Scouting Report-Juno Medical: Expanding and Demystifying Access to Care
On July 30th, Juno Medical raised $5.4 million in seed funding led by Vast Ventures and joined by Atento Capital, Company Ventures, humbition, RareBreed Ventures, and Lafayette Square. The membership-only New York-based startup is bringing modern whole family healthcare (adult primary care, women’s health, and same-day care) to underserved populations by ensuring price transparency for its consumers. Juno Medical will use the funding to expand to Brooklyn, New York, offer pediatric services, and has plans to expand across the U.S. by 2022.
Juno works with all major health insurance (Anthem, Aetna, United Healthcare, Cigna, and Medicare) and offers but does not require a membership to get care.
According to a study by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) medically, underserved populations have fewer practitioners, facilities, and higher infant mortality rates.
Juno offers (but does not require) membership packages that are priced from $20/month for individual membership to $50/month for families for which members are provided access to “Convenience, Savings, Events, and Programs.”
A 2017 survey showed that 96% of Americans overestimate how much they know about their health insurance coverage.
Juno Medical, a tech-enabled primary care provider, was founded in April 2020 amidst the pandemic with its first flagship location in Harlem, New York, and has provided care to thousands of New Yorkers through their platform. Derived from Latin, the word Juno means to give aid and the company has incorporated that goal into its mission statement; providing care seven days a week across specialties in real-time. Juno’s platform displays transparent pricing on their website for both in-network and out of network costs for services including preventative care, follow-up care, same-day care, specialty care, and lab services. Juno works with all major health insurance providers including Anthem, Aetna, United Healthcare, Cigna, and Medicare, and does not require a membership to get access to quality care. Should a patient choose to become a Juno member, the membership packages are priced affordably at $20/month for individual membership (or $200 one-time payment) or $50/month for family membership (or $500 one-time payment). According to the company, membership in Juno Medical allows patients access to “Convenience, Savings, Events and Programs” which are not typically included in the health insurance offerings. For example, this includes discounts with local and national partners on things such as rock climbing, Pilates and, birth control services. In addition to evening and weekend appointment offerings, Juno members get exclusive discounts with their local and national partners. Members will also have access to virtual and live events aimed towards health, wellness, community, and lifestyle.
Identifying themselves as a “team of physicians, designers, engineers, and parents”, Juno is committed to bringing holistic, accessible, and affordable care to everyone. Since prices for healthcare services vary significantly and are often incredibly difficult to figure out, Juno’s price transparency allows consumers to make better-informed, real-time, decisions about when and how to choose the care they receive. Juno also works directly with the health insurance provider on behalf of the patient for out-of-network reimbursements easing the financial and time burden for those who may not have experience with the system. Similarly, patients can easily begin the process of managing their own care by booking their appointment with their preferred doctor more easily than with traditional insurance. Since Juno has relationships with all national health insurance providers, patients are spared the hassle of searching for providers on network directories which are often out of date. With Juno, patients simply fill out their insurance information with their preferred provider and they are ready to go. Juno even helps with such issues as transportation by providing discounts on rides to and from in-person appointments, By removing uncertainty around cost, enabling same-day service, and helping underserved patients Juno is effectively becoming a one-stop healthcare provider platform. Juno’s platform simplifies and streamlines the delivery process by giving its patients access to services such as virtual care, on-site labs, imaging, and diagnostics.
The Big Picture:
While for decades there have been numerous State and Federal efforts to enhance primary care for underserved populations, the most notable being the Affordable Care Act itself, health disparities and inequities remain a stubborn problem in U.S. healthcare delivery. While digital tools like telemedicine can help mitigate the barriers, they often remain inaccessible due to broadband connectivity issues. Conversely, Juno Medical is helping to simplify the health insurance process and portions of the physical delivery of care by ensuring price transparency and increasing the transparency around pricing. In addition, Juno’s focus of bringing high-quality care to underserved populations can even reduce health disparities and improve overall population health. For example as a report entitled “Understanding the Impact of Health IT in Underserved Communities and Those With Health Disparities”, “chronic diseases are a key driver of health care costs. They account for an estimated 75 percent of health care expenditures and disproportionately affect underserved groups.” Sadly, while that report was written in 2013, as laid bare by the Coronavirus pandemic, the situation is meaningfully unchanged. In addition, as noted in “Disparities in Multiple Chronic Conditions Within Populations” the underserved have a higher incidence of risk factors contributing to poorer quality of life. These costs can be substantial and have a meaningful economic impact on growth and productivity. For example, according to a recent study by the Episcopal Health Foundation, the state of Texas is incurring $2.7 billion in excess medical care spending annually as well as $5 billion in lost productivity due to preventable conditions. This lack of care leads to 452,000 life years lost due to premature deaths valued at $22.6 billion. Consequently, services like Juno’s which provide easy, affordable, and efficient access to care can help reduce disparities for what appears to be a fraction of the cost.