As Friday Shuts Down and Bright Teeters, Experts Offer Look at What Went Wrong

Friday Health Plans Management Services Company, Inc. is in the death throes of its life as an Affordable Care Act exchange insurer — regulators are stepping in to take over its operations, and it’s laying off all employees in its home state of Colorado. Meanwhile, Bright Health Group, Inc., which has already exited every ACA exchange in which it operated, reached a deal to sell its California Medicare Advantage plans to Molina Healthcare, Inc. in order to satisfy Bright’s creditors.

Experts tell AIS Health, a division of MMIT, that both insurers largely followed the same playbook: raising massive amounts of funding from venture capital (VC) investors and promising to delight customers with tech-driven, differentiated products. But those big plans fell apart when faced with the realities of an industry that is especially challenging to disrupt, and then capital infusions dried up when interest rates rose.

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Leslie Small

Leslie Small

Leslie has been working in journalism since 2009 and reporting on the health care industry since 2014. She has covered the many ups and downs of the Affordable Care Act exchanges, the failed health insurer mega-mergers, and hundreds of other storylines spanning subjects such as Medicaid managed care, Medicare Advantage, employer-sponsored insurance, and prescription drug coverage. As the managing editor of Health Plan Weekly and Radar on Drug Benefits, she writes and edits for both publications while overseeing a small team of reporters who also focus on the managed care sector. Before joining AIS Health, she was a senior editor for the e-newsletter Fierce Health Payer, and she started her career as a copy editor at multiple local newspapers. She graduated with a dual degree in journalism and political science from Penn State University.

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