you know, career expectations. Um, in the end, it worked out really well because I got to work on what then became the CVS transaction, got to do the, the integration work and diligence work on that and, along the way, were able to, um, uh, add value in a functional role in human resources, where I was able to, uh, lead not just our service delivery organizations, the operations and technology, but the employee relations group and also be the business partner lead for a couple of the C-suite executives, uh, on the Aetna leadership team at the time.
Michael DiSimone (05:27):
Um, and, and as it worked out, the timing of the transaction and the timing of the, uh, previous CEO retiring from PayFlex worked out, uh, in my favor and, uh, I was really happy that they, um, uh, had confidence in me to take on this role. It really lines up very well with not just previous administration experience I have in other HR benefit, uh, companies, but because I was, uh, also in some corporate HR seats, um, I felt that I had a pretty good balanced point of view on what's important to the buyer and what's important to the service provider, which, as I think about my career path and the different roles I've had, I really do feel I'm much more of an effective leader and executive, uh, at PayFlex now because I've been able to bring forward the experiences of being on the other side of the relationship and being responsible for what the program looks like and feels like and the impact it has to the people you're serving, the employees and the businesses you support.
You know, I can relate to that, Mike. Uh, you know, the, the fact that y- you're, you're in a position now as a leader of a company that delivers a service that is, uh, so important, um, ha- having been on the other side, on the buying side of that, I think, is very interesting. I'd like to come back to that later. Uh, you know, I'm in a similar situation where I saw the, the, bswift as a customer before I became an employee here. Uh, it's always great, I think, to be able to have that perspective. Uh, Paul, will you tell us a little bit about, uh, where you're coming from and, uh, what really attracted you to PayFlex?
Paul Sari (07:06):
Yeah, a- absolutely, Don. Thanks. So, you know, Mike touched on a little bit of our, of our shared background, but, um, you know, I came to PayFlex from BNY Mellon, um, and my background, you know, for the last 20 years or so, has really been working for, uh, large financial services institutions on the client side of the business, whether it be, um, business development, either indivi- individual contributor or, uh, a leadership role, um, relationship management and then strategy. Um, and in most of those cases, I've been focused on, um, the, uh, retirement benefits, um, or investment management side of the house and, and working with, um, be it the chief investment officer or the compensation retirement, uh, compensation and benefits function within HR, um, uh, and working with them through kind of the relationship side of, of, of these large financial services institutions.
Paul Sari (07:57):
Um, as Mike had mentioned, we had a chance to work together at Mellon Investor Services early in our career, which, which, in my mind, at the time, was really a best in class, um, uh, organization, particularly from an operational efficiency standpoint, and then, later, um, our paths crossed again at JPMorgan. I was particularly excited, um, about the opportunity to join PayFlex because, um, I did have, um, an experience working with, um, HSAs and consumer-directed accounts, um, at Bank of America and JPMorgan, um, and really continued to, to maintain, uh, a significant interest in, in this space. And in speaking to Mike, really what excited me most about the opportunity was, um, the, the, the, the, the scope of, of change that we could drive within PayFlex, um, as part of the broader CVS Health enterprise.
Paul Sari (08:44):
And, and, you know, I'm sure we'll have a chance to talk a bit more about that as we, as we go on. But, um, the capabilities that PayFlex, um, uh, uh, uh, maintains combined with, with the reach of Aetna and CVS Health and the, the physical, uh, presence that CVS can, can provide, when you bring that together, um, it's, it's an amazing, um, experience, um, for the, for the participant, for the plan sponsor, and, and, fundamentally, um, you know, it puts us in a position to, to really disrupt, um, this en- entire, um, enterprise, um, offering for the better.
Thanks so much, Paul, for that. I, I could not agree more that the participant in plan sponsor experience is, uh, at ev-, at everyone's utmost importance right now, and you are certainly right and, as Don said, we do want to dive into, um, you know, the consumer-directed health care space and how PayFlex fits into that landscape because it is gaining a great deal of attention from our clients, um, and, and, of course, clients across the board. So could you kind of just dive a little bit deeper into that and discuss how PayFlex fits into that space?
Michael DiSimone (10:01):
Is that for me or Paul? I'm sorry.
Paul Sari (10:03):
Absolutely. Um, yeah, I'll-
Either one of you.
Paul Sari (10:07):
... you know, perhaps-
Michael DiSimone (10:08):
Go ahead, Paul, you start.
Paul Sari (10:08):
Yeah, uh, yeah. Uh, Mike, feel free to weave in. I, I know, I know you won't hesitate, my friend. So, um-
Michael DiSimone (10:15):
Paul Sari (10:15):
... in general, I think, you know, consumer-directed health care, um, continues to see, you know, a great deal of change and, and my arrival in the space, you know, much like Mike, really dates back to when HSAs were launched, um, under, uh, the George W. Bush administration, um, with, wi- with that legislation. Um, over time, what we've seen is, is a shifting of the landscape as multiple entrants have, multiple parties have, have, have entered and exited the space and, and when I think about, um, the space today, um, I think you can break it into kind of the following segments. You've got, um, what I would call the, you know, let's say, the, the, the standalone providers that exist in the space today and, and health equity is, you know, now given the combination of way works is probably, WageWorks, is probably, you know, uh, uh, you know, one of most, um, obvious examples of, of the standalone players that exist in the space.
Paul Sari (11:05):
Alongside the standalone players, you've got, um, retirement providers, um, you know, that have entered the space and I think Fidelity is a great example, um, of, of, of that segment. Um, with the standalone providers and retirement, I think you can then look at financial institutions, right? So banks remain significant players in the space. B of A maintains a business, PNC has recently lau-, recently launched an offering as well, um, and I kind you'll continue to see that as, um, financial services institutions, banks, look to provide these services to their commercial banking clients.
Paul Sari (11:37):
Um, as you continue to go down that, that list, you've got the, um, call it the benefits, um, administration providers, and I'll put the exchanges in that as well, um, but certainly organizations like Willis Towers Watson who can provide these services through their exchange. Um, uh, you know, in partnership with bswift, um, we can provide these services and I'm sure we'll touch on that as well, and other parties. And then finally, you know, I would call out, and, once again, we're kind of talking broad brush strokes here, um, the integrated players, um, and so Optum, um, with UnitedHealthcare is, is integrated with the health plan side, the health plan integrated players.
Paul Sari (12:11):
And then PayFLex, um, as part of Aetna, certainly is viewed as an integrated player, although, um, you know, in many cases, we also operate as a standalone provider independent of, of Aetna, um, as, as well. Mike, not sure if you'd add, um, anything to that.
Michael DiSimone (12:27):
No, that was a great overview. I guess what I would say is I would probably add a new category, integrated plus, and PayFlex, I think, would stand alone right now in that category because, you know, we do have the connection to the health care plan, we've got this great partnership with bswift on the ben admin side, but we have a very unique connection now to the 10,000-plus store footprint through CVS, which allows us not just to connect the dots between what the plan design looks like and how to best optimize the benefits in your program, how to best use the benefits through our administration platforms and capabilities, but also where to procure all the, all the, all the products you might need for your well-being journey, um, or services through the CVS network, whether it be MinuteClinic, the new HealthHubs that are being launched nationwide, or just typically what would you get in a front-end store or in the pharmacy.
Michael DiSimone (13:28):
So when you think about the full spectrum of your well-being, everything from what your plan looks like to how you mechanically use the plan to how you actually get what you need, we are in a very unique category which I, I would probably call integrated-plus.
You know, interesting, gentlemen, I, you know, what I wonder, Mike, maybe we could go back to what, uh, you touched on in the beginning of the show. I'm interested to learn a little bit more about ... you know, you've, you've sat in, in some of these executive seats where you've not only had leadership over, uh, you know, like as a CFO, but also as an HR executive, as a buyer, right, and so you've seen that end of the business, and I'm wondering if you could tell us how that has informed the approach that you're taking in the market and, and your understanding of the client.
Michael DiSimone (14:19):
Yeah, that's a great question and, and I'll tell you, when I had my first experience on the service provider side before I had any corporate HR experience, um, and I was learning the business for the first time, uh, back then, you, you really are thinking about the sale, you're thinking about the economics, you're thinking about the price, you're thinking about all the typical contractual SLAs, and so you make it very transactional. And so as the service provider executive, my focus was very much on how to make it as lean and efficient so I could have the price be as attractive as possible.
Michael DiSimone (14:56):
Um, what I learned, after I got into the corporate HR seat, um, and that includes some of the, you know, work I've done in the finance seats 'cause you work so closely with the benefit, uh, department, is that, once you get through the economics, you negotiate the deal, it's really all about how do you best optimize the program for your constituents, for your employees? How do you make sure they're the most informed and educated they could be? How do you make sure they're able to get everything they need without a significant administrative burden and how do you enable the small and usually very lean HR department to be able to have access to the kind of data and, more importantly, insights they need to tell the story internally to leadership, to the businesses that they support, to the employees?
Michael DiSimone (15:49):
You know, a lot of times, HR is in a very difficult position to make people feel happy. You know, people always want, you know, bigger raises, more benefits. They want to be able to do things, uh, you know, with, with, with people's promotion and mobility and sometimes, you know, HR's got to be balanced about how fast and how much you can do, and so, uh, they could typically come, you know, come out of it not looking like they're, um, you know, they're satisfying all of the needs of the people they're trying to serve. If, as a provider, you can help them build the story of how we are helping you, especially in this consumer-driven market, optimize all the benefits you have available to you to basically make your well-being journey the best well-being journey it can be, and that we the employer or the sponsor are playing an important part, an active part, and very engaged and interested part, in that well-being journey, I think that's what they're looking for.
Michael DiSimone (16:48):
And that's what I brought with me as I came into this role, um, the learnings. Um, you know, you make a lot of mistakes (laughs) early on in your career, you learn where some decisions weren't maybe the most balanced, and where you had to take maybe a, a different lens on the impact, and I really do feel that, although there's always more to learn, I think that I, I've learned, um, a great deal to make me a more effective service provider now than I was when I first started.
Yeah, Mike, you hit on a lot of key points that, I think, resonate, uh, especially with Don and I on the bswift side. You talked about being, you know, uh, a category of one as an integrated-plus provider. You're more looking at optimizing the experience for the employee from start to finish through your, you know, through your partnership and relationship with Aetna and CVS and I think, at bswift, we certainly look at it in the same lens. We, we want to make this easy and accessible, not only for HR, who, as you've mentioned, is either running, you know, really lean or pulled in dozens, (laughs) hundreds, of different directions, um, but we want to make it easy for the employee too, easy to engage, easy to understand, um, because it is, you know, it can be so complicated.
And for some employer groups, you know, the, the, the HDHP space is new, um, so we need to make sure that we're doing a good job of educating the employees on that option. You know, through, throughout this conversation, we've kind of been mentioning PayFlex partnership, um, with the broader CVS organization, and we also have a partnership between bswift and PayFlex as well certainly. And, Paul, I, I'd wanted to follow up with you on that and k-, pick your brain in terms of why you think providers elect to use the joint offering between bswift and PayFlex, um, when they're making that decision.
Paul Sari (18:57):
Yeah, a- a- a- ab- absolutely. Um, I, I think, going back to the segmentation that we talked about earlier when we look across the landscape, I think, you know, and, and, and Mike knows this as well, I, I, I think with, within the, the benefits buyer, there are sometimes some philosophical biases, uh, for lack of a better term ,in terms of a b-, you know, a perception or a desire to, you know, um, uh, you know, align these types of offerings, either directly with the retirement offering or, um, with the health plan, let's say. Um, what we've, what we've seen with bswift is, you know, the, bswift's, um, uh, you know, frankly, the capabilities and the reputation that bswift enjoys in the marketplace, I think, aligns directly with what Mike was talking about, um, in terms of making it easy, um, and simplifying, um, the overall administrative challenge that, that comes with, um, uh, you know, managing an array of different, um, benefits, uh, spending accounts, um, each of which has, you know, call it a slightly different objective and certainly, potentially, a different tax treatment.
Paul Sari (20:06):
Um, and so, with that in mind, our partnership with bswift, I think, has been particularly fruitful in that PayFlex, in some respects, can often, um, enhance, um, the overall, uh, bswift narrative in terms of simplifying, um, what is a fundamentally complex challenge in terms of administering these types of programs, but also, um, extend the bswift, um, uh, value proposition by, um, uh, strengthening, um, the linkages into the capabilities of the rest of CVS, right? As Mike had talked about, our abilities to provide, um, you know, um, discounts on qualified medical expense, our abilities to, um, to provide, um, participant support through HealthHub via iPad-enabled concierge services, place us in a position, um, to really extend participant engagement and, um, both add value to the participant, but also reduce the administrative challenge, um, for the plan sponsor. Mike, not sure if you'd add anything to that as well.
Michael DiSimone (21:07):
No, no. I, I agree. I think, ultimately, you know, the better we're integrated, um, we can create that value story I mentioned earlier for our plan sponsors and, because we've got this great partnership with bswift and we're becoming more and more integrated with each deal, I think we're getting even closer and closer to having sort of the optimal level of a seamless experience for our customers.
Paul Sari (21:33):
Yeah. And I, I just, you know, one final point perhaps, um, you know, and a proof point around that is, you know, a very large, um, Fortune, I believe, 50 client that, um, bswift spent a great deal of time, um, identifying and, and pursuing, ultimately came on board, um, over the course of 2020.
Paul Sari (21:52):
Um, PayFlex was a big part of that opportunity, um, and really what that plan sponsor, um, what caused that plan sponsor to make the decision to, to move to bswift and, in doing so, you know, move the accounts with, to, to PayFlex, was they very much agreed with the holistic, uh, value proposition that bswift was, would be able to deliver in terms of serving not on-, not only providing that fundamental benefits administration expertise, um, and excellent, you know, service that they would always provide, but also as essentially a portal into the, you know, enterprise capabilities of CVS, be it on-site pharmacies, um, you know, the access to the HealthHubs, etc., um, was really a huge part of, was really fundamentally what, what carried the day with, with this particular plan sponsor, um, and one that, you know, currently has, you know, gone live with great success and, you know, we, will, I'm sure will be a referable, referenceable client soon.
Yeah. Th-, you know, I, I can tell you, gentlemen, it's, it's, we're, we're delighted at bswift to have the partnership we have with PayFlex. Uh, we have a lot of happy, uh, uh, you know, joint customers together and, uh, there's no question that we're going to continue to a lot of, a lot of great work together. I'd like to take, uh, uh, maybe, uh, a broader look at the industry now and say, you know, uh, uh, uh, going back in time, you know, the, the, the legislation that first set up HSAs, um, was passed in late 2020, or, uh, it, uh, 2003, and then 2004 was about the time, um, that, you know, commercial plans first became sold, you know, the qualified high deductible health plans where HSAs could be, you know, purchased and set up properly.
So, um, back in those days, I think it was shortly after that, I bought my first ... I've been on an, a, qualified high deductible health plan, an HSA, for north of 15 years now as a consumer, and it's become, from my point of view, just, uh, you know, I guess, consumer-directed health care plans have become ubiquitous in the market. Just about every employer at least has an offering. Maybe not all their plans are, are qualified high deductible health plans, but many of them are. And I'm wondering if you could tell us, do you see that continuing and, really, what's, what are some of the predictions, uh, that you might see, uh, incoming in the next two to three years that might alter the market in any significant way? Mike, you want to take a crack at that?
Michael DiSimone (24:21):
Sure. I think there's always going to be a need for some option of a consumer-driven plan for sponsors. Everyone has a different, you know, health expectation profile of what they need for themselves and for the family members that they're covering and different circumstances about, you know, what they can afford to put up front and out of pocket for their health care expenses. So I think there's going to be a continued emphasis on consumer-driven plans. I think there's going to be, uh, a continued need for sponsors to try to help educate the employees on how to best manage and optimize their expenses and find the right balance of what's going to be up front out of pocket versus, uh, ongoing out of pocket.
Michael DiSimone (25:11):
Um, I think that that highlights the need for one of the things that we did a couple years ago, which was to refocus and reposition our purpose and our purpose statement. And, two years ago, our purpose statement was very focused on making it simple to pay for your health care expenses and it was very mechanical. We decided, because of this dynamic, because there is such a focus on how to best afford health care, how to best optimize what I can get out of my program and, and make my well-being journey the best it can be, we had to help people plan and save, not just pay, so we've updated our purpose to be we, we make it simple to plan, save, and pay for your well-being journey, and the whole point is to help people best understand what they need to do, like you do in a retirement plan. What could be my health care journey over the next five, 10, 15 years, what are my expectations, uh, what am I trying to achieve, and then, based on that, what's the best way to think about planning and saving today?
Michael DiSimone (26:26):
And so if you've got a health savings account, how much can you save and accumulate for later on and use for maybe bigger out-of-pocket expenses when you might need it down the road, as opposed to using it to reimburse every small purchase you might make in a front store. Um, if you have an FSA, how do you make sure you're planning the right amount to supplement your out of pocket during year and not leave a lot of it on the table?
Michael DiSimone (26:53):
So I do think there's going to be continued, uh, focus, continued growth. Uh, you know, we do see some stats, and I know we all see the same stats, where, uh, it's quoted that a, you know, 65-year-old couple that might be retiring this year could, on average, have close to $300,000 in health care expense over their remaining lifetime, which is about a three and a half percent increase over last year's estimates. So you think about what those numbers could look like and that with someone that does not have chronic illness, that does not have ongoing, uh, issues to deal with, um, it's a big burden. And so helping people understand what that could look like, educating them, but more importantly, bringing to bear everything we have with the savings capabilities will be important for the long term.
So what I'm catching there is, uh, is a, is a se-, I guess, is a sensitivity around, um, that burden of concern that, you know, for some consumers maybe is so far off they don't even think about it and, and that's one of the challenges you have is to educate them, but about, you know, when you hit retirement, that, that burden of health care, uh, you know, everybody thinks, well, you go on Medicare, you'll be okay, whi- whi- whi-, and Medicare is wonderful, right? It's an amazing program, but there's always so much left, um, that, uh, I guess, that's part of your mission then as I'm understanding it, you're, you're wanting to get that consumer engaged in understanding those risks now and preparing for them for the future, uh, that that's, that's, uh, a wonderful perspective, um.
Paul, I'm wondering, do you have any thoughts about any, any, uh, other, you know, sort of, um, trends or, or things that you're seeing in the industry that you would expect to be important in the next couple of years?
Paul Sari (28:46):
Yeah, a- a- absolutely, Don, and I think, I think, I think, Mike, you know, hit, hit, hit a number of important points, but I think, you know, if you take a step, uh, back perhaps, um, you know, uh, you know, one, one person's opinion, so, so (laughs) take it for what it's worth, but, uh, you know, my, my sense is that, uh, lots of folks in the industry point to the retirement space and the shift from defined benefit plans to defined contribution plans as, um, you know, a, a, uh, uh, you know, uh, an analog to what's occurring with, uh, consumer-directed health care and I, I, it certainly seems as though that's going to continue, um, that the, you know, consumer will continue to become, um, you know, be able to exercise greater, um, responsibility and ownership over, um, you know, how they plan, save, and pay for health care, to Mike's point.
Paul Sari (29:34):
Um, you know, and, and, and I think, you know, we certainly see that with, um, within our, within our own, uh, customer base, the, the power, um, of, of HSAs as triple tax advantage vehicles, um, and the flexibility that that provides is really something that, um, you know, and I'm sure, you know, you, as someone who's had an HSA for 15 years, probably see the balance increasing and, and realize that that's going to be something that, you know, will make a meaningful contribution, um, towards your, uh, certainly your retirement health care and, if not, you'll be able to deploy it toward your general retirement conspe-, expenses, um, on an ordinary income basis, um, you know.
Paul Sari (30:11):
So that, I think, is something that continues to be attractive. You know, one of things we've got our eye on, um, from a PayFlex standpoint, um, along with everything else that Mike has talked about, is, um, this increasing interest in individual coverage HRAs, um, and I think, you know, that's in line with this ongoing shift to that, you know, from defined benefit to defined contribution, right, and, um, certainly something we're watching closely. We're, you know, we're hearing, um, from plan sponsors, from clients, prospects, as well as brokers and consultants about this, um, and we'll continue to keep our eye on that, um, as part of our innovation effort, um, you know, along with, as, you know, we've recently launched a direct-to-consumer offering, which we're quite excited about, seeing some significant uptake.
Paul Sari (30:51):
Um, you know, I think, I think, you know, should the market move toward that individual coverage HRA, um, we'll certainly be in a position to support it. Um, final point would be, you know, just maybe kind of shifting slightly and just looking at the consumer-directed marketplace, um, specifically, there's been a lot of, um, uh, call it, uh, strategic activity in the space, um, you know, acquisitions, um, you know, HealthEquity purchasing WageWorks, etc. I, I would expect to see that continue. You've got some point solutions providers that likely haven't reached scale, um, and'll, and, and should get, um, uh, you know, acquired at some point, eMerge and whatnot, and we'll probably continue to see that shake out, um, over the next, you know, three-ish years, I would guess. Not sure if Mike would want to add anything to that as well.
Michael DiSimone (31:37):
No, I think you covered it well, Paul. Thank you.
Great. Well, gentlemen, uh, I think we're going to, uh, uh, just, just wrap up here, but I want to just go back through and review a couple things, you know, and, and, and as you were speaking, Paul, it just brought to my mind the, you know, the importance of that triple tax advantage. I can tell you, as a consumer, th- th- there were years, over those 15 years, where I put my mo-, uh, you know, the maximum amount I was allowed to put in my HSA and we spent every dime of it that year, uh, because, you know, uh, uh, uh, one year, my daughter, who's a soccer player, had a, had a, a knee blowout and it was a big surgery and, one year, my wife had a, you know, a premature baby and that kind of wiped out the fund for that year, uh, on, on those contributions.
But I, I can tell you this, when I've looked in the rear-view mirror over those 15 years, I've never had a year where I wished I had picked, you know, uh, a more traditional coverage plan. Uh, whether I was able to save all the money that year or not, it's, it's always benefited me to be on a consumer-dri-, directed plan, and so I, I appreciate the fact that, that we've got this, uh, you know, this tax savings, uh, uh, vehicle out there in the marketplace today and I'm a believer in it.
Um, you know, one of the things we've learned from you today, or several of the things, I think, I, I would just point out, you know, there's, uh, a variety of different types of providers out in the market today. They go in these buckets, his, you know, the standalone providers, the retirement providers, financial institutions, uh, ben admin and exchanges, and I think you, one of things you brought out was, you know, the integrated types of, of providers, but you're an integrated-plus provider and that's something you described to us today and I think that makes you unique in the market.
Um, also was fascinated to learn, uh, fr- from Mike about his experience as, as a consumer at the corporate level where, you know, he described going through all this, um, sort of, uh, the mechanics of, of making a good buy, but then also have to, to realize that there was more to it than just the dollars and cents on the paper, that it was really about, uh, making sure that, in addition to getting a good buy, that you were getting all the support and optimization of the program out of it, employee education and things that were really going to make it successful, giving the tools that are, that are needed to the admin, uh, buyers so that they can have a great experience with the C-suite in, in explaining what's going on and getting the support they need there. So that's, uh, that seems like a very important part of your market.
Um, and, and then, you know, we got into talking about the, really the mission behind PayFlex today and where it used to be more mechanical around, hey, let's make things, uh, you know, let's make it simple to pay, it's become now, well, let's help people plan, save, and pay, so that's really expanded the vision of, of, of your company and, and I think you're spot-on right there. I mean, that's, that's rea- ... there's, there's so much power in reaching into the consumer to help them understand it's not about the, this year's transactions, it is about that, but it's much more than that. It's the value and the power behind this market is really in helping people be prepared for the future, uh, when they're going to have potentially very large expenses on the plate and having that money saved in retirement is, is a very important part of retirement planning for, for all Americans really.
So and, and, uh, and we heard from Paul there toward the end about the importance of just keeping an eye on how the market may be shifting. You know, you guys have, have, uh, uh, a great perspective, even things that are upcoming, like the individual coverage HRAs, you got your eyes on that. The, the, you know, the market may shift there, it may not. If it does, you're ready. So that just tells me that, as a company, you really have, um, you know, a tremendous leadership, you got your eye on the ball, and you really have, in my view, a focus on all the right things to really meet the needs of, of today's consumer. So, um, that's a sum, as I caught it. Um, Sharon, anything that, that you think I missed there?
N- no, Don, I think that was a great summary. I think we've got a lot of great content for, um, our listeners to enjoy. I guess the one thing that we haven't necessarily covered that our listeners may want to know is how can they find out more about PayFlex?
Michael DiSimone (35:48):
I would say visit our PayFlex.com site. You can learn all about what we have to offer. Um, use that as a way to get connected to some great content to learn more about the industry and about PayFlex and, uh, and connect into, into CVS. And just as a, as a final thought, as you wrapped everything up very nicely, Don, um, you know, I think about sort of the, the takeaway message that I'd love people to walk away with is, as part of CVS Health, you know, we take our purpose very seriously of helping people on their path to better health. That's what CVS Health stands for. And at PayFlex, we feel very excited and very passionate about our part to play in that purpose and we really feel that our new value statement of helping people plan, save, and pay is a big part of that. So hopefully that is something that people, um, see the connection, but that is ultimately what we're trying to drive for.
Fantastic. Well, gentlemen, thank you for joining us and it's been a delight to talk with you today.
Michael DiSimone (36:55):
Paul Sari (36:59):
Thank you both.