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Employee Benefits

What We Learned While Trying to Re-Invent Health Insurance

Den Bishop
Den Bishop
Senior Advisor

Holmes Murphy started a company called SimplePay Health a few years ago with the dream of re-inventing the health insurance financial transaction for both patients and providers. Patients would know exactly what they were going to owe for any service in advance of receiving the care and could finance their payments like a credit card on a monthly statement. Medical providers would receive 100 percent of their contracted rate for services provided and would no longer have to chase patients for payments.

On November 1, we sold the SimplePay Health business to Coupe Health, who was a business partner of SimplePay Health in Minnesota.

The SimplePay Health journey under Holmes Murphy had its share of highs and lows, but I believe there are a few lessons learned that can help all of us.

The Problems Are Still the Problems

Health insurance in the U.S. is the most complicated consumer experience in the world, we spend a larger share of our economy on healthcare than any other economically developed nation, health expenses are the most common element of personal bankruptcies, and the health outcomes in the U.S. are ranked at the bottom in spite of the money we spend. Health insurance is complicated, expensive, and does not result in great health outcomes. We can do better.

Status Quo Pays Well

As an insurance broker trying to positively re-invent the health insurance financial transaction, we had many “stay in your lane, bro” conversations with stakeholders who had a vested interest in perpetuating our opaque, broken health insurance financing system.

We are firmly planted back in our lane as a broker, but we will not stop fighting for a more transparent system that reduces administrative friction and affordably connects patients to high quality providers.

Connecting to Quality Works

The whole theory of SimplePay Health was that high quality healthcare providers actually cost less. The savings don’t necessarily come from low negotiated rates, but they come from fewer unnecessary tests and procedures, fewer errors, and fewer complications.

The measured improvement in the percentage of care that was delivered by top-tier providers and the resulting significant financial savings proved that in healthcare, high quality care actually costs less.

Not only did we prove that connecting with quality works, I’m also now a believer that the only thing that really makes a meaningful, measurable, and sustainable difference is connecting with quality.

Change Is Coming

Senator Bernie Sanders almost won the Democratic nomination and could have become President Bernie Sanders based on his singular platform of Medicare for All.

I believe the health economic factors are aligning for there to be high health insurance inflation rates in the next 12 to 24 months. New ideas, like SimplePay Health and Coupe Health, will find success as individuals and employers look for innovative solutions to some tired problems.

I wish nothing but the best to SimplePay Health and Coupe Health as they continue their journey to a health insurance system that works better for patients, doctors, and employers.

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