It’s 1984 (not the Orwelian one, the real one) and my mom hears her name called - “Come on down, you’re the next contestant on the Price Is Right!” She’s shocked. She bounds down, crowd going wild, 80s eyeshadow on point, to the contestants’ podium where she’s greeted by a prime-career Bob Barker. He asks her to place a bid on a BBQ grill; she guesses: “$300, Bob!” Bells go off as she has named the exact price.
It’s a rare feat and a true story. She won a jacuzzi, since pawned, and a grill. Price Is Right and Bob Barker are a piece of Americana. Yet in a culture that has for decades rewarded legions of fans for knowing the exact prices of TVs and BBQs, we Americans haven’t the slightest clue what basic services in healthcare cost.
Could you imagine if my mom played the Price Is Right of healthcare? She would have shrugged, guessed a wild number, and waited 3-4 months to see that the price was actually wrong.
Healthcare prices have no fundamental reason to be so obscure.
Channeling a truly American instinct to shop, and a wealth of recent legislative goodwill towards healthcare price transparency, Turquoise is building for change.
We’re announcing our $5M seed fundraise led by Julie Yoo at a16z, with Bessemer Venture Partners, Box Group, and individual investors Henry Ward, Megan Callahan, Jonathan Bush, and NBA Champion Klay Thompson. We’re embarking on a journey hell bent on making it normal to know the price of healthcare in advance, just like Americans do daily while shopping in every other industry.
As we roll out a slew of products to support a transparent market, we’re calling all providers, purchasers, and job seekers who simply want to tell patients what things cost.
It’s 2021 - we can use tiny scissors to cut DNA, send convertibles to space, and my phone can tell me when I fall - but I’m flying blind on medical bills.
Why has price transparency been such a notoriously difficult nut to crack?
At a high level, the answer chain is simple: a lack of legislative support until now, which permitted upside down economic incentives, which led to a lack of price competition and demand for transparency, which prevented the evolution and adoption of industry standard technology to support normal economic behavior.
Digging deeper, the upstream barriers are more nuanced as they’ve become entrenched over time:
- Pricing data is siloed and still mostly secret (but not for long due to new laws)
- The algebra behind calculating the cost of care is overly complex on both the rate negotiation and benefits side
- Providers and payers lack the common technology to interface with one another and clean this all up
At Turquoise, we’re focused on solving the problem for patients by addressing the root causes upstream. Here’s what we’re brewing up.
Free the Data: Self-Service market rates
The 1/1/21 hospital price transparency disclosure flooded the industry with never-before-seen hospital rates data. We’ve meticulously pieced together over 175M rate records and surfaced them in our Hospital Rates Database (for engineers) and Provider Rate Search (for analysts) products. By lowering the barrier to market intelligence, we invite healthy competition. We expect to see economic pressure where providers and payers compete on value, not one who has the best negotiating team.
We plan to supplement the database with forthcoming payer data rolling out in 2022, which includes “all items and services for all providers” - that’s a lot!
Negotiate and manage your rates
When we present you with juicy new market data, what do you want to do with it? Act!
Rate negotiations currently drag on for months and years. In a newly competitive, transparent market, the slowpokes will be left behind by supply and demand. Market agility will aid savvy payers and providers.
As such, we’ll be launching our Clear Contracts platform later this summer meant to enable brokerage of transparency-friendly, easy to adjudicate, market-based contracts. Providers on one side, purchasers on the other, and plenty of data in between. We’ll be starting with single case agreements, retrospective out-of-network agreements (looking at you, No Surprises Act), and simple group health contracts. Our goal is to lower the barrier to entry for intelligent managed care.
Simplified transaction and shopping experience
By cleaning the upstream transaction, patients win. Here are the ways we plan to get clean pricing data in front of patients:
- Turquoise.health - we’ll reward transparent providers with Turquoise Verified Status (for free) to let patients know that providers will stand by the rates posted
- Turquoise API - We know that plenty of folks already get in front of patients: EHRs, shopping platforms, care navigation apps. Ping the Turquoise API and expand the universe of available quality, affordable care.
- White label storefront - most providers aren’t equipped for the retailization of their services. With our engineering team of former Groupon and Stripe engineers, we’ll help providers get their branded storefront in front of patients (powered by the same infrastructure that runs turquoise.health)
Where is this all headed?
Our vision is a country with fully informed, empowered consumers of healthcare. We want to reward providers and payers along the way who recognize the virtue of savvy patients who weigh price in their care decisions. (Rewards include: prompt payment, simplified billing and adjudication, happy patients).
It’s time to get building.
To follow along our journey, reach out to us in the following ways:
Apply to work at our careers page.
Find out more by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org