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Why Dark covers 100% of employee and dependent healthcare

Ellen Chisa
Aug 13, 2018 · 4 min read

Usually this works, but sometimes we’re deeply wrong.

Last year, my first priority was getting us health insurance. I hadn’t picked a health insurance plan before, so I went with some internet research and asking friends. The insurance advice I got repeatedly was “startups don’t need good health insurance.” The rational was always very similar to this very common view:

Startups don’t prioritize spending money on creating companies and policies that allow for a diverse workforce.

Core Beliefs

One of our core values is to be collaborative, and that includes the acknowledgment that we’re people, not work automatons. We’re not all 23 and healthy. We have families, and different levels of ability.

Cost Evaluation

Our philosophical beliefs are well and good, but it’s also important to contextualize this choice within our startup budget.

  • Relocation. We’ve always happily said that we’ll relocate good candidates. I’ve moved across the country several times, and that can easily run $10,000. If health insurance for 1–2 dependents closes a local candidate, that’s worth it.
  • Technology. We’ll happily spend $3,000 on a laptop (and and other peripherals people need to be productive). We’d get someone a second computer if they had a difficulty carrying theirs to and from work every day. That could be six months of dependent health insurance.
  • Free food (or booze). It’s extremely common for startups in the Valley to give “free lunch” as a benefit… or free breakfast, or free dinner, or all three. Having worked outside the valley for my entire career, I can assure you that the piece of mind that comes with insurance is way better than not having to pack a lunch.

From now on, Dark will provide full healthcare coverage for employees and their dependents.

Want to work at an early stage startup that prioritizes spending on health coverage for employees? We’re hiring.


Updates on and from Dark —

Ellen Chisa

Written by

CEO & Co-founder of



Updates on and from Dark —