Did you know that in most cities, there are over 1,000 combinations of Medicare plans for the 65+ crowd to choose from? For many seniors, and their children helping with the process, figuring out the best-fit plan is a real challenge and may make the government-provided healthcare option seem like more of a hindrance than a boon.
Medicare Pathfinder wants to simplify that choice. Their platform will walk those looking for Medicare coverage through a simple survey to match them to the most cost-effective, optimal plan. The company, a member of the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) portfolio, recently landed a $175,000 seed round of funding to launch their platform, go to market, and develop the product. This brings the startup’s total outside funding to just under half a million dollars.
The seed round was led by Central Piedmont Investment Group, an angel fund based in Georgia. Scott Cadora, the company’s founder and a previous EdTech entrepreneur, says they chose the angel group to partner with because the group is made up of entrepreneurs with experience building companies.
Cadora had experience with the insurance and senior citizen markets, but it wasn’t until he began helping his grandmother figure out her own Medicare choices that he realized what a challenge the current system presented. Between the countless plan combinations and a poor marketing and communications infrastructure, it can take hours to decide — Cadora says, on average, it takes a Medicare rep 3-6 hours to close one deal.
Moreover, most seniors simply rely on word of mouth from their friends and don’t build an optimized, personalized plan, which ends up costing them hundreds of dollars a year. Added up over the rest of their lifetime and that wasted cost can easily become thousands.
Along with a team of technology veterans from companies like Apple and Intel, Cadora set out to build a platform that would use data to identify the best plan for each person’s specific needs — their current prescriptions, pre-existing conditions, and desired price point.
But because of the complexity of Medicare, along with regulation compliance, it didn’t happen quickly.
“I spent three years researching the market and experimenting with potential solutions and MVPs. It also took time to find the right team with the skills to solve some of the really complex data science problems,” says Cadora.
The team has continued to be very intentional about the product, focusing heavily on security, user protection, and market fit.
“So the joke is that we’re the slowest fast moving startup at ATDC. But with Medicare, you have to be diligent and deliberate. We’re dealing with Grandma’s healthcare so we have to get it right every time,” says Cadora.
They also determined whom their customers are — and what won’t be for sale. The service is free for consumers. For insurance agencies, a monthly SaaS fee allows them to use the platform to market and sell to seniors, and save costs by cutting down on the expensive print mailers and brochures they currently use. They also charge insurers and providers for analytical insights to improve their delivery of care services.
But, Cadora says they do not and will not sell the data they collect from seniors.
And according to tests thus far, the product works — the survey takes about 5 minutes on average on the user side. It takes a bit more time for the insurance rep (about an hour), but still significantly less than the current status quo.
The pilot product will launch this month and they plan to use the seed funds to go to market in early 2018.