We welcome you back. Michael Garfield. The longest running radio program here on 950am KPRC across southeast Texas and of course all over the world on iHeart Radio. 18 years my job is to answer your questions live when it comes to anything about technology, but certainly consumer gear. But also give you the hard hitting breaking news in interviews as we're about to do right now.
You know, when it comes to the state we live in in health care so many questions: what's the best options for you. And it's really nice to find companies who find solutions when it, you know, whether it's via app or new ways to get around the typical things that we have grown up with. But when it comes to health care for me, and my listeners know that I don't understand a darn thing, I am lucky here at iHeart. We have some sort of a health care plan but there are some neat options and I found one that just launched in our great state of Texas.
It's a neat concept the more I read about it and understand it. Plus also it's got a nice healthy background of some very smart people who've been in the industry for a long time. It is called Sidecar Health and they just launched in Texas. The CEO, his name is Patrick Quigley, is joining me here, live, on the Garf show.
We want to welcome you in. I want to start with this Patrick. The most pressing question: how your Cleveland Browns look this year?
I'm so glad you asked. But first of all Michael, thanks so much for having me on.
And you know I went to high school in Cleveland and during the Bernie Kosar era. And I follow them religiously. And you know they're having a little bit of a tough start to the year but they got to win this week. So we're excited. Excited to follow them. And it's funny I moved to Cleveland from Houston actually so I grew up in Houston as well.
And I know you bounced around. So I've been reading your bio and I know you're a big Cleveland...you may be the one Cleveland Browns fans I think in the entire southwest United States. So hopefully you know your boys are going to do well this coming week.
Well, it's a tradition of hope and misery. We'll stick with the hope.
There, there you go. Exactly. That's how it works. And you know what? That's a segway to the health care industry. Its hope and its misery and I think with Sidecar Health, Patrick, you have some hope right now. Let's start with this from the listeners and I'll let you do the elevator pitch. Give us the overall view of what your company offers in terms of insurance plans in health care.
That's great Michael. So Sidecar Health is a new type of insurance product. And you know, very simply, from a consumer perspective, it's 40 to 50 percent cheaper than traditional options. It enables consumers to see any doctor they want. And it's really focused on providing complete transparency to consumers and putting them in control. In fact, and as we talk about it more, I hope you guys share our view. But we believe it's how health care should be and health insurance should be.
Why are so many people, Americans, up in arms over health? I mean let's go back to you know to the Obamacare and everybody tries to fix it. Is there ever going to be a solution where every single person in our wonderful country is just going to be 100 percent happy?
Well look, it's right for people to care about this. Everybody in my view should have access to great care, access to good insurance, and not have to be worried about the financial struggles that can come from getting sick. And it's just a really hard problem, and the traditional approach to the industry is very complicated. And so what we've tried to do is look at, you know, from our experience what the consumers actually want and what do they need for themselves and for their families and where has the system kind of left gaps. And see if we can go ahead and jump in and solve those gaps because there is millions of people in Texas alone that really could use access to better health insurance and better care.
Let's talk about that. Your company has launched Sidecar Health. It really comes at a time when health care costs are skyrocketing. There are millions of people who don't get health insurance through employee plans and they're foregoing coverage completely. You talk about the great state of Texas. There's what? 4? 5 million people that are uninsured now?
Now it's interesting that you launch (you're obviously going to take this state to state), you launched here in number one, our state of Texas. Why Texas to start with for Sidecar Health?
Exactly for the reasons you said: it's that there's 5 million people in the state of Texas that are going uninsured and if you look at the individual market options: they're just getting too expensive for everyday people. If you can't get insurance through your employer or you don't qualify for government subsidies because you know, you're earning more than forty to forty five thousand dollars a year, you're kind of left in this no zone where the traditional options that are available, you know, just don't...they're just not affordable or they don't provide the coverage that you need. And so this is why we chose Texas because we believe that in Texas there's more people that we can help.
Speaking with Patrick Quigley. He is the CEO of a just launched company here in Texas. It's called Sidecar Health. The website is sidecarhealth.com. I'm looking at your website right now very easy to understand which has nice colors too.
But talk about the customization because I'm looking around and playing around over here. Users can come in and they can enroll and they can see a number of different things and choose doctors. What's the process for people who are interested to sign up?
Yeah, we're very different than a traditional health insurance plan. It's all about technology. So what we do is we enable our members to pay for care when they get it using a payment card. So effectively we put a Visa card in your wallet and when you go to the doctor you just simply pay the doctor when you leave. So you're as a consumer at the center of the transaction. And it doesn't matter if you're going in for a flu visit, maybe an MRI, or if you're going in for a major surgery like an ACL surgery or maybe you broke a bone.
So all of these transactions: you simply just pay for it. And that's what makes us really special: is that the consumers actually know what's going on because they're at the center of that transaction. And so that's the first thing. And then the second thing that we do is that to kind of help them along is provide tools. We let consumers know exactly what they're covered for and we let them know what things should cost. We even let them know that if another Sidecar Health member went to see that doctor what they were charged. So we're the first company that provides this complete transparency to consumers and allows them to purchase health care just, you know, like they're going to the grocery store.
And this gets to the concept you talk about personalization. You know health care isn't one size fits all. I mean what market really is? And unfortunately we've been trained in the health care world to just kind of accept what's been given to us. So one of the things in designing Sidecar Health products we wanted to do is to give consumers choice. So they can come to us and they can design their own plan. We of course have preset packages people can kind of check out with but you know you can come to us and you can decide how much coverage you want to buy. You can decide, you know, whether different components of that coverage are and we think it's really important. I mean frankly if you can do that with auto insurance why can't you do it with health insurance?
Two things you mentioned: number one transparency. Very very big. I think people understand now. Consumers really understand that with Google at your fingertips. I mean, you could find, you know, what the actual cost of a car should be and in what have you. You can keep on looking around and find the best deal through your app. And I'm sure you want everybody to go download the app at sidecarhealth.com and the app you actually can see as you talked about how much health care providers charge in this area. So obviously, example here in the Houston area where we're located right now, I mean, obviously it's the fourth largest city in the country and is certainly growing a lot of doctors and a lot of opportunities. It's actually smart to see, you know, that we can go in and start shopping around.
Your background is kind of, I led in with, in technology. You know with Katch. I mean you've worked with many different industries. How did you choose and how did you decide let's just really focus on that health care industry? How important was this to all the different industries you've worked in before?
Oh, that's a great question. So, I'm an engineer. You know and I like to build things and I always like to focus on problem solving and I've been very fortunate in that the team that I work with is much of the same: a bunch of engineers. A bunch of tinkerers. And before we launched Sidecar Health, my executive team and I spent a lot of years helping other health insurance companies market their products to consumers. And so we got to spend a lot of time with consumers and what they were looking for. And what came to us from all of the data (we had 30 million consumers that we engaged with over the last few years) was a very clear picture of what they want. You know they want a more affordable product. They don't want to be spending more on their health insurance than on their home. They don't want to be surprised. They don't want to see a doctor and get a bill later. And so we just as engineers, we just thought that hey, you know, let's go ahead and use the technology advances that there have been: the fact that we all now have this mobile, you know, mobile phone, mobile computer in your pocket. Now we can go ahead and use these new pieces of technology to address this problem and let's not look at it like a traditional health insurance company does. Let's look at it just from a consumer. How would a consumer want to interact?
And so the reason we focus on this problem is because it's a big problem. And we believe that with technology and with the team that we've built, that we can really contribute and solve it for a lot of folks that have been left behind.
Yeah, first of all, but not only, your reputation in the companies you've worked with have been phenomenal. But obviously you're hitting this one strong. And you just got some nice amount of funding also, so it's a great opportunity to launch in Texas. Real quickly, I'll leave you on this: talk about the nice amount of funding that you got that really, you know, gets this thing on a roll.
Yeah, we're really excited about the partners that we worked with. So we have two venture capital companies that have invested in us across two rounds. We're backed also by A-rated large insurance companies to provide the capital to make sure that we have really good coverage for our members. And so we've just been really, really fortunate in the financial partners that have chosen to come with us so we can go ahead and make health care better.
Well, we welcome you to Texas. We wish you the best of luck. I know you've just also within the last few days launched a number of different other states.
His name is Patrick Quigley, the CEO. Its called sidecarhealth.com. Listeners go out there if you have any questions and if you're certainly not covered this seems like a phenomenal option, based on all the technology which we cover.
Hey Patrick. Best of luck. Good luck to the Cleveland Browns. Maybe you'll meet my Cowboys in the Super Bowl. Then we'll have a nice beer to celebrate everything.
That sounds great Michael. Thanks so much for the time.
You got. It's Patrick Quigley. Sidecar Health.
Hey you really should check this out. You know, I don't know, the neat thing is I don't understand a lot about health care. I like sign up through my employer. That's it. I still don't think my employer has the greatest deal. And I know my boss is listening right now. You know what? I'm gonna check this out. Download the app. Sidecarehealth.com.
Alright, we're going to take a break right now. Questions and we can take live phone calls. Are you ticked off with your, you know, your health insurance?
I love it. This is why I cover technology folks because it's going to help the process. I like this. It's a smart company. The name is Michael Garfield.
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