Healthcare is at a tipping point. Amidst a myriad of regulations, pharmaceutical pricing policies, insurance premiums and co-payments, and varying care models, navigating affordable healthcare is a significant challenge for the average patient.
This is the exact problem that Sesame, an online healthcare marketplace, is trying to solve. The company’s concept is simple, yet revolutionary: “Access convenient, high-quality, full-scope medical care at affordable self-pay prices – without insurance.” The online platform has essentially created a marketplace where patients can find the specialist that they need and pay a direct fee to receive their consultation or care. There are a wide variety of specialties and services the site lists, including but not limited to: urgent care, mental health, dermatology, women’s health, pediatrics, sexual health, and many more. Patients can also use the service for something as straightforward as a medication refill.
The company’s goal is to save its consumers a significant amount of money through this model. David Goldhill, co-founder and CEO of the company explains: “The same high quality care from the same world-class physicians at a fraction of the typical price; this is the radical innovation that is Sesame […] By stripping out all the cost and complexity of insurance, physicians offer care on Sesame at prices that are roughly half of what is typical. The quality of our investors is a testament to the power of this innovation.”
Notably, the platform is especially well suited for those that are uninsured or under-insured. Through Sesame, patients can directly shop for the service they want within their budget, similar to shopping for any other product. The concept is essentially embracing free-market economics into the healthcare delivery model, allowing patients to be in full control.
Without a doubt, it is a bold step.
Notable industry titans are seeing promise in Sesame’s mission. Google Ventures led Sesame’s latest funding round, resulting in nearly $27 million in Series B funding. The Virgin Group is also investing in the startup, with hopes of expanding its own portfolio deeper into healthcare.
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Indeed, with these large players backing the startup, Sesame will certainly have support as it continues to expand, but will also have large shoes to fill in the days ahead. Nevertheless, if the company can indeed navigate a way to make healthcare both affordable and value-driven for patients, it stands to disrupt the industry for generations to come.