- Her healthcare company eternalHealth uses technology developed by her father, a noted entrepreneur and innovator of disruptive business solutions.
Indian American entrepreneur Pooja Ika has launched eternalHealth, a new Medicare Advantage Health Plan, the first to be approved in Massachusetts since 2013. The 24-year-old becomes the first woman and the youngest founder of a healthcare company, which aims to deliver high-quality and affordable Medicare Advantage plans. Ika serves as the Boston-based company’s CEO.
Since its inception in 2019, eternalHealth has grown to a team of 20 and has raised a seed round of $10 million from successful healthcare and tech entrepreneurs. It also attracted the attention of Red Sox legend David Ortiz, popularly known as Big Papi, who has partnered with the company as its brand ambassador.
While “80 percent of healthcare decisions are made by women for their families, women remain unrepresented in the healthcare industry,” Ika says on the company’s website. “Having women at the forefront of our company increases engagement, improves outcomes, and enables us to make more comprehensive decisions around healthcare for the entire family,” she adds.
Ika launched eternalHelth after graduating from Babson College with a joint concentration in Strategic Management and Entrepreneurship.
Explaining the company’s principles, Ika writes that at its core, the company beehives in “operating with trust, transparency, and integrity with all of our partners. This includes our members, health systems, doctors, and all other healthcare delivery partners,” she notes. “We went through a rightful and rigorous vetting process by state officials and now, we are excited to say we’re the first new health plan launched in Massachusetts since 2013.”
According to a company press release, “through its technology-driven, innovative platform, eternalHealth substantially reduces the administrative and operating costs across its entire enterprise. The cost savings allow more dollars to be allocated towards actual medical care, while also passing down savings to members through robust, yet affordable products.”
In a letter to Massachusetts residents on eternalHealth’s website, Ika At eternalHealth, we tell our members that we want to be their forever partner in healthcare. Adding that eternalHealth is “a woman-owned, women-run, and women-built company,” Ika says that “by investing in education and retention strategies for women, we will be able to foster both professional growth and development, ultimately increasing the representation of women at executive levels in this industry. We want our work force to represent the people of Massachusetts and beyond, and so we are committed to inclusivity and diversity in all forms,” says the young businesswoman.
Ika has been surrounded by the healthcare industry for as long as she can remember, she tells Massachusetts residents in the letter. “One of my fondest memories growing up as a child was accompanying my mother to her office.” Ika’s mother was a primary care physician in Worcester “and seeing the relationships and bonds she was able to build with her patients inspired me even at the age of 10.”
Until her senior year of high school, she wanted to be a doctor and follow in her mother’s footsteps, she writes. “However, as I learned more about myself, I realized that my true calling was in health insurance and that this industry is a place where I could harness my own skillset to its fullest potential to initiate real change. Now, I wake up every morning excited at the opportunity to be able to be an advocate for my members and truly transform the health insurance landscape for the better.”
The Boston Business Journal notes that eternalHealth uses technology developed by Ika’s father, a noted entrepreneur and innovator of disruptive business solutions. Ravi Ika founded nirvanaHealth, formerly known as RxAdvance in 2013 and serves as president and chief executive officer of the full-service pharmacy benefit management (PBM) company. He previously founded ikaSystems, a pharmaceutical payer platform company he sold to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan in 2015.