AOL co-founder unveils Web health service
Case debuts Revolution Health site to help customers choose doctors, treatments and deal with insurance hassles.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Steve Case, the co-founder of America Online, Monday launched a Web service to provide medical information and help with insurance to customers.
The site, RevolutionHealth.com, will provide ratings for doctors, hospitals and different treatment options.
"Isn't it crazy that we have ratings to help us pick movies, restaurants and hotels - but no comparable rools to help evaluate doctors, hospitals and treatments?" Case wrote in his introductory letter. "We aim to change that -- and with your help, we will."
He also is offering premium services to help clients of the Web site untangle problems with insurance, chose from insurance options, and find doctors and services they are seeking. The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that he plans to eventually charge $100 a year for a subscription to that service, but the fees are waived for 2007.
Among the people whom Case describes as co-founder of the site are former Secretary of State Colin Powell, former Hewlett Packard (Charts) Chairman and CEO Carly Fiorina, former Fannie Mae (Charts) Chairman Franklin Raines and venture capitalist Jim Barksdale, who had been Chairman and CEO of Netscape and a board member of America Online when it purchased Time Warner (Charts) in a deal Case engineered in 2000. CNNMoney is a unit of Time Warner.
Shares of the combined AOL-Time Warner plunged after the merger was completed in 2001, and Case was forced to resign as chairman in January 2003.
Since leaving Time Warner, Case has also started Exclusive Resorts, a privately-held firm which offers 1,800 members the chance to stay in 300 luxury vacation homes in more than 30 locations around the world.
Case's letter says said that he became interested in providing a service for patients starting in 2001, when his brother was diagnosed with a brain tumor.
"The deeper our family moved into the health care system, the more I came to realize that today's system is challenging to everyone," he writes in his letter on the site. "Even though the United States has many of the world's best doctors, hospitals, and technologies, the 'system' continues to make things difficult, cumbersome and frustrating."
The Journal reports than in response to the start-up of RevolutionHealth, competing site WebMD, a unit of Emdeon Corp. (Charts) is announcing a revamped site with new tools that match some of those offered by RevolutionHealth.com.