There has been little innovation in health insurance in two decades. Sadly, we all feel this—on a very personal level—because the consumer experience we are living with has been terrible. Unlike nearly every other consumer buying experience in our lives, we cannot see and compare our health care treatment options with prices side-by-side, in real-time.  

On top of that, the unaffordability of health care is killing us. Even people who get insurance through work are having a hard time affording care because of high deductibles—many of them avoid seeing a doctor or filling a prescription because of cost.

Employers haven’t been served well either. They want to offer quality benefits, but that’s become downright impossible without breaking the bank or doing it on the backs of employees. Narrow networks, higher premiums or increased deductibles don’t solve the problem of skyrocketing health expenditures.

It’s unacceptable that this is our reality in the year 2020, especially given that our health is one of the most important, basic human needs. Disruption is long overdue.

Bringing a Modern Consumer Experience to Health Insurance

Health insurance can and should work like the other useful services in our modern daily lives. We should have first dollar coverage and a marketplace-like experience where you have choice and cost clarity, so you can see and compare treatment options side-by-side. One where you can make care decisions that fit your individual needs in real-time—through an intuitive experience that is clear and flexible and personalized. All from the palm of your hand. Delivering this kind of experience required a complete redesign of health insurance.

In 2016, I asked a group of health care industry veterans to help me take on the challenge. We had seen many of the so-called disruptive insurance ideas coming out at that time—most of which stuck a modern tech stack on top of an antiquated health insurance chassis. Those iterations didn’t fix the root of the problem. We knew we needed to start from scratch—to fundamentally redesign health insurance to deliver a better, more personalized experience. That’s how Bind was born.

Tony Miller presenting to Bind employees

The Principles of Better Design

So, where do you start? We started by designing health insurance around how people actually use care. People really don’t look for doctors, hospitals and drugs—the things traditional health insurance is designed around. The way consumers actually think about health care is: I have a condition or a health need. Knee pain, for example. They want to know, what are the treatments that can help me solve my condition? And how can I most effectively source it from the care marketplace? We tapped into the rich data the health care industry has collected to create an infrastructure and experience through which people can easily find more effective and efficient methods to solve their health conditions. We call this a condition-first plan design.

Bind also got rid of fuzzy math and financial barriers like deductibles and coinsurance that are confusing and often prevent people from getting the care they need. Instead, we offer clear, upfront prices that are easy to understand and compare. Further, our prices are based on the belief that high-quality treatments and providers should cost less. Employers can improve health and attack waste by incenting employees to choose the treatments and providers that demonstrate better outcomes.

Finally, we believe health plans should be personalized to individual needs. With the right infrastructure and consumer engagement in better health care decision-making, employers can improve subsidization for things they know are important to their unique employee population. It enables the opportunity to improve access to mental health screenings, for example, or make the cost of childbirth more affordable. Behavior and treatment history can be used to take personalization to an even richer level. That would make it possible to lower an individual’s costs for treatments when clinical evidence suggests they’re effective for that person. We are building a future where a health plan can truly deliver a diverse and inclusive benefit—an experience that’s very hard to offer when plan design is one-size-fits-all.

Evidence That It’s Working

We recently released data that shows the Bind health plan outperforms industry benchmarks, provided by an industry-leading global consulting and actuarial firm. The total cost of Bind (employer and employee costs combined) was 23% lower than the average benchmark.  

The data also showed members choose less expensive sites of care, use surgical alternatives more often (like physical therapy) and are saving even as their families grow—cost per labor and delivery is 28% lower on a Bind plan than the benchmark. We also have a Net Promoter Score of 36, meaning our members would recommend the plan to their family and friends above the industry average of 19.

We’ve experienced rapid growth in plan sponsors and members. Our customers range from Fortune 500 companies, like Medtronic and Best Buy, to school districts and family-owned businesses with rural locations.  

We’ve been rapidly hiring to keep pace with the growth—bringing on more than 120 new employees since March. Bind now employs more than 350 people, and we are always looking for talented technologists and data specialists who are passionate about creating a better health insurance experience.  

Bind office

What Lies Ahead

We are really just getting started. We continue to enhance the Bind platform to further iterate the concept of personalization. We imagine a future where members and employers not only have an opportunity to eliminate waste and save money, but also have an opportunity to improve health.  

The more waste eliminated, the more money employers have available to reduce their employees’ cost-sharing burden and offer a richer benefit that can lead to improved health. For example, putting more subsidy into chronic and emergent conditions where care avoidance can often be dangerous and lead to higher costs down the road. More subsidy for early cancer treatment, maternity care, treatment of chronic conditions like diabetes, COPD, rheumatoid arthritis, and HIV—among others.  

Long-term, I believe we can change the trajectory of disease in the populations we serve. And I intend to see that vision through. I welcome every individual and every employer who believes that enough is enough, to join us as we push past the clench-teethed gridlock of status quo.