Centivo, a Buffalo, New York-based health plan administrator for self-funded employers, has clients in 13 states. Founded in 2019, the company works with national and mid-market employers and health system partners to deliver a consumer-forward, access-driven model, creating customized provider networks that include free primary care and an unlimited virtual care option.
The company aims to reduce consumer out-of-pocket exposure and overall employee healthcare costs by identifying and partnering with high-performing providers in each market it serves. Using this model, Centivo is able to lower costs for self-insured employers by at least 15 percent compared to traditional insurers, through narrow networks with low-cost, high-quality providers.
Morgan Health, which has styled itself as a private sector version of Medicare’s innovation center, has invested $85M in companies that look to transform employer-sponsored healthcare—taking stakes in Seattle-based primary-care company Vera Whole Health and Nashville-based Embold Health, in addition to Centivo.
The Gist: We’ve had the opportunity to work directly with the Centivo team since its early days, as outside advisors. We’ve been continually impressed by the company’s success in navigating the complicated landscape of self-funded employers, broker relationships, and incumbent health systems.
The “ground war” of piecing together these bespoke offerings for employers stands in stark contrast to the approach of traditional payers, who simply aggregate scale and rely on brute-force pricing leverage to manage employer cost trend.
It’s also an interesting juxtaposition to Amazon and other “disruptors”, who bring a relatively naïve, Silicon Valley view to healthcare, and often find themselves frustrated by just how hard it is to drive change amid overwhelming complexity.