The Bind platform allows individuals to compare treatment options and prices. (Bind)

Bind is a winner of FierceHealthcare's Fierce 15 awards. See our other honorees here.

Bind set out five years ago to change the way consumers shop for treatment options.

Through design improvements, the Minneapolis-based company was designed with the idea that personalized health plans can give consumers choice, flexibility and complete cost transparency.

The Bind platform allows individuals to compare coverage and exact prices before making care decisions. Ultimately, Bind says it saves consumers money and stress by letting them control their treatment plan.

Until recently, the Bind solution was only available to self-funded employers. But throughout 2021, it will be available on a fully insured basis to employers in about 30 states.

“It’s time we do something different and break the healthcare cost curve for employers,” said Tony Miller, Bind’s CEO. “Employers want to offer quality benefits without breaking the bank or doing it on the backs of employees.” 

Bind's approach to health insurance innovation has attracted big investors including Ascension Ventures, the venture arm of the Ascension health system, and UnitedHealth. In October, Bind scored a $105 million Series B funding round, bringing its overall funding to nearly $250 million.

Miller notes that the COVID-19 pandemic has ushered in a new era of consumerism that could have positive, lasting impacts on the cost and quality of healthcare, but only if insurance design can continue to support this consumer motivation.

Fierce insights from Tony Miller, CEO of Bind

What is your best piece of advice for launching a healthcare company that challenges the status quo?

Tony Miller (Bind) 

Get to the root of the problem and start from scratch. Take health insurance, as an example. We’ve seen many so-called disruptive insurance ideas that put a modern tech spin on top of an antiquated health insurance chassis. But these iterations don’t fix the root of the problem. Therefore, we at Bind had to rebuild health insurance on an entirely novel financing system.

What is the failure you’ve learned the best lesson from?

Don’t believe in your idea — believe in the data. In a previous startup, we had an idea on how providers could lead the charge towards affordability in healthcare by changing the perverse incentives in the system. But it was clear in the data that this would only harm providers’ current business models.

What is the book you recommend to other healthcare leaders?

The Innovators, by Walter Isaacson. It is a great look at the larger view on how an ecosystem of disparate innovations eventually come together to form a “big bang moment,” where those innovations coalesce and start to be synergistic with one another to form something greater than the parts. I think the last decade of ramped-up investment in digital health and healthcare is the backdrop of something bigger that is coming soon.

What is the biggest change to watch for in the healthcare industry in 2021?

It has to be the hoped-for vaccine [COVID-19] and its results on quelling the pandemic. And then when that dust settles, it will be interesting to see the new “normal.”

In light of the national conversation that is happening right now, what advice would you offer to healthcare leaders seeking to make a real impact on systemic problems of racism?

Healthcare leaders should understand and appreciate the power of better health insurance design—it’s a critical part of the foundation needed to successfully address health disparities. I’m talking about eliminating affordability barriers that prevent people from getting the care they need (e.g. no deductibles); lowering the cost of treatments and medications known to be particularly effective in treating certain conditions within at-risk populations; identifying providers who are most effective in caring for specific conditions within at-risk populations and helping steer at-risk members toward those providers; improving service models to meet unique needs, etc.