Soda Well being launches to deal with well being inequities by paying for meals, OTC meds

Soda Well being, a brand new digital well being firm aiming to cut back well being inequalities by making a know-how framework that enables well being plans to reimburse for items and companies not supported by conventional medical claims, launched as we speak with $6 million in seed funding.

The corporate’s lead buyers are Lightspeed Enterprise Companions and Outline Ventures, with extra assist from Qiming Enterprise Companions USA.

Soda Well being relies in Bentonville, Ark., and was based by a gaggle of healthcare, retail and client expertise veterans from corporations resembling Walmart and Rally Well being.

The corporate’s providing offers customers well being plan debit playing cards to buy objects associated to the social determinants of well being, resembling wholesome meals, over-the-counter drugs and transportation companies. However as an alternative of charging well being plans for the playing cards upon distribution, Soda Well being defers the expense till the profit is redeemed.

For well being plans, Soda Well being has created a know-how platform to handle and administer advantages.

“We’re constructing a corporation solely devoted to eliminating well being inequities,” Robby Knight, Soda Well being cofounder and CEO, stated in a press release. “We accomplish that by making the healthcare transaction and expertise extra like retail purchases utilizing debit playing cards.

“Till now, the healthcare business has relied on legacy funds applied sciences which have left each well being plans and customers with a lower than optimum resolution. Our structure will meet clients’ evolving wants in a manner that till now nobody thought doable.”


It’s been nicely established for years that exterior components like housing, training, entry to healthcare, social inequities, institutional inequities and different social determinants of well being play a big function in an individual’s total well being.

Actually, it’s estimated that between 80% and 90% of an individual’s well being is set by environmental and behavioral influences, in response to the Nationwide Academy of Medication. In the meantime, nearly all of healthcare spending goes in the direction of direct medical companies – which frequently don’t handle these exterior components.

The COVID-19 pandemic has helped many understand this disconnect, and in flip, has elevated demand for modern SDOH packages.


Immediately, many digital well being startups are working to extend well being fairness whereas mitigating well being disparities.

Unite Us has a platform for connecting community-based organizations to well being organizations, insurers, governments and nonprofits. The corporate just lately acquired Carrot Well being to deepen its knowledge analytics capabilities, and earlier this yr closed a $150 million Sequence C funding spherical.

Cityblock is targeted on addressing the SDOH by utilizing know-how to assist create assist groups. The corporate developed a platform, referred to as the Commons, that integrates major care, behavioral well being, social companies and 24/7 digital care. It landed $192 million in a Sequence C extension funding spherical this March.

There’s additionally Medorion, an Israeli startup that designed a device that makes use of AI to undergo each medical claims and social determinants of well being knowledge and consider components driving a affected person’s healthcare selections. It scored $6 million in funding this July.


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