Phoenix entrepreneur creates RexPay app to cure medical bill mayhem

Above: Rachel Mertensmeyer, CEO and founder of RexPay, created the app in 2018 after being a patient herself in 2016 with a severe injury. Business News | 1 Oct |

RexPay is rescuing patients from medical bill mayhem through its convenient app.

RexPay, an app where patients can pay their medical bills in one place that launched in November 2019, is helping alleviate pain points and stress related to paying medical bills.

Rachel Mertensmeyer, CEO and founder of RexPay, created the app in 2018 after being a patient herself in 2016 with a severe injury. “I had over 38 medical bills across 11 different healthcare provider systems and over $10,000 in personal out of pocket costs,” Mertensmeyer said. “So I had to try to understand the confusing bills and felt the pain of trying to navigate and understanding what I owed and when I owed it and what was an explanation of benefits versus a bill, and then frustration of experiencing fragmentation and the difficulty of paying multiple bills across different payment portals and not having a convenient way to track all my medical bills in one place easily.”

With RexPay, Mertensmeyer hopes that difficulty will be a thing of the past. In addition, she said most healthcare systems provide payment plans for patients and because she wasn’t aware of that, ended up using her credit cards to finance her debt, creating a financial burden.

“So when I realized that there were payment plans available that I didn’t know about, and then I realized I was out of my depth of understanding and created this Excel spreadsheet to keep track of things. I thought, ‘There has to be a healthcare financial management app for this that would help me,’ and when I looked into the app store, there wasn’t anything available to help me, so that’s why I created RexPay initially to help patients and give them a solution for this experience.”

RexPay hopes to rescue patients and providers from the confusion and stress of paying medical bills by reaching patients where they are by delivering patients bills and reminders via text message and email, improving practice efficiency and increasing revenue for providers, decrease patient confusion and improve patient satisfaction.

It’s also beneficial for healthcare systems as well, as Mertensmeyer said as she was building RexPay she discovered healthcare systems have a large issue related to patient pay challenges. “When it’s difficult for patients to pay their bills and it’s difficult for them to understand the healthcare system financially as well, so by creating a better way for patients to manage their bills and pay all their providers in one place, we’re actually also solving a problem for healthcare systems and helping them improve their ability to collect efficiently while still being friendly to the patient, which is ultimately their goal as well.”

The revenue from patient pay rose 88 percent from 2012 to 2017, and out-of-pocket costs have risen 14 percent since 2017. “Up to 30 percent of a healthcare systems’ revenue is reliant on patient pay, it generally ranges between 10 and 30 percent at this point depending on the mix of health insurance at that system,” Mertensmeyer said. “Which means healthcare systems are finding themselves having to focus a lot more on patient pay and it’s creating a really big stress on both the patient and the healthcare system because healthcare systems and providers never intended to become collectors with patients, that’s not the relationship that they desire, and it causes a lot of stress for everyone, so that’s why at RexPay  we’re on a mission to, ‘rescue both patients and providers and provide a better solution where it’s a win-win for everybody.’”

When developing the app, Mertensmeyer interviewed around 200 patients and 100 administrators within the healthcare system and provider space to understand their pain points in relation to patient billing. She found the most common concerns were understanding the bill, managing payments, fragmented bills across different payment platforms for various healthcare providers and ability to understand what payment plans were available and to manage them. Other areas included the ability to track the remaining deductible from your insurance within the same place, which was integrated into the app based on patient insights.

Their mission is also represented visually in their rescue dog logo, which Mertensmeyer said the idea surfaced when conducting early patient interviews as they would describe the process of paying medical bills as traumatic, overwhelming and frightening and would use words related to rescue because they wished someone would rescue them from this experience.

“It occurred to me that if we wanted to have a brand that represented helping patients and coming alongside them during a difficult time and being an aid to them, that it needed to be friendly and very clear that we’re not trying to be a collections agency, we’re trying to help them and give them a tool that’s going to make their lives easier, and that’s the heart of what we’re doing,” Mertensmeyer said.

“So that’s why we came up with Rex the rescue dog and we’ve gotten really great feedback from patients saying it’s a fun app and that they never could have imagined they would have fun paying their medical bills, but that was really our goal—we wanted to make it less scary because so much of the healthcare experience, especially related to healthcare tech platforms that patients interact with, are very sterile and can cause not only stress but even more fear through that experience, so that’s why we wanted to do the opposite with RexPay.”

RexPay partnered with Change Healthcare and Athena Marketplace to expand their scope of reach for patients and providers. “Change Healthcare has enabled us to access 80 percent of health insurance plans via a direct API. So essentially that means that patients can download RexPay and connect to their insurance plans and the majority of health insurance plans, they’ll be able to take a picture of their insurance card and then they’ll see their insurance information auto populate into the dashboard,” Mertensmeyer said.

“We are an innovation partner with Change Healthcare which is a really unique and exciting relationship where we’re working with their innovation team to explore how we can continue to work together as two partners and leverage their database to unlock more features that will help make patients’ lives easier.”

Athena Marketplace enables RexPay to a back end connection to any healthcare provider using the Athena health platform, which is an electronic medical records system and payment software. Patients with those practices can receive bills as push notifications directly into the app and can update the system to say the patient paid this bill and the claim will get updated without any other manual intervention. Athena is connected to 160,000 providers across the United States, and RexPay is one of three patient payment solutions within the marketplace currently.

Fennemore Craig’s Venture Accelerator Program focuses on start-ups by providing access to legal services and helping to launch their enterprises.

Aaron Cain, chair of the emerging business and technologies group, Fennemore Craig, and Mertensmeyer met at an Arizona tech investors meeting where founders form their strategy and plan and met for lunch in summer 2018 to discuss the future of the product and show the prototype. Mertensmeyer applied for the Fennemore Craig Accelerator Program shortly after.

“I don’t encounter very many founders that so early in the process are thinking about that side and incorporating that into their strategy and plans and timeline the way you were, and I think that’s part of why Rachel has been so successful not just now but over the course of time in terms of connecting with investors and securing capital which is something that is often the hardest thing for young startups,” Cain said.

RexPay launched in November 2019 to users and launched to providers in Spring 2020. Although RexPay recently closed a $1 million financing deal with prominent angel inventors in the healthcare industry, COVID-19 could have interfered with that investment.

Mertensmeyer began the financing note round in November 2019 and were going to close the funding? Round in March 2020, however some investment groups withdrew due to COVID-19, however, RexPay was able to garner the confidence of a group of healthcare executives who had worked at healthcare system groups including United Healthcare of Blue Cross Blue Shield who invested in RexPay, and the round closed with $500,000 raised in April.

“Aaron and the Fennemore Craig group were extremely supportive throughout the process and Aaron spent a lot of time with me in March and April navigating that  experience and that’s something I’ve been really grateful to Aaron for is how he’s been a real partner through the process of navigating a startup in financing rounds and being a great sounding board for us and helping me make good decisions when, this is my first time as a founder, and my first time raising angel capital and so it’s been huge to have Aaron as a partner through this process.”

Mertensmeyer said patient feedback has been positive, with consistent 5-star reviews in the App store. “We consistently have patients say that this is the easiest way to pay medical bills. Patients can pay a bill within six seconds on RexPay, and on average, we see patients setting up their profile and paying their first bill within two minutes, and paying their second bill within an average of 30 seconds. Patients can continue to receive education through the app through push notifications so we hope that we’re adding value beyond bill pay with the other features that we have in the app as well,” Mertensmeyer said.

“From an ease of use perspective we’ve been able to see that verified from patients which has been fantastic and from a providers’ standpoint, we have customers that describe us as a no brainer.”

Cain said the major milestones RexPay has accomplished thus far including launching the app successfully to patients and providers and raising capital are great indicators of RexPay’s future.

“It also comes down to continuing to make the app more available on the market, getting the word out about this tool that’s available for patients and providers and at some point there could be a capital raise in the future to drive further expansion of the rollout of the app, from here, it’s really about utilization, making people aware of this and become more broadly utilized across the economy.”

“I agree with Aaron,” Mertensmeyer said. “We are looking forward to partnering with Fennemore Craig to continue to grow the company and get the product into the hands of more users so we’re really focused on getting into market and partnering with a lot of our new investors and current investors who have networks in the broader healthcare industry to help us establish further partnerships and find some new distribution channels to help patients and get this solution in the hands of as many patients as we can.”

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