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TrueMed’s payment integration platform unlocks HSA/FSA for health, not sickness

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Medication might be easier than exercise or eating right, but TrueMed wants to change your thinking on that.

Calley Means and Justin Mares started the payment integration company last year to make it easy for consumers to pay for healthy food, exercise and supplements using their tax-free health savings accounts or flexible spending account dollars. And with regulatory compliance.

Typically, medical expense purchases like that are approved with a letter of medical necessity from your doctor upon collection of certain data. TrueMed’s secret sauce is that, thanks to telehealth laws that resulted from the global pandemic, it can collect that information and produce those notes seamlessly and asynchronously without the doctor’s visit. 

“Our long-term goal is to attack the notion that 95% of dollars are spent on interventions after people get sick,” Means told TechCrunch. “We’re going to go bankrupt from healthcare costs, and we’re becoming a non-competitive country because we’re getting so sick. We have to ask how you can actually use your healthcare dollars to incentivize metabolic habits: Food, exercise, the food movement, sleep and supplements, to stay healthy.” 

TrueMed launches today with $3 billion of gross merchandise volume already amassed from businesses, including CrossFit, Magic Mind and Kos.

Origin story

If both Means’ and Mares’ names look familiar it’s because they are both serial entrepreneurs. Means previously co-founded wedding dress company Anomalie with his wife, Leslie Voorhees, which sold to David’s Bridal last year. Meanwhile, Mares previously founded health food brands Kettle & Fire and Perfect Keto. 

Together they have raised $100 million for previous ventures. With TrueMed, they have raised $3.5 million in SAFEs (simple agreement for future equity) from investors, including functional medicine pioneer Mark Hyman and founders from Thrive Market, Eight Sleep and Levels. 

Before starting the company, Means said he and Mares met with representatives from the White House and Capitol Hill to validate the compliance. 

For Means, TrueMed is also a way to pay homage to his mother, who recently died of a preventable disease tied to food, and to his physician sister, Casey Means, co-founder of Levels, who specializes in metabolic health.  

“This is widening HSA/FSA to items it doesn’t usually cover, and we’ve done a huge amount of engagement,” Means said. “Our insight is opening it up to a wider range of health and wellness products through the telehealth integration.”

Unlocking the dollars

Means calls these types of savings accounts “a really powerful instrument” and estimates there is about $140 billion sitting in these accounts, mostly going unused. Earlier this year, the IRS increased the amount you can contribute to health savings accounts to $4,150 for an individual and $8,300 for a family.

So how do you unlock that? TrueMed’s business model is to partner with health and wellness brands. It is the only approved Shopify payment integration, according to Means. Once approved, TrueMed integrates with the merchant’s checkout systems. 

Consumers who choose to pay by that method will be asked a couple of health questions after inputting the HSA/FSA information. TrueMed then goes to a provider asynchronously who issues a letter of medical necessity, if appropriate.

“You’re basically doing a healthcare intake, similar to a credit intake, and are able to pay right into payment flow with your HSA/FSA funds,” Means said. “That’s the key that we’re doing. We’re adding a telehealth component into the payment flow for leading health and wellness brands and widening HSA/FSA to items it doesn’t usually cover.”

Up next, the company will continue adding merchants to its customer base as it works to steer money toward consumers adopting healthier habits. As the fourth quarter approaches, Means said some 80% of Americans qualify for a HSA or FSA and will be choosing their contributions.

He will be among them, telling TechCrunch that for the first time, his family maxed out their HSA and will be using it to purchase things to keep himself, Voorhees and their child healthy.

“We want people to start seeing their HSA and FSA accounts as tools to direct them to items for staying healthy,” Means said. “Our message is that food and exercise is medicine and can be prescribed.



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A Star That Exploded 40 Years Ago Is Breaking The Rules, Scientists Call It A Treasure

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Astronomers are studying a white dwarf star and it is behaving strangely. It is part of a nova system HM Sagittae (HM Sge) that includes the white dwarf and its red giant companion.

A nova event is defined as a brief explosion which causes a blinding flash and sends the accumulating material into outer space.

Using data from the Hubble telescope and the retired SOFIA observatory, scientists have found some baffling characteristics of this binary star system.

Since its explosion about 40 years ago, HM Sge, which lies 3,400 light-years away in the constellation Sagitta, has grown 250 times brighter. Besides, it did not rapidly fade away as novae commonly do, but has maintained its luminosity for decades.

What’s more confusing is that although the system got hotter, it has paradoxically faded a little.

Hubble’s view of the symbiotic star system. Image: NASA

ALSO SEE: Scientists Spot Massive Asteroid Collision — In Another Solar System

Since HM Sge is a symbiotic star, the dust from the red star and gas of the white dwarf combine to form a blazing hot disk around the latter. This then results in a spontaneous thermonuclear explosion.

Another thing scientists noted was the system’s increase in temperature. According to Hubble’s ultraviolet data, the white dwarf and accretion disk increased from less than 4,00,000 degrees Fahrenheit in 1989 to greater than 450,000 degrees Fahrenheit today.

ALSO SEE: Hubble Telescope Captures Ancient Galaxy That Ate Its Companion 1.3 Billion Years Ago

“When I first saw the new data, I went – ‘wow this is what Hubble UV spectroscopy can do!’ – I mean it’s spectacular, really spectacular,” said Ravi Sankrit, astronomer at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI).

Steven Goldman of STScI, who also worked on the study, said that symbiotic stars in our galaxy are rare. “This unique event is a treasure for astrophysicists spanning decades,” he said. The above findings are expected to provide more insights into the physics and dynamics of stellar evolution in binary systems.

(Image: NASA)





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Aliens Could Be Living On Earth Disguised As Humans: Harvard Research

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A team of researchers from Harvard University has put forth the possibility of aliens, or “cryptoterrestrials,” covertly living among humans on Earth.

In their paper, which delves into the realm of “unidentified anomalous phenomena” (UAP), commonly known as UFOs and extraterrestrial beings, has sparked a wave of intrigue and speculation within the scientific community.

The study suggests that aliens could be residing underground, on the Moon, or even walking among us, disguised as ordinary humans. It further says that unidentified flying objects (UFOs) or unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) could be advanced spaceships visiting Earth-based alien friends or allies.

In their research, the experts have introduced the concept of “cryptoterrestrials” – beings that may have originated from Earth’s future, descended from intelligent dinosaurs, or even be remnants of an ancient, technologically advanced human civilization that largely perished long ago.

Admitting that their theories will be regarded skeptically by most scientists, the researchers urged the scientific community to consider their claim “in a spirit of epistemic humility and openness.” Notably, the paper has not been peer-reviewed.

ALSO SEE: Is Artificial Intelligence Keeping Us From Contacting Aliens? New Study Suggests So

Aliens could be around us in four forms: Scientists

According to the researchers, cryptoterrestrials can come in four forms. The first is human cryptoterrestrials that are technologically advanced ancient human civilisation that continue to exist in remnant form after being destroyed long ago.

Second is Hominid or Theropod Cryptoterrestrials i.e. a technologically advanced non-human civilization consisting of some terrestrial animal which evolved a stealthy way to exist.

ALSO SEE: ‘We Are Probably Alone’: Elon Musk Gets Candid On Aliens And Colonising Mars ‘Before World War 3’

Third is former Extraterrestrial or Extratempestrial Cryptoterrestrials – beings that arrived on Earth from elsewhere in the cosmos or from the future and concealed themselves, maybe on the Moon.

And fourth, the scientists said, are entities that are less like homegrown aliens and more like “earthbound angels.”



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Are ISS Astronauts In Trouble? NASA Clarifies After It Accidentally Airs Audio Causing Panic

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NASA, on June 13, clarified that the medical emergency audio streamed online earlier today was nothing serious. The agency said that the accidentally aired audio of a space station crew member experiencing decompression sickness was part of a medical drill.

In a post on X, NASA assured that there is no emergency situation going on aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

“This audio was inadvertently misrouted from an ongoing simulation where crew members and ground teams train for various scenarios in space and is not related to a real emergency,” it said. “The International Space Station crew members were in their sleep period at the time.”

The audio in question was reportedly of a flight surgeon at SpaceX’s mission control centre in Hawthorne, California. Panic ensued when she was heard directing a crew member to ensure ample oxygen supply and checking the pulse of the patient.

ALSO SEE: NASA Astronauts To Look For Microbes Outside ISS In Next Spacewalk; Watch Live On June 13

After NASA’s statement, SpaceX also issued a clarification saying, “This was only a test. The crew training in Hawthorne is safe and healthy as is the Dragon spacecraft docked to the space station.”

There are currently nine astronauts onboard the station including visitors Sunita Williams and Barry Wilmore – who are on Boeing’s debut crew test mission.

ALSO SEE: NASA To Soon Begin Training Of Indian Astronauts For ISS Mission 2024

(Image: NASA)





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