Back in July during one of Tech Cocktail’s legendary mixers in Washington DC, my good friend Scott Case, the founding CTO at Priceline.com and the current CEO of Startup America was speaking. As normal, at the end of his great speech which I remember involved gambling, women and priceline.com, he had a little Q&A.
I have been a Startup America supporter and Champion since the beginning and am always on listservs, chat rooms, and even here preaching the gospel about Startup America. Well that didn’t sit too well with one woman from Pennsylvania. We were on the Philly Startup ListServ and I was writing someone about Startup America. Now before Startup PA even opened it’s doors she was all over me about how Startup America gave her no benefit what so ever. Then, she kept on bringing up healthcare like we were talking about Startupacare or Obamacare.
I relayed this conversation during the Q&A with Case and brought the room to great laughter since I did a great impression of the whiney woman on the Philly list serv. But as a Type II diabetic and an entrepreneur since 2003 I was actually curious about the health insurance. Case admitted that while building out regions was Startup America’s focus for the immediate future, there were talks going on about health insurance.
Entrepreneurs, freelancers, and the self employed account for a huge uninsured segment. Truth be told I was looking forward to next year when Obamacare takes over since I couldn’t afford healthcare on my own and 90% of everyone (even Cigna at the time) was either too much or refused me altogether because of the diabetes.
Well low and behold just moments ago I received an email from Donna Harris at the Startup America Partnership announcing an exciting partnership with Cigna for mentorship, education and of course health insurance.
So I quickly glanced over the mentorship and education part, great stuff by the way, and I clickity clicked through to the health insurance part. I filled out the form and within nano seconds I was talking with Shelly from Cigna on the phone. She knew I was signing up via Startup America and BOOM! It’s done** (disclaimer part: of course health insurance is underwritten but I was informed that even with the Type II diabetes the rate she quoted was good). So alas if all goes well Shelly tells me I can go to the doctor for a mere $25 starting next month vs the $85 I have been paying!
In a statement this morning Case said:
“We know how important mentoring, education, and health insurance benefits are to startups, and we’re excited to bring Cigna on board as a new partner to help our members,” said Scott Case, CEO of the Startup America Partnership. “Cigna believes, as we do, that entrepreneurship is a core American value and critical to the country’s long-term economic success.”
The real deal here is that health care, education and insurance is one of the biggest things that hold entrepreneurs back. Healthy entrepreneurs make healthy startups and healthy startups mean more jobs. Really it’s that simple.