I’ve heard folks joke that Google solely has a few profitable companies, primarily promoting. However it could have discovered one other hit: insuring different corporations towards their employees’ probably dear medical care.
The Information is reporting that its healthcare firm, Verily, greater than doubled its income to grow to be the largest Alphabet subsidiary after Google correct — and that its medical insurance enterprise, Granular, is the largest contributor to that development. Granular’s income “rose almost sixfold via the primary 9 months of final yr to $151 million, from $27 million a yr earlier,” writes The Info.
However Granular doesn’t promote medical insurance to workers. It sells “stop-loss” insurance coverage to employers who’re frightened that their very own employees’ medical claims may damage them.
See, not each firm helps their workers pay for conventional insurance coverage premiums the place your docs invoice, say, UnitedHealthcare or Anthem or Aetna on your care (although these corporations could also be middlemen anyhow). Some suppose it’d be less expensive to “self-fund” and pay the medical claims of workers themselves.
Anyhow, Google / Alphabet / Verily’s Granular Insurance coverage is considered one of many stop-loss insurance coverage corporations that promise to pay claims over a sure greenback threshold in change for its personal common premiums. Sure, meaning corporations that enroll are paying for insurance coverage as an alternative of paying for insurance coverage — they’re betting that almost all workers gained’t have sufficient claims to justify conventional insurance coverage premiums but in addition betting that some employees may need enormous ones.
What makes Granular completely different from different stop-loss suppliers? That’s much less clear. The corporate advertises that “Granular makes use of an clever framework to higher defend self-funded employers from the price volatility of a workforce with various health-related wants,” however I feel that simply means it’s cheaper. I dug up some local government meeting materials from the San Joaquin Valley Insurance coverage Authority in Fresno County, California, and so they principally gave the impression to be contemplating Granular to switch their present stop-loss supplier as a result of the provide was aggressive.
However maybe it’s extra aggressive as a result of Google thinks its information makes for extra correct bets. The San Joaquin Valley Insurance coverage Authority notes that Granular could be offering its service alongside “Point6,” which seems to be this company that says it “brings actionable and built-in options targeted on the 0.6% of the worker inhabitants that’s driving 35% of employer healthcare expenditures.”
Both approach, it’s not precisely the picture that I sometimes affiliate with Google’s well being efforts. Initially, Verily was most intently related to the dream of a wise contact lens that’s long since been shelved.