By Patricia Salber

First Posted at HIBC.tv on 3/12/2013

I got to spend some time chatting with Phil Lebherz, CEO and Ankeny Minoux, COO of PointCare while at HIMSS. If you don’t know about PointCare, you really should. The full interview with Phil and Ankeny is embedded above for your viewing pleasure.

Now for the context, the genesis of PointCare was based on Phil’s work at his California-based insurance brokerage, LISI.  He wanted to provide his brokers with an easy way to help customers find coverage for dependents not covered under the group plan.  To do this, he made a data base of all forms of coverage, private and public, available in California. What he discovered was that almost everybody was eligible for some sort of coverage.  That led him to ask:

“Are folks really uninsured…or are they instead uniformed?”

coverage for allAs a result of this work, he created a non-profit, The Foundation for Health Coverage Education to expand the work he was doing across the country.  The Foundation’s coverage database now covers the entire United States.  Anyone can go to the website and find out what type of programs they are eligible for by answering 5 series of questions.  The best way to understand how this works is to take the quiz.

According to Phil and Ankeny, 80% of people who are eligible for a public program are not signed up.  To understand why this is the case, Phil and his team called California’s Medicaid offices 50 times.  Here is what happened:

  • Their calls were answered 15 times (really!!)
  • 35 times there was no answer and no way to leave a message.
  • The wait times for the 15 calls that were answered averaged 22 minutes with one call not being answered until 48 minutes had passed.

This is pretty outrageous and goes a long way to explaining why some folks may not pursue coverage despite being eligible.

Eventually, it became apparent that there was a need for a for-profit business to help hospitals institutionalize the Health Coverage screening and education process developed by the Foundation.  Thus, the birth of PointCare in 2012.  According to the PointCare website, the company’s mission is to:

“…strengthen the dignity of self-pay patients through the effective, empathetic, and compassionate communication of health coverage options from the hospital, clinic, or doctor’s office to the patient.”

Their main product is PointCarePA, a web-based eligibility software that enables health systems, hospitals, and doctor’s offices to educate uninsured patients at point-of-care or during community outreach.  You can learn more by viewing their video.

It is great fun to spend time with entrepreneurs passionate about the work they do.