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Exclusive: Fair Square earns $15M to help seniors navigate Medicare

Illustration of a cane forming the center staff of a caduceus.

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

Senior insurance navigator Fair Square Medicare garnered $15 million in Series A funding, CEO Daniel Petkevich tells Axios exclusively.

Why it matters: Like other forms of public and private health insurance, Medicare is exceedingly complex and opaque β€” or as Petkevich describes it, "heinous" β€” making selecting a plan difficult.

Deal details: Define Ventures led the round and was joined by Slow Ventures and YCombinator.

  • The new capital brings the San Diego company's total funding to $19 million.

Context: Fair Square's clearest rivals include traditional Medicare brokers and Quil, the senior care navigation company created in 2018 as a joint venture between Comcast and Independence Health Care.

Separately, a handful of other elder care-focused startups have raised funds of late including:

How it works: Fair Square's website helps seniors shop for Medicare, Medigap and Medicare Advantage using an algorithm that ingests information about their needs and budget.

  • The company makes money via commissions from payers.

By the numbers: A recent Kaiser Family Foundation analysis concluded that every year, 57% of Medicare enrollees don’t assess their coverage options, in part due to comprehension difficulties.

  • That percentage is higher among those aged 85+, those with lower incomes, people with lower education levels and people in fair or poor health, the report found.

What they're saying: Define Ventures partner Chirag Shah sees long term potential for Fair Square to be a trusted brand for seniors looking for assistance.

  • The company presents an "opportunity to create a long-term relationship and affect the entirety of the care experience," Shah says. "This journey starts with the plan you pick and ends a very long time after that."

What's next: Petkevich plans to use the new capital to hire and to expand Fair Square's services to include:

  • Appointment scheduling.
  • Help finding low-cost prescriptions.
  • Clinical consults for every day health questions.
  • Access to virtual chronic care services.

πŸ’­ Our thought bubble: Given the above, we could see Fair Square eventually scooping up a virtual chronic care startup such as Welldoc, or a senior-focused digital pharmacy like PharmScript.

  • "Right now our expertise is in software," says Petkevich. "In the future, could there be a world where we spin up our own services? Maybe."
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