Monday, December 11, 2023

US-founded Pinoy insurance startup acquires HMO, eyes local SMEs

Hive Health, a digital health insurance startup founded at Harvard and Stanford Universities in 2021, announced its acquisition of Health Plan Philippines Inc. (HPPI), a health maintenance organization (HMO) service provider in the country.

“We have just begun the hard work of making healthcare radically more accessible. The goal is for all Filipinos to feel secure that their health is taken care of, and to give employers a sustainable way to take part in making that happen,” stated Camille Ang, co-founder and CEO of Hive Health.

“Hive Health’s journey to date, especially with the acquisition of HPPI, marks a significant milestone, not just for our company but also for the Philippine startup landscape. It underscores the potential of startups like Hive Health to shrink the change and make an impact on intractable problems.”

With the acquisition, Hive Health said it will be able to share its technology and data-driven innovations with HPPI’s existing members.

Hive Health, as a full-stack digital health insurer, HMO health plans for SMEs and startups, encompassing outpatient, inpatient, emergency, and dental care through a nationwide network of 1,700 hospitals and clinics, and over 60,000 doctors across the country.

“We started Hive Health with the mission to make healthcare more accessible in the Philippines and in many other developing countries where social safety nets are capped. Our goal is to leverage tech and data to make quality healthcare more affordable and easier to use, especially for the underserved SME segment,” said Jiawen Tang, president and co-founder of Hive Health.

Hive Health’s digital platform allows patients to manage their own care and their dependents’ care — enabling tasks such as requesting letters of approval within minutes to allow patients to skip the long lines in hospitals, viewing plan benefits, finding nearby providers, scheduling annual physical exams, and accessing medical records — all from their phone or computer.

“We’re also proud of our one-of-a-kind vertically integrated telehealth and care coordination model that bridges virtual and in-person care. Patients can book on-demand video teleconsultations with our team of Hive doctors, who use our in-house electronic medical records system to enable patients to get more accurate diagnoses and access the right care whenever they need it,” Tang explained.  

The company said it is also dedicated to promoting inclusivity for minorities such as LGBTQIA+ and domestic partners while offering benefits like mental health, medicine, preventive care, and maternity care.

For small business owners and HR managers who have limited bandwidth to go through cumbersome paperwork, Hive Health said its HR dashboard simplifies onboarding and offboarding, streamlines invoicing, and empowers business owners and HR to encourage employee engagement and wellness.

Born from personal experiences and the challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, Hive Health’s founders, Ang and Tang, were motivated to address the gaps in healthcare accessibility and affordability in the Philippines.

In particular, the limited coverage and frustrating processes of existing health plans inspired the duo to pioneer transformative changes in the healthcare landscape.

During the pandemic, both Ang and Tang were simultaneously pursuing dual MBA and MPA in International Development degrees at Harvard and Stanford.

“We learned that over 1.5M Filipinos are forced into poverty each year due to health shocks, while a surprising <10% of the population have access to health plans beyond PhilHealth. For those that are lucky to have an employer-sponsored health plan, the average out-of-pocket spend is at 56%, and Filipinos find it quite difficult to use one’s health plan,” shared Ang, who grew up in the Philippines.

Having earned accolades from esteemed institutions like Harvard, Stanford, and MIT, including the grand prize at the Harvard New Venture Competition that propelled Grab’s launch in 2011, and gaining support from leading global venture capital firms including YCombinator, the tech accelerator in Silicon Valley, the duo embarked on bringing their thesis coupled with personal challenges into action in 2021.


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