- UnitedHealthcare's former CEO Bob Sheehy, is launching a new health insurance startup -- Bright Health.
- The Minneapolis company, whose roster includes former Redbrick Health CEO Kyle Rolfing, has raised $80 million in Series A funding for a national health insurance offering for individuals. The round was led by Bessemer Ventures and New Enterprise Associates.
- The company, like Oscar Health, is betting that digital health and being a young company will be advantageous in establishing an insurance business, according to MedCity News.
The company is aiming to be in its first market for the 2017 plan year via public and private health exchanges as well as brokers. Partnerships with providers and Medicare Advantage plans will happen later in 2018.
The company's website is now live and it currently employs 25 people but plans to increase staff with the recent funding.
"We are realigning the broken payer-provider relationship, focusing on the consumer and reimagining how technology can simplify the healthcare experience from beginning-to-end. Making that happen and starting a new health plan is no small feat, but we're confident we have the right team and model to create real and necessary change," Bob Sheehy, co-founder and CEO said in a press release.
While the team plans on suiting up with digital health and the nimbleness that comes with being a young company, entering the payer market is not as easy as it can look. Experts suggest the climate is a tough one for new health insurers. With megamergers moving toward regulatory approval at a glacial pace, the implications to the market at large are still yet to be seen.
However, Bright Health does have one thing that the failing ACA co-ops did not have: Money. “Many of the co-ops that entered the exchanges are failing because they did not have the financial reserves to get through multiple years of losses and the government is not providing the financial support that was promised,” Ross Armstrong, healthcare expert at Kurt Salmon, told Healthcare Dive last month.