The consumer woes and need for help won't lessen if the ACA is repealed, as Republicans have promised to do under Trump. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that 18 million Americans would lose their health insurance in the first year of an ACA repeal that matches a 2015 congressional plan, and up to 32 million by 2026.
In any event, consumers will likely have to bear even more of the burden under Trump, said Steve Kraus, a partner at Bessemer Venture Partners, a venture capital firm that invests in health-care start-ups. That could be good news for start-ups marketing directly to consumers, but maybe not as much for the consumers who have to go through the health-care shopping experience.
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"If billions of health-care searches on Google tell us anything, it's that consumers are already searching for such information," Vivero said.There are resources out there — insurance portals, employer intranets, state websites — that can tell consumers how much procedures might cost them, but they aren't being used, Vivero said. Amino's goal is to change that.
Amino has raised at least $26 million in four rounds of funding, according to CrunchBase. Remedy and GoodRx have raised $1.9 million and $1.5 million, respectively. But none of the companies would share revenue or user traffic figures. Their CEOs say they are seeing the impact in terms of the number of searches and visitors on their sites, but would not provide any specifics.
Health start-ups plan to expand, but Kraus warned against doing so too quickly. Direct-to-consumer business models are less reliable than B2B models, so there's even greater risk of trying to grow a company too fast to be sustainable. "Health care doesn't hyperscale," Kraus said. "New companies often require a decade to truly become established."