#19 Mental health money 💰
Also: nar(can) you believe it, algorithmic denial & good VIVBES
Well hello there. Today’s newsletter is 537 words long, or a 2 minute read.
Think about it 💡
💸 Mental health is the fastest-growing marketplace for startups since the avo toast. You've been waiting for it like a golden nugget under the Christmas tree: the a16z Marketplace 100 ranking is finally here. In addition to gracing us with charming charts and insightful information, the report highlights how companies are capturing a key vertical in global health: 1 in 8 people worldwide live with a mental disorder. Though the pandemic served as a catalyst for the growing attention to this issue (and to wellness in general), investors and entrepreneurs have clearly stepped up to the plate, as mental health rules over this year’s list.
💊 When the cure costs more than the poison. Nearly 107,000 Americans died from overdoses of some drug in 2021. The majority of these overdoses involved opioids and specifically fentanyl. This is a deadly national epidemic to say the least. The FDA just approved Narcan, a naloxone nasal spray that can stop opioid overdoses while they are happening, as an over-the-counter medication. Still, issues of access remain. The main obstacle will be cost, as the drug currently retails between $50 and $100. Research has shown that costs as low as $10 can deter people from buying needed medications.
Algorithmically denied care 🛑
If you don't like insurers, prepare to like them even less.
📓 A new investigation by Propublica looks into Cigna (a health insurance company)'s prior authorization program, PXDX. Turns out that this program has been rejecting payment for many claims - without any actual medical evaluation. While this does not affect the quality of care provided, it saves Cigna money while patients face higher costs.
🔎 What's at stake here? Under Medicare Advantage, for example, private insurance companies are given control over all elements of a patient's benefits. According to recent reports, these insurance companies have been using algorithmic tools - rather than medically trained individuals - to assess whether patients in their Medicare Advantage programs are worthy of care.
🫀 What’s the problem? Suppose you're at risk for heart failure. Your doctor tells you that you need a certain procedure. But your insurance company's algorithmic tool says you don't need it (which btw means they can deny payment). Your options are not unlimited. Either risk cardiac arrest, go into debt to get your procedure done (praying to the insurance gods that you can challenge the denial later), or start a patreon.
Neat News 🗞️
💸 Eli Health raised $5 million to improve women's health with a saliva-based hormone monitoring technology. Neat.
🫀 Bain has invested $215 million in HeartFlow, an AI startup that analyzes coronary heart disease. Super neat.
🏄♀️ Monarch Collective raised a $100M debut fund to invest in women’s sports. Ultra neat.
Clean Content 🧼
💡 Vibing at VIVE: Blake Madden recaps what happened at one of the biggest healthtech conferences.
👩 WIRED Health 2023 panel discusses how to end bias and taboos in women’s healthcare.
🗺️ Kelvin Mu mapped out some generative AI companies and Nabla is pumped to be mentioned.
This is what you came for 🍑
🌱 Flowers are blooming, birds are chirping - which means spring cleaning is just around the corner. A good opportunity for us to share this recent study which suggests that an unequal distribution of household chores could explain a decrease in sexual desire in women. Don't let her make the bed alone if you want to sleep in it.
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