Political reforms in the U.S. have drastically changed the healthcare landscape, resulting in insurance plans and coverage even more puzzling and hard to navigate. Higher premiums and deductibles, increased out-of-pocket expenses, and thinner networks have shifted the cost burden to the consumer, making it hard to control their annual healthcare expenses.
There has been a lot of effort to make the health insurance process simple and convenient. Healthjoy is one such company which has come up with an idea to help us make better healthcare decisions.
HealthJoy is on a mission to help people make better healthcare decisions through technology and trustworthy customer service.
I had an opportunity to talk to the team at Healthjoy and learn more about their startup journey.
When was the company founded and who are the co-founders?
The company was founded in 2014 with the leadership of Justin Holland and Doug Morse.
Justin Holland – CEO and Co-Founder
Justin is responsible for the overall company vision, as well as leading the company’s technology and product development. He is a serial entrepreneur with three successful exits. Prior to starting HealthJoy, Justin founded OpenInstall, which was sold to AVG; FreeCause, which was sold to Rakuten; and Social Suitcase, sold to TrafficMarketplace.
Doug Morse-Schindler – President and Co-Founder
Doug leads the overall sales and growth strategy for HealthJoy. In this role, he is responsible for identifying and building partnerships that expand the Company’s footprint in terms of distribution and product. Prior to starting HealthJoy, Doug was a founding member of OpenInstall, where he ran the operations and finance team and was instrumental in the Company’s sale to AVG Technologies. He previously worked as an investment banker in the Mergers & Acquisitions Group with Raymond James where he advised public and private clients on over 50 sell-side and buy-side transactions.
What is HealthJoy all about?
At HealthJoy, our mission is simple. We’re helping people make smarter healthcare decisions. We combine a wide variety of technologies and services including our human-supported virtual healthcare assistant, JOY, to educate our users on their healthcare options and help them save both time and money on care. Our app uses a simple to use messaging interface to enable our members to ask any question that’s either healthcare or insurance related.
Employers can provide our service to their employees for only $9.99 a month and have unlimited free access to:
- Online Doctor Consultations (telemedicine)
- Healthcare Concierge Help
- Rx Savings (medication protocol optimization based on insurance formulator)
- Medical Bill Review
- Health Questions
- Digital Prescription Savings Card
- Proactive Virtual Assistant – JOY our AI chat-bot
- Includes employee and family members
How has the response been so far?
Over the past two years, we’ve sold our product to individuals and families who are buying an ACA health plan through an exchange or broker and have over 22,000 members. This month we launched “HealthJoy for Groups”, a product tailored to the needs of employers and their employees. Our product is being offered at an introductory price of only $9.99 per employee per month. The response to our roll-out has been outstanding and we have been on-boarding clients as fast as possible. Our product and service can help both self-insured and fully-insured groups reduce the cost of healthcare for their organization.
What is your reach in Asia and other parts of the world?
Presently we are offering our service only in the USA but the company was founded with the mission to be able to help people around the world. In time, we plan on on using our AI chat-bot technologies in other markets. One thing that’s surprised us is level of interest by Asian companies to offer our service to their executives that travel to the US. It wasn’t something we initially pursued but understood, especially with the complexity of the US healthcare system. A simple emergency room visit can cost someone $1,200 and many times can be avoided by an online doctor visit that can be conducted within 15 min from any hotel room.
What is the business/revenue model of the company?
Our revenue model is simple – the employer sponsors the plan on a per employee per month basis. We are only charging $9.99 a month right now with our initial release.
For individuals, we receive a monthly subscription fee that varies based on the product options.
What other streams of revenue do you foresee? What are the future plans for your company?
Our number one goal is to be the trusted source of healthcare information. We may collaborate (and share revenue) with trusted partners who can provide value-added products or services to our members in the future, but first and foremost, we are an advocate of our members.
In the future, we will continue to develop our AI technologies to provide a greater level of personalized service. We are developing JOY to be more proactive to help people live healthier lives and handle more requests that are presently handled by our healthcare concierge.
What are your achievements so far?
From a technical point of view, we’ve been able to build an easy to use app that uses a simple messaging interface to enable anyone quickly access doctors, healthcare experts and their health plan benefits. Behind this seemingly simple interface hides some incredibly complex technology like AI, neural networks, our custom CRM system, deep learning and more.
From a more personal perspective, we’ve been able to change people’s lives. We’ve had clients that have saved thousands every month from using our Rx Saving service. We’ve had tele-medicine calls that have saved people’s lives. We’ve challenged medical bills and won in cases where bankruptcy was a possibility we helped avoid. It’s been deeply gratifying that we’ve created a service helps people. Internally, the main metric we track is how much joy we bring to people’s lives.
Your thoughts on biotech and healthcare startups in India/Asia, in general:
It’s exciting to see the globalization in healthcare that’s happening around the world. Some of the startups in India and Asia are working on cutting edge projects to modernize healthcare. We are living in exciting times and look forward to the day where we can work together with some of these great startups.
Any advice for biotech/healthcare start-ups? How has your start-up journey been as a (co-)founder?
- Don’t wait to write down your values and think about your culture. Culture will drive your product, hires, and who you part with. Having those expectations set at the beginning will undoubtedly save you serious heartache, as healthcare in general is a much longer road than normal consumer startups.
- Effective and continual prioritization is one of the hardest things to do well, especially when the market is changing fast as is your understanding of your customers’ needs. Align your team towards clear objectives and prioritize those that will get you the most results. Waiting for that next killer feature in your MVP probably won’t be as killer as you thought and hit your primary objectives. Fail fast and often.
- Stay lean. Most likely you will either pick the wrong market or product initially, so make sure to conserve your cash until you start seeing a real product market fit. Good example is to build more prototypes in in vision before spending valuable development time creating solutions.
From the founders: This is my third startup and they are all a unique journey with their own challenges. HealthJoy is by far my most ambitious startup but also the one with the greatest rewards. Just seeing how we’ve changed some people’s lives makes all the long sleepless nights worth it.
Go ahead and give a try for 30 days free Healthjoy service and don’t forget to let us know what you think about HealthJoy!