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Boise company demystifying the medical bill

When Kent Ivanoff moved back to his home state of Idaho from Virginia, he decided that his next business would do something to make medical billing more predictable, effective, and user-friendly.

You know how a medical visit these days tends to result in a welter of confusing bills and mysterious charges? Well, Kent Ivanoff used to get those bills, too. When the former Capital One executive moved back to his home state of Idaho from Virginia to raise his family in 2008, he decided that his next business would do something to make medical billing more predictable, effective, and user-friendly.

The result: VisitPay, a Boise software company that in November received its first professional investment, a $15 million infusion from Flare Capital, Norwest Venture Partners and Ascension Ventures.

Ascension Ventures and from Norwest Venture Partners in Silicon Valley for its patient financial services program. VisitPay, which counts among its clients St. Luke’s in Boise and Intermountain Health in Utah, provides an online platform where health consumers can see their bills, set up payment plans, and get more information about their insurance coverage.

Ivanoff founded VisitPay – then called iVinci Health – with Vince Martino, another former senior executive from Capital One, in his basement and staffed it with data analysts who were also Capital One alums. VisitPay’s clients have about $30 billion in revenue, he said. He expects that to double in the next six months.

The existing way that patients pay for health care is not just confusing; it’s ineffective. Patients tend to pay only $30 to $40 on every $100 they’re billed, said Ivanoff – far less than they tend to pay on other purchases, such as washing machines. VisitPay promises to raise that ratio, in part by offering payment plans of up to 36 months.

Ivanoff was also prompted to start VisitPay by the passage of the Affordable Care Act, predicting it would send a lot of health consumers to high-deductible health plans, which would move the burden of many payments to people, not insurance companies.

It took the team seven years, longer than Ivanoff expected, to create VisitPay. Ivanoff and others bootstrapped the company at first, and then they did a round of angel funding in 2011. In 2014, they raised another $5 million from existing investors and from two new ones – Intermountain in Salt Lake City, and Inova in northern Virginia.

Along the way, Ivanoff worked very closely for a year with Jeff Taylor, chief financial officer at St. Luke’s, to learn about the existing billing system and how to improve it. The $2 billion St. Luke’s, with eight hospitals and more than 200 medical offices in Oregon and Idaho, was a good fit for VisitPay, Ivanoff said, because it has a close alliance with the insurance company SelectHealth, enabling VisitPay to integrate the company's explanation of benefits into bills.

“If the health system has a partnership with an insurance company, like SelectHealth, we can create complete transparency on the whole ecosystem,” said Ivanoff, who now manages his own family's medical bills through VisitPay.

For more information about VisitPay, see the full column online at Idaho Business Review.

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