Reinventing Health Benefits with Will Young of Sana

Leslie Harding
September 13, 2021

In a world where the cost of health benefits seems to be ever increasing, Will Young and the team at Sana offer small and medium-sized businesses health benefits for 20% less than coverage from legacy carriers. In this episode, Will gives us all the details on how they’ve modernized and simplified health benefits to provide great coverage employees love that costs less than traditional health plans.

Will’s Journey to Co-founding Sana

During business school, Will became fascinated with SaaS solutions, especially as they were moving into the cloud. All of a sudden small businesses were getting access to services and tools that previously weren’t available to them. As part of the process of learning about this, he came across JustWorks. He was really excited about the vision and the team there, so he joined them when they had just 10 employees. Over the next few years, not only did he learn how to build a company from the ground up, he also learned how expensive health insurance is for small businesses. 

Providing insurance carries with it a cost and administrative burden. He also observed that there seemed to be much less innovation in traditional health insurance compared to all the innovations happening with ancillary coverage. All of this opportunity for innovation led him to start Sana, where he’s been CEO for the past four years. 

Roadblocks to Innovation in Traditional Health Plans 

Will tells us the most immediate issue in health insurance right now is distribution. It’s hard to bring innovative products out to the market, and it’s hard to get great products into employers’ hands. There are also regulatory hurdles and outdated technology at both carriers and employers often isn’t set up to work with new solutions quickly. Healthcare has so many pieces, and so many that aren’t working well. The team at Sana has really thought about these issues holistically and tackled them from many angles while creating their health benefit solution. 

The Sana Difference

Sana offers health benefits with innovative network solutions and great service, built on a foundation of automation that facilitates lower administrative costs. A key differentiator for Sana is their partnerships with the next generation of care solutions, like Maven, Ginger, Vita, and more. These partnerships are a great way to bring new, innovative care options to employees without having to manage multiple direct relationships with healthcare service providers.

Sana approaches building their plans differently. The customer comes first, and plans are built around their unique needs. It’s all about building trust with the team, investing in technology that can move the needle, and embracing new solutions. Better healthcare leads to lower overall health costs, so it is always worth it to invest in members and offer forward-thinking care options. 

Expansion and Growth: What’s Next for Sana

Will shares with us that state expansion will be a key factor in Sana’s future growth. Right now they serve companies with locations in Arizona, Illinois, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Ohio, and Texas, and they are working quickly to expand their footprint. 

Sana is also transitioning from being a health plan to providing healthcare directly. In the fall they will be opening a primary care clinic for members in Austin, Texas. The new practice will have a concierge model with proactive care and deep relationships. They will increasingly invest in positioning Sana and its own physicians as the healthcare provider, which will enable them to offer even more high-quality care options to their members.

To hear more insights from Will, including more on how the pandemic impacted Sana, listen to Episode 27 of Better Benefits now. If you enjoy the episode, don’t forget to subscribe and leave us a review on your favorite podcast platform. 

Will’s Recommended Resource

On every episode of Better Benefits, we ask our expert guests for a book or resource they’d recommend to others working in the benefits space. This week, Will recommended The Innovator’s Dilemma and The Innovator’s Solution by Clayton Christensen, who he was lucky enough to have as a professor during business school. Both books describe how hard it is for large companies to innovate. Will reports that these works changed his life because they opened his eyes to why startups work. He saw that it’s very possible for small startups to take on the big guys with innovative products,

If you’d like to connect with Will and the team at Sana, you can visit the Sana website and request a quote.

Note, this episode is for informational and educational purposes only. Will Young and Sana are not endorsed, affiliated with, nor compensated by Ansel Insurance Inc.

If you want to get in touch with Mike or learn more about Ansel, visit our website or email us at