As the breadth and depth of what Medicare Advantage (MA) plans can offer has grown, the actual management of supplemental benefits has gotten more complex. That includes the coordination of in-home care benefits, transportation services and more.
In response to the more complicated landscape, more and more startups are popping up that help health plans with the design, delivery and evaluation of supplemental benefits. Many of these companies also help plans’ members get the most out of their benefits as well.
CareCar is one of these up-and-coming businesses.
On Thursday, the technology-enabled benefits manager and value-based health care services platform announced the closing of a $3 million seed funding round, led by Kapor Capital and Impact America Fund, with additional investment from Concrete Rose.
“We are a supplemental benefit administrator for Medicare and Medicaid managed care plans,” Joshua Itano, co-founder and CEO of CareCar, told Home Health Care News. “And in addition to being the benefit administrator, we offer a platform to actually connect members with those benefit services.”
Many health plans know social isolation and a lack of transportation are huge barriers to an individual’s overall health, for example. As part of its mission, CareCar will partner with a health plan to create a transportation benefit or augment an existing one to make it more impactful, then administer that benefit and provide services through its platform.
“What it looks like from a member’s perspective is, ‘Hey, I just enrolled in [this health plan]. I see they have this awesome transportation benefit,’” Itano said. “They basically can then request services through us.”
Founded in 2017, CareCar currently manages supplemental benefits for about 150,000 people in California and North Carolina. The company plans to more than double its current membership base, reaching 500,000 covered lives in the not-too-distant future.
Humana is among CareCar’s health plan relationships. It first contracted with the Louisville, Kentucky-based insurer in the North Carolina market back in 2019, according to Itano, who noted that CareCar launched with three additional health plans this year.
“Kapor Capital invests in companies that are solving challenges people face today and anticipate in the future,” Ulili Onovakpuri, partner at Kapor Capital, said in a statement. “Supplemental benefit management services and platforms that harness technology to deliver value-based care are in high demand now, and we expect explosive growth in the sector over the long term, which is why CareCar is the largest investment in our portfolio.”
Armed with the newly announced $3 million, CareCar plans to accelerate its growth into new markets, with a particular focus on expanding services into the senior home care space.
With that in mind, CareCar plans to onboard 500 more community-based “Care Partners,” certified and vetted caregivers with experience as certified nursing assistants, medical assistants, home health aides, nursing students and other professions.
CareCar is already in the process of piloting different home care pilots, said Itano, who began working around supplemental benefits while at Alignment Healthcare during the now-public company’s early days.
“[Past research] has shown that when populations with certain functional limitations have access to these daily home care services, even if it’s just for an hour or two, they can see a reduction in Medicare spend by up to four or five times,” Itano said. “That’s sort of the need that we want to fill. By using this marketplace-platform approach, we can do it very efficiently.”
Supplemental benefits aimed at transportation and other social determinants of health have been around, in some form, for a long time. In 2018 and 2019, however, the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) gave MA plans the ability to offer more types of services for more of their members.
Specifically, CMS has been trying to encourage plans to double down on benefits that keep chronically ill, complex populations at home and out of higher-cost settings.
That big-picture agenda has been a significant tailwind for CareCar, according to Itano.
“Health plans now are really being measured on just a few, you know, KPIs, whether that’s hospital-admission rates or readmission rates,” he said. “If we can help them curb that just by providing the sort of home care services and access to everyday care, and it doesn’t cost the health plan more than a few bucks per member per month, it’s a win for everybody.”