While we wait for President Obama’s public plan, the 46 million uninsured Americans need some options. Healdeal aims to bring the free market model to healthcare as one of them. The goal is to provide a marketplace for self-pay (uninsured) individuals to connect and transact with providers registered on the website.
There is scope for such services, for sure. There are significant number of people who need care that falls outside the realm of what insurance covers. Second opinions, cosmetic procedures, international travelers are some categories that come to mind. But as always, business model remains the Achilles heel. If you are operating a platform that matches supply with demand, its more straightforward to make money in commercial domains, much like eBay or eLance. But healthcare is different ballgame. Privacy, outcomes, benchmarking, feedback, transparency are some of the confounding issues that need to be taken care of.
Currently HealDeal is a social venture, with no subscription or advertisement model evident. Hopefully they have deep pockets or influential allies to keep themselves above water. It’d be interesting to have it as an app on Google Health though, especially if they can strike partnerships with other related, pro-self-pay businesses like Myca.