Why I Started A Company to Serve Older People, Beginning With Medicare
My grandfather Henry was an amazing person. A Holocaust survivor and an immigrant from Poland, he became a small shopkeeper in Rochester. He re-built his life there.
Having come of age before the widespread use of computers and mobile phones, Henry struggled to engage with the modern, technology-enabled world, from important challenges like online banking and healthcare to more daily occurrences like online shopping. For these, he relied heavily on my parents and me.
Medicare was particularly challenging. My mom spent three full weeks on the phone with various organizations and companies trying to understand the options for her father and how to enroll him. Even she became confused as she tried to help him to avoid late sign-up penalties and to find coverage that included his doctors, prescriptions, and other needs.
As my parents enrolled in Medicare for themselves last year, they faced a similar maze: nearly missing deadlines, scrambling to enroll, and filling out piles of paperwork. Worst of all, they could only hope that they made the right choice; it was hard to be sure.
Unfortunately, when they finished, they had enrolled in a plan that was more expensive than alternatives for the same coverage. When I tried to help them, I learned that there are more than fifty Medicare coverage options available in most counties.
There’s no good reason for all of this complexity. We can order a customized pizza from our phones but can’t navigate Medicare with anything less than multiple phone calls, mountains of paperwork, and uncertainty about the outcome.
While excellent technology has been built for many parts of our lives, most tools today address the needs of the builders of software—primarily people under the age of 45. We believe that technology shouldn’t discriminate by age. People of all ages deserve technology that empowers them to live with purpose, security, and independence.
My colleagues and I started Chapter to build a suite of products and services that are equally useful and accessible to those who are wise in mind but young at heart. We are starting by revolutionizing the Medicare navigation and enrollment experience.
Most Medicare resources are incomplete or inaccurate. They’re also biased to certain plans, because they have incomplete information about coverage options, and worse yet, mis-aligned incentive structures.
We take a different approach.
- We believe in complete information. We’ve built a database of every Medicare coverage option in the country, complete with information on which physicians and drugs are covered.
- Our recommendations are completely independent of our relationships with insurance carriers. Specifically, neither our technology nor our licensed advisors make recommendations based on our relationships with insurance carriers.
- We take dozens of personal factors into account to optimize your Medicare coverage, well beyond the one to three factors that most Medicare advisors consider.
- We take a data and technology driven approach to streamline the navigation and enrollment process. For instance we built a calculator that allows you to see if switching to Medicare would be cheaper than employer based insurance.
- We provide ongoing support throughout the year to help our members with things like finding specialists in network, finding the most cost-effective way to purchase prescriptions, and navigating the maze of insurance offerings that arise.
This is just a start for us, but it is one close to my heart.