Healthcare costs are hitting Americans hard.
A growing number are on high-deductible plans that often leave them on the hook for covering thousands of dollars’ worth of healthcare before insurance kicks in. That can make everything from routine testing to prescriptions more expensive.
In response to that pressure, startups have cropped up that want to work more directly with those consumers of healthcare — you may have come across a Facebook or subway ad for some of them.
Business Insider recognized 11 of those companies as part of a recent list of 30 health-tech leaders under the age of 40 who are shaping the future of medicine.
Alphabetically, here’s our list of those healthcare leaders under 40 who are reaching consumers more directly, from finding new business strategies to treat conditions like erectile dysfunction to marketing tests that get people curious about their genetic or microbial makeup.
Nish Bhat, 30, and Othman Laraki, 39, are bringing cancer- and heart-condition-screening genetic tests to the masses.
Laraki and Bhat are two of the cofounders behind Color, a genetics testing company that wants to help people get a better sense of their genetic risk for cancer and heart conditions. The company, based in Burlingame, California, has raised $112 million.
Color’s tests range in price from $99 to $349, with the higher price offering a combination test designed to tell you about your risk for both hereditary heart conditions and cancer risk.
Bhat has been interested in biology since he was a child. “As a kid my favorite toys were not one but two different kinds of microscopes,” he said. Now a founding engineer at Color, Bhat is working to bring technology tools like software and automation to healthcare and biology.
Laraki, Color’s CEO, spent much of his career at Google and Twitter before starting Color. His background in tech has led him to think about making the experience of taking the tests easier, either through a lower price than other genetics tests or by working with employers to make it more accessible to their employees.
“Every bit of friction causes you to lose people,” Laraki said.
Julia Cheek, 34, is trying to make lab testing go the way of Tylenol.
Cheek, a Harvard Business School graduate who was working in strategy at the money-transfer company MoneyGram, hadn’t expected to start a healthcare company. “I couldn’t have imagined starting a company in this space,” she said.
But after paying thousands for lab testing while at MoneyGram, she started EverlyWell, an Austin, Texas-based company that sells at-home diagnostic tests for sexually transmitted diseases, fertility, and food sensitivity. The tests are run at traditional blood-testing labs. What’s different about the process is the price tag.
EverlyWell targets the growing group of people who are on high-deductible plans that often leave them on the hook for covering thousands of dollars’ worth of healthcare before their insurance kicks in. The three-year-old company has tests ranging in cost from $49 to $399 that patients can apply health savings accounts and flexible savings account dollars toward.
The idea is to have lab testing be as easy to access as acquiring an over-the-counter drug like Tylenol.
Nick Greenfield, 29, and Lilla Cosgrove, 27, are infiltrating the oral-healthcare space by providing low-cost clear aligners to people who don’t have to set foot into an orthodontist’s office.
Greenfield didn’t have braces growing up. As an adult he started learning about clear aligners that could straighten his teeth, but the price astounded him. So he created Candid with the goal of lowering costs and increasing access to oral health.
Cosgrove had been working in the Los Angeles and New York City startup scenes when a college friend introduced her to Greenfield. With a background in hospitality, Cosgrove hopped onboard as Candid’s head of product, working with the business and engineering teams to create and update products.
For $88 a month, Candid will ship clear aligners and impression kits directly to customers with remote diagnosis and treatment suggestion by an orthodontist. The company also opened its first Candid Studio in New York City, where it creates 3D models of customers’ teeth that can be used to make aligners. The company recently launched a mobile app that lets patients check in orthodontists to monitor their progress.
“Over 90% of our customers would never pay the average price for in-office clear aligners,” Greenfield said. “We’re definitely expanding the market for folks and helping them get access to something they couldn’t get before.”