New Partnership Allows Decent to Offer Health Plans to Small Businesses, Self-Employed in Texas’ Rural Communities
Decent’s virtual health plans can make accessing a doctor easier, especially in areas facing a primary care shortage.
Austin, Texas, Oct. 07, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Decent, an Austin, Texas-based startup disrupting the health insurance industry through a partnership with the Texas Freelance Association, will soon offer health plans in small and rural towns throughout the state, expanding access to health insurance in regions where there has always been limited availability.
“Most rural Texans live in ‘health insurance deserts’ where there is just one expensive health plan option that costs more than their mortgage. It means many forego coverage altogether,” explained Nick Soman, CEO and co-founder of Decent.
Decent is able to extend its unique health plans to small businesses in rural Texas in addition to major cities such as Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas, under a partnership with AXA, a global leader in insurance, which allows Decent to use its extensive medical network for wraparound coverage for its members and immediate families. In 2018, Decent, with the Texas Freelance Association, launched health plans for self-employed individuals in Austin, Texas and recently announced it would also offer health plans to small businesses.
“Small businesses and entrepreneurs often are presented with two inadequate choices – health insurance that is expensive or health insurance that is skimpy,” explained Soman. “We started Decent to give groups left out of the current marketplace access to health insurance, which should be available no matter where you live.”
Rethinking Rural Health Insurance
Texas has one of the largest rural populations in the U.S., making up about 10 percent of the state’s total population of 29 million. Health insurance deserts refers to geographic areas where there is only one option for private insurance.
“Most rural Americans work for small businesses, yet many small businesses can’t afford to offer the available healthcare options to their employees. It’s a ‘lose-lose’ for everyone. We’re re-thinking how it can be done and done well,” said Soman.
Decent’s health plans are unique in two major ways, explains Soman. Decent helps small businesses and entrepreneurs band together to take advantage of a business practice called “self-insurance” to “level the playing field” with large employers who have been using self-insurance for years to control and reduce medical costs. Decent can do this by pooling categories of small businesses, such as technology firms and oil and gas companies.
The health insurance startup also prioritizes free primary care to help members access it when they need helpful guidance to avoid unnecessary trips to expensive points of care, such as freestanding emergency rooms (ERs) and hospital ERs. Small businesses in rural Texas will have access to Decent’s “virtual health plan,” the first of its kind in the U.S., which offers members a dedicated U.S.-based primary care physician anytime and anywhere via