The Zero Card Wants to Bring Free Healthcare to the US

By collaborating with businesses and healthcare providers, The Zero Card offers a supplemental programme that lowers employer costs while improving employee benefits.

13.12.2019 | by Reve Fisher
Photo by JAFAR AHMED on Unsplash
Photo by JAFAR AHMED on Unsplash

Healthcare in the United States is known for being exorbitantly more expensive than the rest of the developed world. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, health care spending reached $3.5 trillion in 2017— over $10,730 per person. Out-of-pocket spending—funds that were not covered by private or government-funded insurance—reached $365.5 billion the year before.

With high deductibles, out-of-network providers, uncovered expenses, PPOs/HMOs and lifetime limits to navigate through, it’s no surprise that 66.5 percent of all bankruptcies in the United States are related to medical issues.

The founders of The Zero Card, a HealthTech startup based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, wanted a better way. They built the company to create “the healthcare system we wanted and deserved” while also attempting to “[eliminate] everything that made it confusing, frustrating or just didn’t make sense.”

Many US residents receive health insurance through their employers. The Zero Card is a supplemental programme that works with self-funded health plans and helps employers, employees and their families save money. Self-funded employers lower their costs for healthcare procedures such as surgeries, diagnostic imaging, labs and generic prescriptions by up to fifty percent—while their employees pay nothing out of pocket.

First, employees or their family members go to a doctor to determine what services or procedures they need. Then, they call a call or email a “personal health assistant” to find out if and where the service is covered by The Zero Card. After that, the company sends the referral to the desired provider, even helping with scheduling and transferring medical records.

Everything covered by The Zero Card offers a final cost of zero dollars to the patient.

The company uses “bundled case-rates” to lock in fair market prices and generate savings for both the plan and plan members. Using the marketplace approach, The Zero Card can match plan members with the healthcare practitioners based on cost, quality and convenience.

Employers only need to pay a transaction fee once an employee uses The Zero Card.

“Knowing the true cost of care opens the employer to a new world of market opportunities to lower costs while providing an outstanding new benefit to employees and dependents,” said James Millaway, co-founder and CEO of The Zero Card, in a blog post. “Employers can harness the new energy among providers to offer bundled services and now have the information to make real market-based decisions. Our data and outcome focused methodology is the foundation for a platform to ensure efficiencies, cost savings, and better outcomes.”

In May, The Zero Card won the 2019 Health Value Award for Healthcare Analytics Platform from the Validation Institute.

“We are excited to see the exciting progress at The Zero Card,” said RD Whitney, CEO of Validation Institute. “Their approach and platform creates a fresh and innovative perspective on health care activities. At Validation Institute, we celebrate all companies who have made it their mission to provide better health outcomes at lower cost.”

The company has recently raised $7 million in Series A funding in a round led by the George Kaiser Family Foundation with participation from Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund. The Zero Card plans to use the funds to expand to new geographic markets and grow their team.

“The Zero Card has had early success in using real data to analyze, interpret, and deliver a better healthcare product from to its employer customers and their plan members,” said Robert Thomas, chief investment officer of the George Kaiser Family Foundation. “Watching their early success makes it clear that employers are ready to implement new and innovative solutions to reduce their healthcare costs.”

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