My Startup Story: How a McKinney Couple Wants to Change the View on Healthcare

Whether someone wants to call a doctor instead of go to an office, email one with specific questions, or simply save money on healthcare, freshbenies works to provide it all through its membership card program.

Reid Rasmussen thought there had to be a better way to navigate and understand healthcare. So, he co-founded freshbenies with his wife, Heidi, as a way to make doctors only a call or an email away to answer medical questions and write prescriptions, while also providing other benefits.

The McKinney-based company wants to change the way people view their healthcare by saving its members money on healthcare, while keeping business simple and fun.

“We started the company to help people control their healthcare. To date, I think we’re at $72 million saved,” Heidi told Dallas Innovates. “These savings are shared among employers and employees who have freshbenies as part of their benefits package, as well as individuals who’ve purchased a membership for their family.”

Founded in 2009 as a response to what Americans would need if the Affordable Care Act passed, freshbenies has an estimated $7.4 million in annual revenue, according to Crunchbase. It has appeared four years in a row on the Inc. 5000 list of the nation’s 5,000 fastest-growing private companies, coming in at No. 3135 in 2018. Inc. said it had 126 percent three-year growth.

And, according to the company website, it donates 20 percent of its profits to charities that have a positive impact on healthcare in the U.S. and globally.

One of freshbenies’ main features is Telehealth, which allows members to call a doctor at any time who can provide a diagnosis, treatment options, and a prescription, if needed. Seventy percent of medical issues can be solved via a phone call or video chat, according to freshbenies. Through Telehealth and its doctor emailing system called Doctors Online, freshbenies hopes to lessen the need for waiting at the doctor’s office.

“They ask you a lot of questions then, and then they go, ‘Boy, that really sounds like strep throat. I’m going to call you in a prescription,’ or, ‘Hey, I’m not sure of it. So, let’s do this first, and I’m going to give you some over-the-counter ideas and then if it doesn’t get better in a couple of days call back, and we’ll do something else,'” Heidi says. “It’s basically just having a doctor on speed dial.”

freshbenies also works like a TripAdvisor for doctors’ visits by helping members find the best deals when it comes to procedures. If three doctors in the same area offer three different prices, freshbenies works to find the best option and even negotiate the best deal for payments and prescription pricing.

Sometimes, members can save money on healthcare just by showing their freshbenies ID card, according to Heidi.

“Basically, you go to one of our providers, flash your freshbenies card at them, and you get a discounted price,” Heidi says.

Although this membership card program helps people save money, make no mistake, it’s not a replacement for health insurance. The program also offers legal savings, pet care savings, and caregiver support, depending on the package that’s bought. freshbenies works to provide opportunities for saving both time and money, no matter if it’s related to dental, vision, chiropractic, or other types of healthcare.

According to Heidi Rasmussen, one of the most frequently asked questions company gets is, “where did the name come from?”

In a company video, here’s how she explains it.

“People say, ‘oh, fresh beanies!’ 

I’m like, ‘No, it’s not beanies.’ 

Then it’s like, ‘fresh berries!’ 

No, it’s not berries. No, we don’t sell hats, and we don’t sell produce. We sell benefits. Fresh benefits: Benies—as in a fresh approach to benefits. 

We asked, ‘How can we be different in the healthcare space? How can we be very consumer oriented?’ You look at the PNC insurance industry and you see cavemen, and you see Flo, and you see a duck … We said, if they can do that, why can’t we have a little bit of fun.

We wanted to simplify things in the healthcare industry. That’s where we got the whole idea behind freshbenies. They are fresh, and they are benefits. The Urban Dictionary term for benefits is benies. That’s how we came up with  the name freshbenies.”

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