Looking to provide health insurance to the 53 million Americans who don’t get benefits from their employers, Stride Health has raised $13 million in new funding.
For the freelancers and independent contractors who make up one third of the U.S. labor force, Stride offers a hassle-free alternative to Healthcare.gov.
After you enter your own data, including age, gender, location, and illness history, Stride’s forecasting model evaluates how much care you’ll use throughout the year, prices it on every health plan, and couples it with the coverage price to show you the total cost of each plan.
Whereas Healthcare.gov takes the average user well over an hour to register for a health plan, Stride users average 12 to 15 minutes to get through both the recommendation and enrollment process.
“Healthcare.gov drops you off at the doorstep of the carrier and that’s it,” says Noah Lang, founder of Stride.
“We stick around throughout the year — our team will sit on hold with the insurance company for two hours so you don’t have to,” he says.
Stride has come a long way since launching in California in March of last year. The service is now live in six additional states — New York, New Jersey, Florida, Texas, Illinois, and Pennsylvania — spanning 44% of the population, and they’re tapping into growing networks of contract employees through partnerships with Uber, TaskRabbit, and Postmates.
Initially a recommendation engine connecting workers to health plans, Stride is evolving into a broader support structure for independent workers.
“The key is to utilize the broker revenue stream in order to provide a bunch more services for workers who are not getting the set of services that have historically been provided by the employer,” says Bryan Roberts of Venrock, who is joining Stride’s board.
“Then you can become the HR platform for people who don’t have one, and help them with taxes, and expenses, and aggregation of income streams — and really empower this burgeoning portion of the U.S. workforce,” he says.
That’s exactly where Stride is headed. They’ve already partnered with 50,000 pharmacies in the U.S. to help users find the most affordable prescriptions in their area, whether they’re insured or not. And later this summer, Stride will be opening up its service to people who have already purchased health plans somewhere else.
“You’re going to see us releasing additional products that both customers and non-customers can use — we’re going to be touching their financial lives a little bit more than we were before,” says Lang.
This includes notifying users to pay monthly premiums before they lose coverage, helping customers deduct health expenses from their taxes, or providing employers of freelance workers (like Uber or Postmates) the option to offer their employees healthcare stipends through the Stride platform.
“There’s a lack of trust in consumer brands in healthcare today, and one of the reasons we’re expanding quickly to 50 states is to own that space — we’re building a national brand for independent working Americans,” Lang says.