Picwell Names Matthew Sydney CEO

Picwell’s decision support platform is used by insurance carriers, brokers and benefit enrollment platforms to help their members choose the optimal health insurance coverage for the coming year. 

(The front facade of the Philadelphia Museum of Art at night. Photo credit: Nfutvol.)

Picwell, Inc. (Philadelphia), provider of a predictive recommendation engine for consumer health plan selection, , has appointed Matthew Sydney as the company’s chief executive officer. Mr. Sydney succeeds Jay Silverstein, who will continue to serve as an advisor to the Picwell Board of Directors..)

Sydney most recently held the position of executive vice president of sales at HealthEquity (Draper, Utah), one of the nation’s largest dedicated health savings custodians. HealthEquity services more than 2.3 million health savings accounts for 80 health plan partners and employees at more than 33,000 companies across the United States.

Matthew Sydney, CEO, Picwell.

Matthew Sydney, CEO, Picwell.

“Matt’s deep health plan expertise and digital insurance industry knowledge will help Picwell bring its groundbreaking consumer decision support tool to more insurance carriers, brokers, employers, and consumers,” comments Christopher Zock, Chairman of Picwell’s board of directors and VP at Sandbox Industries (Chicago), the exclusive provider of investment management services to Blue Cross Blue Shield Venture Partners, a corporate venture fund owned and governed by the participating Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) companies, that invests in promising emerging companies of strategic relevance to BCBS health plans.

Reducing Time that Consumers Spend Selecting Plans

Picwell’s decision support platform is used by insurance carriers, brokers and benefit enrollment platforms to help their members choose the optimal health insurance coverage for the coming year. Picwell’s approach uses machine learning and behavioral economics to predict a specific individual’s future healthcare costs. This predictive cost data is then integrated with the consumer’s physician network and risk exposure preferences to prioritize the health insurance plans that best fit that individual’s needs.  By filtering out less-appropriate plan choices from the start, Picwell’s platform reduces the time that consumers spend selecting plans during open enrollment, thus improving operational efficiencies and staffing levels for carrier and broker call-center representatives and corporate benefit departments.

“Picwell addresses the significant challenge faced by the average American consumer when trying to select a health insurance plan amongst the increasing complexity of health insurance plan designs and configurations,” comments Sydney. “Picwell’s data-driven approach has demonstrated that it can solve the problem of consumer choice error and product misalignment. By guiding the consumer to the appropriate plan, Picwell reduces the cost for the individual, while significantly reducing time and cost inefficiencies across the entire health insurance industry.”

Picwell’s patent pending algorithmic approach was built upon research conducted by professors at the University of Pennsylvania in partnership with Picwell’s analytics team. “Our research at Picwell demonstrates that the average household makes a $1,300 annual error in selecting health plan coverage, either by under- or over-insuring,” comments Jonathan Kolstad, co-founder of Picwell, professor at the Haas School at the University of California, Berkeley and a former assistant professor at University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. “Unlike the simplistic guides and calculators on the market that ask a consumer to guess his or her future healthcare needs through an intrusive and lengthy questionnaire, Picwell’s sophisticated analytics engine instantly forecasts an individual’s likely healthcare costs by leveraging public and proprietary data on millions of Americans, while also contemplating behavioral factors such as risk aversion.”

Significant and Immediate Benefit 

“It is an honor to join Picwell as CEO,” adds Sydney. “Picwell represents the next generation of digital health consumer decision support. Each year, over 230 million Americans enroll in commercial healthcare plans, and over 50 million Americans need to navigate the broad and confusing array of choices available under Medicare. We have an opportunity to help tens of millions of Americans choose the right plan next year, and I am very excited about the significant and immediate benefit Picwell is already bringing to the U.S. healthcare market.”

Sydney has over 18 years of experience helping health plans and employers develop and implement health and benefits programs while focusing on education and greater engagement. He began his career as a health and benefits consultant at Towers Perrin, before serving as Director of Product and Business Development at IntelliHealth, an Aetna company. He served as VP at LifeCare before joining HealthEquity in 2005. He received a Masters of Public Health degree from Emory University and a Bachelors of Science degree from the University of Michigan.

Anthony R. O’Donnell // Anthony O'Donnell is Executive Editor of Insurance Innovation Reporter. For nearly two decades, he has been an observer and commentator on the use of information technology in the insurance industry, following industry trends and writing about the use of IT across all sectors of the insurance industry. He can be reached at [email protected] or (503) 936-2803.

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