For what seems like the millionth time, I’m back at the pediatrician’s office. I love the staff here, but they know me all too well. Christian and Logan have been here no less than three times this week. Once for an ear infection (I knew it) and then for some rash that one of them picked up at school. I don’t pay anything when I walk up to that front window, but I know there will be a sizable bill in the mail within the next few weeks.
This was my life last year. Scratch that. It’s been my life every winter for the last three years. Something would be wrong with one of the kids, I would get called home from work and have to take a half-sick day so I could get them to the doctor’s office. I wanted them to be well. So we would go without fail after a nagging cough or an infant crying spell that included pulling at their ears.
But as much as I love the staff at the pediatrician’s office, it gets…. old.
In September, a local startup decided to change the game and give us back some sanity. Ardina is a small company with only two full-time employees. But these two former Cardinal Health workers have a big idea: accessible health care at a low cost. Cardinal thinks it’s such a good idea, they’re an investor in this venture.
“We had an itch to try something on our own.”
That’s Shaun Young, CEO of Ardina. His right-hand and co-founder Stephanie Murnen sits next to us and nods her head in agreement, while we’re sitting casually doing an interview at Rev1 Ventures in Grandview. This concept was born out of a place of career passions and compassion. They wanted people like you and I to have access to health care quickly and at low cost for a long time– they just weren’t sure how they were going to do it until this past year.
“What’s been consistent is we’ve wanted to bring more of a digital marketplace for health care to the consumer.”
Shaun and Stephanie originally were going to focus on colleges, and introduce some form of virtual student health care. But then they started hearing stories from the home front– moms of younger kids who were taking them to urgent care four to five times a year or even going to the pediatrician on the weekend when they knew their child had pink eye. Small business owners who were paying outrageous out-of-pocket expenses if they went to the doctor, so they chose not to go at the expense of their health.
And from those stories and needs, Ardina was created. It’s a one-stop online shop for vision, dental, medical, and mental health care. They even consult with their customers on fitness and aging parents. They do it all online, through a portal, that customers can access anytime and anywhere. You are connected immediately with a doctor, thanks to technology that went live in September. You pay $10 a month or $20 a month depending on the plan you choose.
The reason the cost is low? Ardina has a direct relationship with doctors. Shaun says it makes so much sense.
“We started with– What are all of those expenses that those of us who have high deductibles are paying for out-of-pocket and how do we help with those?”
Small businesses, moms, millennials. Once someone tries the product, the team of two says they love it. So now it’s their job to get the word out about the technology. In the last few months, they’ve been presenting the concept to those who could use it the most at local seminars.
Ardina has a fifty state network. You select the state you’re in and you’re connected with a health care professional there. They’ve contracted with Teladoc and Aetna so you’ll find the right match.
But how can you be confident the doctor is going to get the diagnosis right? I definitely had that question when I sat down to meet with the founders. Stephanie explained how it works.
“They have protocols they follow for each set of symptoms. If they get to a point where they are just not sure, there’s also a photo upload tool and you can video chat.”
They compare it to a Minute Clinic. Urinary tract infections, strep throat, and sinus infections can be handled in a matter of minutes with a prescription from your online doctor. That doctor sends the script to one of the pharmacies in the Ardina network. That network list is long.
One of their best analogies I heard during our chat: this is like AAA Auto Club for your health insurance.
“We really want people to have access to healthcare. We don’t want cost to be the reason that you’re avoiding healthcare.”
To learn more about how Ardina works and if it’s the right fit for you or your family, click here.
And since you’ve just gone through that special time of year, Open Enrollment season, Ardina has a discount for you: you can get 10% off your membership for a year with the code: openenrollment2015.
If you have any questions or concerns while you’re looking through the material, reach out to Ardina at firstname.lastname@example.org
My boys are in bed tonight, and I was just thinking about this– we’ve been fortunate not to have any major ailments so far this fall. Now that winter is here, I know that there will be a few reasons to reach out to a doctor. But I also know this winter I won’t have to feel like I’m a frequent flyer in a program that has no perks every time I visit the doctor’s office. Instead, I can first try Ardina.