Rob Norris is a seasoned entrepreneur based in Charlotte, North Carolina who has started multiple business ventures over the years.
His ventures include EnergyXchain, patent backed blockchain software for the Energy sector; Empowered, a benefits enrollment platform sold to Aflac; Vialogix, a web development firm; and he now publishes a tech newsletter called Launch Key.
But traditional health insurance was always a hurdle. Rob felt it was designed more for corporations and their employees, leaving small businesses and the self-employed facing high costs for little use. With CrowdHealth, that changed.
Self-employment exposed Rob to the challenges of health insurance (i.e. the Medical Industrial Complex). Despite being minimal users of healthcare services, he and his wife found themselves with a questionable return on their high monthly insurance cost.
"The traditional insurance model was literally only for catastrophic coverage for us," Rob points out. The murky waters of healthcare pricing, alongside high annual out-of-pocket costs, intensified the issue.
The traditional setup, he felt, penalized individuals for entrepreneurship by imposing steep premiums with scant assurance of coverage when you actually need it. Pay high monthly premiums, get sick once per year, and everything still out of pocket.
Traditional health insurance felt like gambling with your earnings, where the house almost always won. This facet discourages not just Rob but many others keen on launching their own ventures from the corporate springboard.
A telling instance involves his wife, Aimee, a former nationally ranked tennis player, who required cortisone shots for tennis elbow some years back. Despite the identical procedure, the price tag varied wildly with each provider.
He reminisces, "In one calendar year, she had a cortisone shots done three different times at three different providers... and the price for the exact same thing ranged from $125 to $450. I mean, same exact procedure."
Rob required a hip replacement and sought assistance from CrowdHealth. Their support was crucial, but Rob’s proactive engagement was key to securing a favorable deal. This approach yielded substantial savings as well as an excellent outcome.
In the early stages, the focus was on finding market rate and a competent, affordable surgeon. Yet, a simple task like obtaining an X-ray order from his primary care provider became a hurdle due to healthcare system restrictions.
Initially, a Greensboro surgery center was suggested. However, the surgeon there didn’t meet Rob’s expectations. He knew Charlotte’s OrthoCarolina had highly rated hip specialists in his zip code. But, the hospital facilities in Charlotte charged an extremely high price. Rob worked with CrowdHealth to find an OrthoCarolina hip specialist who did out patient surgery near Charlotte and drastically reduced costs while getting expertise for the procedure.
Rob's efforts bore fruit. The facilities charge at the out patient surgery center was one third of the hospital price. In the end, his out-of-pocket expense was $500, marking a notable saving compared to standard insurance.
Although some systemic challenges arose, with CrowdHealth's assistance and his own determination, Rob found a more affordable solution for his hip replacement. This case illuminates the financial benefits and healthcare control attainable outside traditional insurance, especially during major health events. Rob's journey illustrates a trade-off – CrowdHealth isn’t a magic fix, but empowers individuals to manage their healthcare with necessary support.
Rob values this model, especially CrowdHealth’s market-driven, peer-to-peer approach. It is very similar to the Consumer Driven healthcare idea that was foundational to the Empowered company he helped start. CrowdHealth provides a toolkit and community for those preferring a cash pay method, which Rob sees as a more equitable, sustainable healthcare payment model. His hip replacement served as a rigorous test for CrowdHealth, marking his first major health event under this alternative healthcare model.
Rob appreciates the simplicity of CrowdHealth. He shares, “it’s very easy once the procedure is approved. When I get a bill, I just upload it to the app, and it is submitted to the community for funding. The Crowd Health app is very simple, it just makes sense."
He applauds CrowdHealth's endeavor to foster change in a space ripe for transformation, stating, "I just really appreciate that CrowdHealth is trying to do something different in a space that needs a lot of change. It's like having business partners who go to bat for you to get fair market pricing."
For self-employed individuals or anyone overwhelmed by high insurance costs, Rob sees CrowdHealth as an excellent solution, asserting, "And I think it’s a great solution for the self-employed or anyone who is paying too much for insurance. If you are healthy and take proactive care, this solution will work for you.”
He recognizes the dire need for change in America's healthcare system, remarking, "I think healthcare needs to change in this country, and I think CrowdHealth is a really good step in that direction."
Rob also highlights the impracticality of waiting for government and corporations to amend the system, emphasizing the necessity for external solutions like CrowdHealth to initiate meaningful change.
Looking Forward with CrowdHealth:
Rob sees a bright future for CrowdHealth, especially among self-employed and budding entrepreneurs. He views it as a tool to change America's healthcare landscape. "I think it’s going to change healthcare in America, I really do. I think it’s a great solution and I hope more people find out about it," says Rob.
Key features like community funding and clear cost structures stand out to Rob. "I think it's a game-changer. You only pay for what you use. It’s about taking control of your healthcare, and that’s what we’ve been able to do with CrowdHealth," he adds.
Rob emphasizes proactive healthcare management. He suggests questioning medical advice to ensure the best care. "The facilities price was one third of what the price would have been if I’d just taken the first available surgeon without questioning it.”
For Rob, CrowdHealth suits those who maintain good health and use healthcare services only when essential.
He mentions, "If you're the type of person who tends to keep yourself healthy and out of doctor's offices, and only utilize healthcare services when you really need to. If you want a market-driven solution that's reliable and trusted by a community of thousands of members to get a fair price and only pay $500 for those health events, then CrowdHealth is far superior to traditional insurance."
But, he acknowledges it might not fit those with frequent health issues who prefer handing over health management to bigger entities.
He believes in the economic benefits of this model. "It's not insurance, it's a community, and the fact that it's not insurance, helps with the pricing. It's just being willing to shop around a bit, and if you're willing to shop, you can save a ton of money," explains Rob.
Being proactive is Rob's healthcare mantra. "If you're proactive about your healthcare, it's fantastic. Eat right, exercise, know how to read your blood work. If you're passive, CrowdHealth might not be a good solution for you," he asserts.
His narrative stresses the significance of active involvement in healthcare decisions. "I think the big thing for me was realizing years ago that a doctor who sees me one time a year for an annual, really doesn’t know me very well. The insurance is for the doctors, not for you.” Rob concludes.
Through shared success stories, CrowdHealth is meeting the needs of modern self-starters, ushering in, what Rob believes to be, a new era in American healthcare.