How Health Insurance Startups Are Changing Healthcare

Healthcare in America is an industry ripe for disruption. According to the World Health Organization, the United States ranks 37th in the world's health systems. This could be justifiable from purely a financial perspective if the government spent little or no money on this problem and left it completely to the private sector. Not an ideal scenario for most people but not an outlandish idea in a capitalist society.

The most glaring problem with American healthcare is that spending is not the problem. The US spends more than any other country in healthcare every year, 17% of GDP. France which ranks #1 in the World Health Systems rankings spends 11%, #2 ranked Italy spends 9%.

Things are changing thanks to some of the best healthcare startups in the world, all of them are in the US and are helping solve our most complicated problems. These insurance companies are streamlining the process and making things much easier for customers that are the most in need of coverage. Independent contractors, freelancers, startups, small businesses and seniors. Most of the money wasted in our health insurance programs run by the government are for people without full-time jobs and traditional coverage from employers of mid-sized and large corporations. Now that the American workforce is moving away from these traditional employers more and more every year the need for innovative and easy to use solutions are increasing.

Oscar Health Insurance is leading the way with an easy to navigate website, a fantastic mobile app and outstanding customer service. Another helpful benefit of Oscar is that members can see a snapshot of their medical history, including prescriptions and doctors. Launched in 2013, Oscar Health Insurance is already one of the largest healthcare startups in the world. Though still in its infancy, Oscar calculates it represents approximately 15 percent of the marketplace for individual health insurance in New York.

Many big insurance companies offer "wellness discount programs," but they are usually hard to find and difficult to implement. Oscar excels at offering programs that help members stay fit and making everything easy to find. Preventive healthcare is the biggest emerging trend in healthcare and Oscar is excelling in this field. 

As an added benefit of being a member of Oscar Health Insurance, all members receive a free fitness tracker. Traditional health insurance and medicine in the west is way behind eastern medicine that focuses more on preventive healthcare rather than waiting for something to go wrong and prescribe pills or surgery. Oscar is leading the way in not only making health insurance easy to navigate online but also in preventive medicine, a trend that should continue to grow rapidly. 

Oscar is trying to make healthcare easy for users to navigate through their coverage online. They currently have 45 engineers that are working on and improving the platform. Oscar takes a user-friendly approach to health insurance, with a focus on improving the user experience in an industry that is notoriously complex and difficult to navigate. To receive a quote users simply enter five pieces of information. 

Unlike traditional insurance companies that focus on signing up customers through employers, Oscar focuses on signing up individuals. Something that could pay off in our new remote workforce. Freelancers and independent workers are growing exponentially with 40% of the workforce expected to work remotely by 2020. With this new workforce online and not signing up through traditional employers, Oscar is poised to be the leader in insurance for remote workers and millennials. 

Stride Health is another healthcare startup that is taking a technological approach to making registering for and managing your healthcare online much easier, especially for independent contractors. Stride has taken an aggressive approach to helping independent contractors find health coverage and insurance in the sharing economy for companies like Uber, Lyft, TaskRabbit, PostMates, AirBnB, Etsy & Freelancer, to name a few. Stride has also partnered with over fifty thousand pharmacies to help customers find the most affordable prescriptions in their area.

Using Stride is free and they make sure you don’t get exposed to hidden costs from carriers. When you shop for coverage or need care, they let you know what you can expect to spend before you ever see a doctor. They compare 38 factors, including your prescriptions and your doctors, to help you find the perfect health plan. 

Beam, an Ohio base startup that launched in 2012 is tackling a different and often overlooked niche in healthcare, dental insurance. Beam is differentiating themselves from traditional insurers by offering orthodontia as part of their coverage while keeping the policies between 10% to 25% less expensive than dental insurance from other providers. 

Beam's target clients are small businesses that do not receive any special benefits from signing with a large dental provider. They have a nationwide network of over a hundred thousand dentists so far. Coverage covers everything you expect from traditional dental insurance like cleanings and X-rays. Beam's coverage also includes an electronic toothbrush for all clients and reduced rates for members that schedule checkups twice a year with their dentist. Replacement heads, batteries, toothpaste, and floss are shipped to your door every three months for free, just as your dentist recommends. 

In January Beam announced a partnership with Stride Health. Together, Beam and Stride aim to improve access to affordable dental insurance for the self-employed and independent contractors across the US.

Clover Health is a San Francisco based startup trying to help a group of consumers that you don't associate with being tech savvy. Clover Health uses data analysis and preventative care in trying to improve health insurance for seniors. Clover’s insurance falls under Medicare Advantage, a federal program for people 65 and older who have certain disabilities that let private insurance companies administer their coverage. The government subsidizes the premium and pays for the claims all administered by the private insurance companies. Clover Health identifies the most at-risk patients, and then its nurse practitioners visit patient’s homes and coordinate necessary tests that may be missing in the patient’s profile. Helping patients avoid hospitalization saves the company an average of $10,000 per patient.

Health Recovery Solutions in New York provides medical centers with a platform to reduce readmissions and take care of high-risk patients post discharge. They focus on changing patient behavior while ensuring compliance. Patients receive tablets preloaded with information specifically for their disease. The tablets are customized for patients with their medications, reminders, and educational content. The tablets are also monitored by clinicians and family members. Patients receive pertinent information about their disease. They receive educational videos with quizzes so patients can stay updated and knowledgeable about their well-being. Health Recovery Solutions has been clinically proven to help reduce hospital readmissions by an average of 80%.

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