NEW YORK, April 3, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Kindbody, a new women's healthcare company, announces a new program to enable self-insured employers to purchase fertility benefits direct. The founder of Kindbody, Gina Bartasi, previously launched a similar program at Progyny, which allowed self-insured employers to provide a fertility carve-out benefit through a value-based, bundled solution. Progyny, a third-party benefits vendor, has contracted with the largest network of providers in the country and supplies fertility coverage for almost 20% of the top Fortune 500 companies.
The difference now is that Bartasi is actually in the provider business with best-in-class fertility specialists including Kindbody's Chief Medical Officer, REI, Dr. Lynn Westphal, who joined the company earlier this year after more than two decades at Stanford University School of Medicine. Kindbody's founding team is a who's who of best-in-class clinicians and technologists including Dr. Fahimeh Sasan from Mount Sinai, Joanne Schneider from Flatiron Health and Google, Shilpa Patel from Quartet and Oscar, Rebecca Silver from genetics company Genepeeks, and world-recognized leaders in embryology services including Dr. Tim Smith, High-Complexity Lab Director, and Dr. Jacques Cohen, who serves as senior advisor to the Company.
As last week's Harvard Business Review cover story, "How Employers are Fixing Healthcare", pointed out, employers are always looking to cut unnecessary costs and save money, resulting in an ever-growing trend to buy healthcare benefits directly from providers. The result is often hundreds of thousands – and in many cases, millions of dollars – in savings. Making healthcare more affordable and transparent often means that employers, of all shapes and sizes, can now provide fertility coverage. Shilpa Patel, SVP, Business and Legal Affairs for Kindbody, commented, "Imagine if we can offer a better experience, more transparency with high success rates and more affordable pricing." Patel, a veteran healthcare executive, has seen first-hand the dramatic shift in direct contracting. "Healthcare costs are increasing faster than inflation. Kindbody is developing a solution which provides both a meaningful family-building benefit and saves costs."
Contracting directly with providers has gained in popularity, particularly when the benefit is a specialty carve-out such as fertility. With only a small fraction of employees utilizing the benefit, it's difficult to spread the costs amongst traditional per employee per month models. Today, curated networks of best-in-class providers are winning hearts and checkbooks of large employers. In a recent article in the Society for Human Resource Management, Ben Isgur of PWC's Health Research Institute advised, "Employers should consider offering employees a value-plan option with a limited network, of health care providers and high ratings for quality and customer satisfaction."
It's this value-plan option in the form of a bundled-offering that Kindbody is bringing directly to employers at more competitive prices. Historically, bundles included all service offerings in one price, however, much has changed in the last few years in fertility. Specifically, the industry has moved towards commoditization and certain procedures, such as PGS (preimplantation genetic screening), are no longer necessary for all patients. Until a few years ago, there was tremendous differentiation in success rates that resulted in price disparity as some early adopters were rewarded for embracing genetic testing and vitrification. "Today, genetic testing and vitrification are ubiquitous across the country, and with that, differences in success rates have leveled off," commented Kindbody's Chief Medical Officer, REI, Dr. Lynn Westphal.
Westphal added, "It should be noted that today, PGS is not a good solution for every case", which is a change from just a few years ago. Prompted by recent studies, and as noted in a New York magazine cover story, it's now more widely accepted that patients with fewer than three embryos as well as those under 35 years-old should not always undergo genetic screening given the unnecessary, added costs.
Kindbody is already serving patients in New York and will be adding locations in Los Angeles and San Francisco next month. And, it's in discussions with other strategic partners to provide a wider coverage solution to handle large employers. "We're talking about millions of dollars in savings for employers who buy direct. If self-insured, public companies trade at an 18x PE ratio, and potentially you could save them 25% or $3M, then that's $54M in annual value to shareholders," concluded Bartasi.
Kindbody is reinventing women's healthcare for the modern woman, starting with fertility and wellness services. Through a national network of boutique locations, Kindbody is bringing together clinical excellence, best-in-class technology, and accessible pricing — connecting the full patient experience in one, intuitive platform. Visit www.kindbody.com and follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
Rebecca Silver, Senior Director of Marketing