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For the 45M Americans without dental insurance, Brighter offers discounts and price comparisons
Jake Winebaum, the former chairman of the Walt Disney Internet Group and the founder of Business.com, has a new project: Brighter.com, a searchable dental health resource that lets consumers without dental insurance search for affordable and discounted dental procedures.
The timing is ironic, as I have a dentist appointment this afternoon, despite my multi-year avoidance of the dentist, which has resulted in cavities in all four of the wisdom teeth I never had removed.
But I'm still one of the lucky ones. An estimated 45 million Americans do not have dental insurance, according to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control in 2010. For those 45 million, a simple cleaning can be budget-breaking out-of-pocket expense. So for those people, Brighter.com offers price-negotiated discounts on procedures such as cleaning, x-rays, crowns, and even root canals from over 25,000 dentists across the country.
Discounts range from 20-60% off what an uninsured patient would typically have to pay out of pocket, and the site allows users to see exactly how much a procedure typically costs and how much of a discount they can get. For example, the price of a routine adult cleaning averages $94, but a Brighter.com user can get a discount of 55% off, paying only $42 out of pocket.
The site offers two membership packages to choose from. The free membership allows users to search and compare prices and dentists for free, but the discounts available to them will be limited to a maximum of 40% off. For those who don’t mind paying a monthly fee of $7, or an annual fee of $79, larger discounts are available.
"Brighter is an early example of real health care reform where consumers can make direct and informed buying decisions regarding the cost and quality of their care," said Brighter.com founder and CEO Jake Winebaum in a statement. "With Brighter, we have created a true marketplace for dental care that makes it easy for consumers to find the right dentist at a fair price, and in many cases cut their dental bills in half.”
But price isn’t the site’s only focus. Dentist reviews and ratings are also available, with recommendations for the top Yelp-rated dentists. Consumers can check out reviews, locations, compare ratings, and find the most affordable procedure all from the same page.
Brighter.com closed a $5 million Series A round led by Mayfield Fund in January.
“Our partnership with Jake illustrates our belief that early-stage venture capital is all about investing in relationships, not just transactions," said Navin Chaddha, managing director of Mayfield Fund, in a statement. "We have worked closely over the last 18 months from the seed through series A investment phase to iterate business ideas. By investing in a serial entrepreneur of his stature, in Brighter, we are now part of an audacious company that will transform the way consumers access dental care."
Image source: Brighter.com
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