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Chicago-based company shifts from advocacy model to scalable online platform
DisputeBills, provider of a medical bill reduction solution for individuals and businesses, today announced that it has closed a $400,000 seed round led by Chicago angel investor Stephen Lee.
Lee was also one of the Chicago-based company's original co-founders and serves on its board of directors. Other companies funded by the angel investor include “crowdcasting” platform Surkus, organic food delivery service Eat Purely, and and Fabio Viviani Wines, a wine company fueled by curation from celebrity chef Fabio Viviani.
The idea behind DisputeBills is exactly as the name suggests. Faced with $156,000 in medical bills after his father suffered a heart attack, co-founder Matt Moulakelis thought of challenging some of those bills. As the company story goes, over $100,000 of those bills proved faulty.
Since its launch last March, DisputeBills says it has a 90 percent success rate and has saved its customers over $500,000 in healthcare costs.
Though the company wouldn’t tell me how many total customers have been served, part of today’s announcement is about scaling from “a medical billing advocacy firm into a scalable, easy-to-use platform (think CreditKarma for medical bills) that makes disputing bills fast and push-button-easy,” according to a spokesperson.
Within the new online platform going live today, users can submit their bills, chat with a “billing advocate,” and track the progress of their case and savings in real time.
DisputeBills offers two distinct pricing models for the client to choose between: you can either consult with the company for $100 per hour or you can let the company take a 30 percent cut of total savings. In the latter case, the service is entirely free if DisputeBills doesn’t end up saving you money.
Based on a perusal of the company’s blog, it appears that DisputeBills tends to target those patients who either don’t have much experience with dealing with healthcare costs or don’t have the resources to sift through all the nuances involved in their care.
As indicated by a few posts from 2015 (e.g. "Seniors and Medical Bills: The 5 Most Common Causes of Medical Charges," "The Young Professional's Guide to Health Insurance," and “The Top 10 Ways Millennials are Shaping Healthcare”), this audience tends to mostly be young people like millennials or seniors.
Not that fact-checking medical bills is something that should be reserved for these groups. A quick Google search reveals many tips for disputing medical bills on your own. DisputeBills, recognizing that many medical bills might be erroneously overcharging, offers patients a way to save on some of those costs without having to become paperwork detectives themselves.
The company says it will use its new funding to launch and develop the new online platform building on its prior success as an advocacy firm.
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DisputeBills is a national provider of consumer focused, medical billing review and negotiations services. Through a combination of technology and experienced advocacy, the company advocates for patients to lower or even eliminate unpaid medical debt. To date, the company has seen nearly $1 million in medical debt across the platform, saving patients over $500,000.