'Self-pay' insurtech startup Sidecar Health hits unicorn status with $125M Series C

The startup's app prices care using cash rates, while letting its members choose their preferred care by comparing the costs of their local providers.
By Dave Muoio
09:08 am
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Price transparency and direct-payment insurance startup Sidecar Health has announced a $125 million Series C round led by Drive Capital. New investors BOND, Tiger Global and Menlo Ventures, as well as prior backers Cathay Innovations and GreatPoint Ventures, also participated.

This raise is a substantial jump in size from its $20 million round back in July or its $18 million raise from 2019. With it, Sidecar said that it's reached a $1 billion valuation.

WHAT IT DOES

Sidecar Health's members use the startup's app to customize the amount of annual healthcare coverage they would like, and whether they would like coverage for prescriptions. Because their approach is based on self-pay service rates, members can use a built-in price comparison to choose from the services of any local providers.

The startup has its members pay for their treatment directly at the point of service using a Sidecar Health Visa card tied to each account. The startup later confirms these payments by asking members to upload a picture of their itemized bill. It then charges or credits the difference between the full cost of care and the member's coverage.

WHAT IT'S FOR

The company said that it's targeting new products, such as an Affordable Care Act offering that will launch in 2022 and another offering for the self-funded employer market. More immediately, the new funds will help the company expand its team and geographic footprint.

“The plans we designed give Sidecar Health members two things: the money they need to purchase care and the information to make decisions that are right for them,” Patrick Quigley, cofounder and CEO of Sidecar Health, said in a statement. “By doing so, we are turning patients into purchasers of healthcare. This latest funding accelerates us on our mission to make healthcare more affordable and accessible for all Americans.”

MARKET SNAPSHOT

As healthcare costs remain high, more companies are showing consumers the price of their care and allowing them directly purchase their preferred services. These options range from CashMD's local procedure price-comparison tool (launched in 2019) to GoodRx's medication discount platform, which filed to go public last year on the back of year-over-year revenue growth.

On the subject of consumer-friendly price transparency, it's also worth noting that January 1 saw the implementation of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' final rule for hospital price transparency.

ON THE RECORD

“The extraordinary level of transparency Sidecar Health brings to the marketplace has the potential to fundamentally change how millions of Americans shop for healthcare,” Molly Bonakdarpour, a partner at Drive Capital, said in a statement. “We think Sidecar Health’s team of consumer, technology and healthcare veterans is well positioned to capitalize on the large healthcare insurtech opportunity.”

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