This Startup Helps Employees Get Better, Faster
Founded out of Harvard Business School, HealthWiz helps connect users with relevant specialists so they get better faster.
HealthWiz’s intuitive healthcare platform empowers users to make more informed healthcare decisions by aggregating the best existing healthcare information across symptoms, conditions, doctors, and costs. HealthWiz leverages this information to understand a user’s symptoms and connect them directly with relevant physicians within their insurance provider network. By engaging employees, providing a clearer path to action, and helping patients identify the right physicians for them at the onset of symptoms, HealthWiz decreases superfluous healthcare expenses and helps people get better faster.
A user experiencing symptoms can quickly understand what is wrong and book an appointment with a relevant doctor, avoiding unnecessary appointments and more effectively addressing the issue at first-appointment.
HealthWiz works directly with self-insured medium-size employers who can include HealthWiz subscriptions as part of their benefits packages. “Self-insured” or “self-funded” employers refers to those businesses that operate their own health plans, as opposed to purchasing a complete plan from an insurer.
For employees, this distinction is trivial. Under both plans, their employer deducts a monthly premium from their paycheck and they receive a standard insurance card from United Health Care, Blue Cross Blue Shield, or whatever insurance provider their company works with.
For employers, however, the distinction comes with huge financial considerations. Self-funding can be up to 12% cheaper, but it comes with increased risk. Rather than paying premiums to the insurer on a monthly basis, the employer holds onto these premiums and then is billed for all healthcare costs accrued by their employees that year. If these claims exceed the premiums they collected, the employer picks up the tab. Employers try to match monthly premiums and total claims filed, accordingly.
HealthWiz mitigates some of the financial risk of self-insuring by decreasing one of the biggest variable costs: employee insurance claims. HealthWiz is able to engage employees at early on-set of symptoms and guide them to the right physician faster, helping treat conditions before they get overly complicated and costly. Furthermore, by minimizing unnecessary appointments and the costs associated with them, HealthWiz decreases unnecessary claims billed to the self-insured employer.
Self-insurance plans have been popular amongst large employers for some time with 56% of companies with 200–999 employees and 82 percent of companies with 1,000–4,999 employees self-insured. These plans are on the rise among small and mid-sized companies: Between 2013 and 2015, the percentage of companies with 100–499 employees offering self-insurance plans increased increased from 25 to 30 percent.
The idea for HealthWiz evolved from Maslak’s personal frustration with a fragmented and inefficient healthcare system. A few years ago, his mother was experiencing bad knee pain, so she went to her doctor to have it checked out. Her doctor referred her to another who referred her to another, yet none of them actually specialized in knees. Six months and over a thousand dollars later, she still hadn’t received proper care.
When Maslak shared this story with HBS classmate Fox last Spring, it really resonated with him. He too had watched family members struggle to navigate the healthcare system. So the two set out to fix it.
Maslak and Fox have relevant data, enterprise sales, and healthcare backgrounds. Before business school, Fox worked as a product marketing manager at Microsoft where he built models to help allocate company investments into applications and as an analytics software engineer at Unified, where he built business intelligence tools that helped secure Fortune 500 clients. Maslak was a senior manager in the identity graph business at Datalogix and was a consultant at McKinsey focused on healthcare services.
Healthwiz is currently in a private alpha and is recruiting midsize employers in the Boston area to participate in their pilot. If you’re an employer looking to try out the product, please sign up here.
Welcome to the Rough Draft family, HealthWiz!
Stay tuned for updates!