Health Insurance Plan You Won’t Hate? This is the mission of this company
Gravie is a 2021 Inc. Best in Business winner. With the second annual Best in Business, Inc. award recognizes companies that have made an exceptional impact on their industries, communities, the environment and society as a whole.
You are not alone if you don’t like your mutual. After all, the industry ranks third in Net Promoter Customer Satisfaction Scores, just above the monopoly Internet service and cable TV industries.
Marek Ciolko and Abir Sen saw all this discontent as an opportunity. In 2013, they co-founded Gravie, a healthcare benefits marketplace, with the goal of creating a user-friendly business that also offers great coverage.
Fast forward to 2021, and Ciolko and Sen are well on their way to completing this mission. Gravie, based in Minneapolis, allows employers to set budgets for their employees, who in turn can choose the plans that work best for them and their families. Last year, the company launched its piece de resistance, Comfort, a benefit plan that provides 100% coverage of common services – including primary care, specialist visits, lab work, l Imaging and generic prescriptions – at a cost comparable to most insurance plans, but without copayments or deductibles.
Co-CEOs Ciolko and Sen said they aimed to create the Comfort plan from Gravie’s early days. They sought to design a benefit package targeting generally healthy people, a population that tends not to get the most out of their health insurance plans.
âA lot of people are disappointed with their insurance coverage,â Ciolko says. “They don’t feel like they are getting anything for all the money they have spent because every time they have to use the health care system they are being asked for more money.”
Ciolko and Sen previously co-founded another healthcare company, Bloom Health, and sold it in 2012. The expertise gained through this experience has come in handy. Gravie’s team of healthcare professionals spent years developing the Comfort plan, which required serious, intimate, quantitative knowledge of a complex industry. In some cases, the team rewrote claims adjudication systems, which determine an insurance company’s liability for covering a medical bill, from scratch.
The result is a plan that so far has saved the average customer $ 100 per month in out-of-pocket expenses, according to Ciolko. Of course, it’s not for everyone. Those with high annual medical bills – and therefore prefer lower maximum amounts – will have high monthly premiums and will struggle to understand the calculations. But for relatively healthy people, it could be a game-changer.
“A $ 10,000 deductible almost feels like you have no benefit,” Ciolko explains. “These are real benefits that you can use from day one.”
Between the Comfort plan and Gravie’s insurance market, the company has connected more than 100,000 people on employee benefits with 1,500 employers, including Indeed Brewing Company and professional services firm Pinnacle Services. Gravie benefits from $ 77 million in funding from investors such as GE Ventures, Split Rock Partners and AXA Venture Partners.
While the financial success of his business has been, well, the sauce, Ciolko says what makes him happiest is allowing people to make potentially life-saving preventive visits without worrying about the cost.
âPeople tell us all the time that being able to take care of their health in a way that doesn’t push them to the brink of bankruptcy has changed their lives,â he says. Indeed, it would be.
Clarification: An earlier version of this article identified co-founder Marek Ciolko as CEO. Abir Sen was recently appointed co-CEO, alongside Ciolko, and the article has been updated to reflect this change.
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Extract from the Winter 2021/2022 issue of Inc. Magazine