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Firm expands HQ, workforce to help folks pay medical bills

VisitPay is growing its Boise workforce at this leased office space at 1471 W. Shoreline Drive.
Photo courtesy of VisitPay

A Boise-based tech company’s growth is built on bringing resolution to one of health care’s greatest mysteries: helping decipher patients’ medical bills and find ways to cover often-unforeseen expenses.

Looking to help make a dent in the estimated $38 billion of unpaid hospital debt in the U.S., Kent Ivanoff, an Idaho native, leveraged his experience as a former Capital One executive to create an online company called VisitPay.

It’s a place where health consumers can see their bills, set up payment plans, and get more information about their insurance coverage in user-friendly English. In the process, VisitPay helps medical clients collect balances owned instead of having to write it off as bad debt.

Ivanoff, the company CEO and co-founder, said the business model is resonating with his medical customers and their patients. VisitPay already has processed more than $500 million in patient payments through its system.

The company currently employs 85 people in Boise, though they do have additional staff working remotely in other parts of the country. VisitPay is looking to fill 30 more positions in Boise this year, mostly in the areas of data and analytics.

Kent Ivanoff, VisitPay’s co-founder and CEO.

Finding a solution to a new economic reality that has shifted more financial responsibility to the health consumer, a commitment that can be burdensome for some, was the spark that prompted Ivanoff to start the firm nine years ago in his basement.

“We want to fundamentally change the consumer experience” when it comes paying bills, said Ivanoff. He emphasized that the company isn’t focused on collections, but rather on “patient financial engagement,” where they help individuals and families figure out realistic options, like setting up long-term payment plans.

So far, VisitPay has teamed up with providers such as St. Luke’s Health System, its first and oldest customer, since going live in 2014.

Coming on board in recent years are Intermountain Healthcare (Utah); INTEGRIS (Oklahoma); Inova (Virginia); Ascension (Missouri); and Henry Ford (Michigan). All operate non-for-profit hospitals.

“The sales call is typically to the chief financial officer of a hospital system with revenue cycle management responsibilities,” said Ivanoff.

The upshot: Clients typically report a 30% lift in self-pay collections over traditional billing processes, said Ivanoff of the privately held company, which raised about $20 million from three venture capital funds.

He said the company makes money on a subscription-based model that it charges its medical system customers to help better manage patient accounts so they don’t have to go to collections.

The firm has crunched data on the average balance of client debt of patients visiting the cloud-based website: It is primarily in the $1,000 to $1,500 range, said Ivanoff.  Still, some of these bills could have a serious consequence for those without savings. A recent survey showed that four in 10 Americans would be unable to pay an unexpected expense of $400 without borrowing money or selling something.

To keep up with the projected growth, VisitPay in July expanded its office space to a 16,000-square foot-facility at 1471 W. Shoreline Drive, where there’s sufficient space — for now — to accommodate to over 150 employees.

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