Sunday, July 5, 2015

$17M for worker health plan cost-cuts firm

Plymouth Meeting firm is backed by Comcast

$17M for worker health plan cost-cuts firm

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Accolade Inc., a Plymouth Meeting-based management service that gets paid to help companies spend less on employee healthcare, told the Securities and Exchange Commission it raised $17 million from investors last month, plus $4 million back in January.

Accolade's board includes former U.S. Sen. Dr. William Frist, R-Tenn., and former Aetna chief executive Dr. John Rowe. Accolade didn't name its new investors, but here's a hint: Comcast Interactive Capital managing director Michael Yang (a former Yahoo executive) joined the board this year. Directors also include two general partners at NY-based Accretive LLC, which started Accolade. Accretive also started the Fandango movie-ticketing service and sold it to Comcast in 2007.

Accolade's CEO is former Accenture executive Thomas Spann, and he's hired a team of more than a dozen managers who include veterans of health insurers Wellpoint, United Health, Cigna, Anthem BlueCross - plus ex-TV Guide marketing chief John Geiger. Spann wasn't available for comment.

How lucrative is the healthcare-cost-control business? Buyout giants BC Partners and Silver Lake bought New York-based MultiPlan Inc., which says it processes claims for insurers, 5,000 hospitals and over 600,000 doctors and other practicioners today from previous owners Carlyle Group and Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe. Wall St Journal reported the buyers paid $3.1 billion, and  BC isn't disputing that figure. Carlyle and partners invested around $20 million in MultiPlan back in 2006.

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PhillyDeals posts drafts, transcripts and updates of Joseph N. DiStefano's columns and stories about Philly-area business, which he's been writing since 1989.

DiStefano studied economics, history and a little engineering at Penn and taught writing at St. Joseph's. He has written thousands of columns and articles for the Inquirer, Bloomberg and other media, wrote the book Comcasted, and raised six children with his wife, who is a saint.

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Reach Joseph N. at JoeD@phillynews.com or 215 854 5194.

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