Leadership: Eric Haberichter, CEO. He also co-founded Mequon-based SmartChoice MRI.
Address: 105 W. Michigan St., Milwaukee
What it does: Bundled health care pricing
Number of employees: 40, including 18 hired this year
Next goals: Add at least 10 more employees by year-end; bring on more distributors.
Funding: Closed on a $3.5 million series A round on June 19.
Midwestern rustbelt states are Access HealthNet’s bread and butter.
The startup coordinates between payers and providers to bundle health care services and offer each for a predetermined flat fee. It’s a rapidly growing solution in an age of escalating health care costs and complex reimbursement structures.
Since competition is low, health care services tend to be more expensive in the middle of the country. But the uninsured population is smaller, so providers are able to bring down their prices, said Eric Haberichter, the company’s co-founder and chief executive officer.
“A lot of folks have been talking about outcomes-based payment,” he said, but in managing a chronic disease like diabetes, for example, so much is out of the doctor’s control.
“In our case, the provider names their own price. We tell them what has to be in the bundle,” Haberichter said.
Access HealthNet recently moved into its fourth office location since it was founded in 2014. The company has hired 18 employees in 2017, with plans to add at least 10 more by the end of the year.
It has signed on more than 4,000 health care provider locations and priced out more than 1,200 health care bundles. A bundle includes all the services in one health care event, such as a knee surgery.
Now, the company has zeroed in on distributors, recruiting brokers and third-party plan administrators to more effectively bring on self-funded employers. It has 13 distributors on board, mostly in the Milwaukee area.
And it’s got the capital to fund its expansion: Access HealthNet closed on a $3.5 million series A round on June 19. The company had no investors for the first two-and-a-half years in business, subsisting “painfully” on $300,000 in seed money from the founding members, Haberichter, Leslie Kolowith and James Kolb.
Haberichter is familiar with flat-fee medical services—he co-founded Mequon-based SmartChoice MRI, which offers outpatient MRIs for $600 or less.
“It became apparent that there was a need for this and self-funded employers wanted to have this direct contract,” he said.
And for the patient, health care reimbursements are confusing and costs are unpredictable.
Access HealthNet allows employers to provide a financial incentive to the employee to choose the lowest priced quality provider for a particular service, and offers transparency in pricing before the procedure for both the employer and employee. The provider is able to offer a lower price because it is guaranteed a set payment.
“Simplicity is what really drives consumers,” Haberichter said. “If it was any other business, I think we would call (the traditional reimbursement process) criminal.”