Milwaukee-based startup Access HealthNet will move into a much larger office space and hire another 50 employees in 2017.
In the first week or two of January, the company plans to move from its 3,000-square-foot office space at the Shops of Grand Avenue into a 14,000-square-foot space on the 10th floor of the building at 105 W. Michigan St. in downtown Milwaukee.
Founded in 2014, Access HealthNet is already moving into its fourth office location. The moves have been driven by the company’s rapid national expansion, said Leslie Kolowith, co-founder and chief administrative officer.
Part of the new space will serve as a call center for Access HealthNet’s clients, which is why the additional employees are being hired. Access HealthNet currently has 22 employees, as well as five contracted salespeople based around the country.
“The business has been just growing exponentially and we understand that we’re going to need many more customer service representatives and provider service representatives to accommodate the calls,” Kolowith said.
Access HealthNet works with both employers and health care providers to create bundled health care procedures that are offered for a flat rate. The startup also completes the billing and collection on behalf of the provider. In this way, Kolowith said, providers and employers have more predictability for their businesses, and employees receive the added benefit of knowing how much their health care procedures will cost.
“The increasing cost of health care and employers struggling to find ways to keep the costs down for their employees has pretty much exhausted all methods,” she said. “Deductibles can only be so high to the point where you begin to lose key employees or you have a very unhappy group of employees with very poor benefits.”
Access HealthNet has about 4,000 providers under contract nationally. It has priced out about 900 health care services.
“The idea of bundling services, it’s not new, but it’s a very difficult process for providers to do on their own,” Kolowith said. “They’re tired of insurance companies constantly trying to get them to provide bigger and bigger discounts. That’s not what we’re about at all. We tell them this is a free market. You decide what you need to be paid.”
For example, a patient going in for an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) repair will be able to compare the cost of going to one provider over another because Access HealthNet sets up a bundle that includes the same components of the procedure, such as anesthesia, no matter which provider completes it.
Access HealthNet has “dozens” of employers with self-funded insurance plans signed up for the service, which they offer employees as an added benefit, and the company has hundreds more employers queued up for services beginning Jan. 1.
“At this point, we’re several hundred thousand lives that we’re assisting with,” Kolowith said. “As everybody comes on board in January, that’s going to grow to just an astronomical number. It will be in the millions of lives.”
Earlier this month, Access HealthNet received a $200,000 investment from BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation, which Kolowith said will be used for the expansion. The company declined to disclose its revenue.