Health costs are out of control.It’s killing America.Source: Consumer Reports
The problem• No one knows health costs in advance• Prices for same procedure vary 10x inthe same locale• Increasingly costs are paid directly by thepatient-consumer (but the patient-consumer still doesn’t know costs)• It’s a $2.7 trillion industry, and it’scompletely opaque.
Examples from our reporting• An MRI: $350 or $2,300?• A CBC blood test: $16 or $117?• A walk-in clinic visit: $88 or $500?• A mammogram: $50 or $869?• (Yes, these are all real.)
Our Solution• We’re building the best online source forhealth-care prices.• Tools: Reporting. Sourcing and curation ofdatabases. Crowdsourcing (lets people easilyshare the price of health care). Partnering.• It’s the last big opaque marketplace. It’s ripefor disruption.
Markets seek transparency• Airline ticket sales, real estate, car sales – allchanged with transparency• Insurance companies are devisingtransparency tools, but their business thriveson consumer opacity• Health Savings Accounts (you spend less, youkeep more)• Now suddenly: Obamacare is here, and peopleare horrified about the prices.
The customer• Women: They make most health-care decisions• High-deductible insureds (15 million and growing fast)• Uninsured (51 million) including 20- and 30-somethings, creative classes• People who are insured, but with high copays• People facing rising out-of-pocket costs—risingnumber of self-insured employers choosing lessexpensive plans (putting more of the costs onemployees)• People going out of network, out of pocket• People wanting to be informed about costs
Our sweet spotWomen in their 20’s and 30’s. Many are uninsured,and they use health care for reproductivematters, while their male peers do not.These women are upset (about the price of theirbirth-control pills, among other things).They like to share. They’re social.They want to talk about this problem, and sharetheir solutions.They’re not enthusiastic about the valueproposition for health insurance.
Business model• Business to business: Licensing our information. Consulting,white-label products tailored to a business, union, tradegroup, nonprofit wanting to cut health spending.Repackaging our information by customer demand.• Business to consumer: Our own site: Sponsorships,advertising (results pages), premium listings, fromproviders wanting access to cash-paying customers. Walk-in clinics, big-box stores with generic drug plans, women’shealth clinics, other providers. Freemium subscription, e.g.$0.99 or $1.99 @ mo., autorenew. Events. Monetizingaudience with anonymized consumer info via online focusgroups.
The landscape• Regardless of the election, politics etc., themarketplace is talking: consumers will be payingmore for health care.• Many entities in the marketplace profit fromopacity and secrecy. But the Web doesn’t likeopacity and secrecy.• Obamacare is here. People are horrified aboutthe prices. Gradually….and then suddenly, priceswill become known. Consumers are starting tofeel empowered. We can facilitate that.
Where are we now?• $54k in grant funding (Tow-Knight Foundation,International Women’s Media Foundation, McCormickFoundation), modest ($75k) friends funding• Our reported price lists (10x price variations)• Our beta – and our Lessons Learned.• Just relaunched Web site in in a highly interactive way• New York demos are bringing market validation andattention (New York Tech Meetup demo) just as Timemagazine, the NYTimes, and others are newly noticingthe prices.
What’s next?• We’re raising a friends/family round in the next 8-12 months• Collecting more data (new cities: NYC, SF, LA, etc.)• Staff up (1 business person, 1 product person, ½ marketingperson)• Adding features as we iterate• Choosing partners carefully (2 news organizations want tolicense our data, one state government, 3 patient groups, oneconsumer-serving nonprofit, one union have expressedinterest)• Advertising/sponsorships in the making
National Strategy• In talks with two big news groups; other intros intrain• Adding data sets in cities/locales as businessopportunities drive up.• We’re seeing deep interest in custom pricing surveys.• We’re mobile as a mobile web site, not an app—and37 percent of our traffic is mobile.• Our crowdsourcing experience with our local NPRaffiliate was a huge success; 400 shares.
Our relaunch ….In progress, as we add newfeatures!
Props for CHC--“Phenomenal!... Jeanne is pioneering what I like to call the ‘Travelocity of health services’ field.” –Todd Park, CTO of US (ex-CTO, Health & Human Services)--The “most impressive presentation of the night came from Jeanne Pinder, the founder and CEO ofclearhealthcosts, a startup dedicted to increasing the transparency of the healthcare industry.” –Betabeat, The New York Observer, 8-22-12--Our crowd-sourced birth control pill price lists and maps featured on the Rachel Maddow blog--”great set of demos at #NYTM: @chcosts @Docracy@brewsterapp @divide @ConditionOneespecially” (esther dyson tweeted us!)--”This is one of the most useful websites I have seen in years. Great job @chcosts. #NYTMow.ly/dDNi6”--"ClearHealthCosts is using the wisdom of the crowds to shine a light into the health industrys darkestcorners.“ – Mark Potts, co-founder, Washingtonpost.com and Internet entrepreneur– CHC “...has created the sort of transparency around health costs that the MA government has beenpromising for years -- and failing to deliver.... It is a model for what health care consumers aroundthe country need.” – Carey Goldberg, co-host WBUR’s CommonHealth blog--”It’s about time. Clear price information so we can make informed health care choices. We’ve beenneeding this for years.” --Robert Field, Professor of Law and Public Health, Drexel University--”Thanks to sites like ClearHealthCosts, price transparency is on the way…ClearHealthCosts will addgreat value.” – Dr. Neel Shah, founder, costsofcare.org, a Boston nonprofit working to expand thediscourse on health spending
The Team• Jeanne Pinder, founder and CEO, 25-year veteraneditor and reporter at The New York Times• Fred Lindberg, CTO role• Elizabeth Celms, Vish Persaud, Sherry Mazzocchi, LoisDeSocio, Abigail Kret, reporter-writer-researchers,other journalists on a freelance, as-needed basis• Jenn Schiffer, Web developer• Database development by our business associates atalliedstrategy.com and Revsquare.com• Joel Jennings, data sanitization engineer
Advisers• Jeff Jarvis, “What Would Google Do?”• Lee DeBoer, PropellerNYC early-stageadvisers• Carl Lavin, homepage honcho, CNN News(ex-NYT, ex-Forbes)• Stefanie Syman, head of businessdevelopment, atavist.com• Bill Richter, Richter Law Offices, SantaCruz startup lawyer