When Jack Hooper and his wife found out they were expecting twins, they found themselves in a bit of a dilemma.
“We had to figure out how much [health insurance] was going to cost,” said Hooper, a 2002 Highland Park High School graduate. “We were on student loans at the time and I was needing to secure more financial aid, and we just had no idea with twins, was it going to be $5,000, $10,000, $100,000?”
Hooper was using student loans at the time because he was in graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania.
After finding out about the twins on the way, he began speaking with doctors, receptionists, and insurance brokers at the university’s hospital. But the graduate student wasn’t having much luck.
“None of them had any idea,” he said. “So figuring out health insurance kind of became a necessity for me and I spent a lot of time researching it, and then realized, ‘Hey, a lot of people face these kind of problems when they’re trying to choose insurance or use insurance, but it’s kind of a black box. You get bills three or four months later and you have no idea if it’s going to be $50 or $500.”
The need for more information sparked an idea, and that’s when Hooper created Take Command Health, a website that helps users find the best insurance plan for them.
“What makes our website different than healthcare.gov or ehealthinsurance.com or other brokerage firms, is we’ve done a lot of extensive research on medical claims and prescription drugs,” he said. “So as a consumer, if you come and tell us a little bit about your condition and history and needs, we can average out the best plan for you.”
Users participate in an online interview, where the site asks questions about the person’s health, prescriptions, location, and doctors.
“From there, we recommend three different plans, and they are unbiased,” Hooper said. “The first recommended plan is what we estimate to be the best value overall. Then we recommend a plan with the most doctors, and then finally, one that is the least risky. We set up scenarios, and you can play with these what-if scenarios to figure out the best plan for you.”
During open-enrollment, Hooper said that typically 88 percent of people will choose the wrong plan, which will cost them more than $500.
“This is putting power in the consumer’s corner with some real data and research behind it, so they can make a smarter decision,” he said.