News & Insights

Welcoming Goodbill to the Maveron portfolio


Reann Yurman

After 36 hours of labor in a mask, 4.5 hours of pushing, an emergency C-section coupled with an operation table hemorrhage, followed by a six-day NICU stay, we were finally home, recovering mentally and physically, and grateful that the challenge was behind us. A few weeks into this recovery, my husband and I received a six-figure bill from the hospital, which was “due” almost immediately. We knew we would have some nominal out-of-pocket pay, but we had felt confident in our insurance coverage and balked at the price. Several phone calls, pause music, and stressful days later, we realized that the hospital had only looked for insurance under my husband’s name (and we were covered by mine). Another tense set of days followed and we finally got everything settled, bringing the bill down to a little over two thousand dollars, the rest thankfully covered by insurance.

Any kind of hospital visit or stay is stressful. It is emotionally and physically draining, and unfortunately my family’s story is not a unique one. The percentage of billing errors in the medical field is believed to be somewhere in the 60–80% range, some of these more egregious than others. Many hospitals bill patients knowing that it will be virtually impossible for the patient to actually pay the full cost. Up-coding, or coding beyond what was actually done in the hospital visit, accounts for billions of dollars of unnecessary additional cost for programs like Medicare. All of this is well documented and culturally known through publications like the New York Times and the Kaiser Family Foundation. My husband and I were lucky to be equipped with the resources to navigate our situation successfully, albeit not without undue stress, but many individuals and families do not have the same privileges.

By the numbers, how healthcare costs are crippling Americans

  • 25% of Americans have trouble paying a medical bill
  • The average hospital stay is $5,220/day
  • Half of U.S. adults say that they’ve skipped or postponed a medical or dental procedure due to cost
  • This Kaiser Family Foundation study on medical debt shows that 62% of those with medical bill problems had health insurance when the treatment began, i.e., this is not just a problem of the ~30M uninsured Americans, it is a universal one

In a country where over 60% of people declaring bankruptcy do so due to medical bills, and simultaneously in a country where citizens are demanding more transparency in all aspects of their life, the way medical billing is done leaves tremendous room for improvement. In the book The Price We Pay, author Marty Makary is on an investigative mission to bring public trust back to healthcare, specifically addressing the outrageous practices in medical billing. As he says, “The absence of real prices [also] fuels the problem of surprise bills and predatory billing,” perfectly highlighting the current state of affairs. Patients should feel like they are getting high-quality treatment for a fair price. That is simply not the case.

So, what can we do about it?

Enter, GoodbillPatrick Haig and Ian Sefferman are highly dedicated second-time founders on a mission to bring transparency to the medical field, empowering patients to pay a fair price in a matter of clicks. By removing the administrative and emotional burden of medical billing, patients are given a better opportunity to heal in peace. Patrick and Ian have been impacted by the system they aim to overturn personally, and shared stories of what felt like minor hospital visits turning into bills that amounted to thousands of dollars. They’ve known each other for nearly a decade, and bring a dynamic combination of regulatory and healthcare know-how as well as technical expertise. Goodbill is a platform they wish they had themselves, and it is clear that they are determined to bring a Glassdoor level of transparency to the healthcare field.

Think of Goodbill as a consumer’s technological advocate when it comes to medical billing. The platform can compare what a patient was charged with what they should have been charged. Attempting to surface this data, and doing this on one’s own, could take consumers weeks, if not months. Goodbill’s technology platform creates a seamless experience for individuals to navigate these complex bills, without the stress of having to speak with the provider themselves. Over time, Goodbill aims to be the consumer healthcare partner of choice when it comes to billing and the financial burdens of healthcare.

There are a number of reasons for why this works today

  1. 21st Century Cures Act (2020), Hospital Price Transparency (2021), and Transparency in Coverage (2022) are regulatory shifts which demand that providers and payers list prices for medical procedures and give patients digital access to their records.
  2. The accuracy in computer vision has gone from 50% to 99% in less than a decade, making it possible and easy now for consumers to upload or take a photo of their medical bill and have it recognized and processed by the Goodbill platform.
  3. The pandemic has contributed to massive consumer distrust in Big Health. A recent poll found that only 52% of Americans have a great deal of trust in the CDC, and only 37% of Americans said they had trust in the NIH and FDA. We cannot imagine a better time for trusted brands in healthcare to emerge, especially ones focused on patient advocacy.

We are excited to back the Goodbill team and have been impressed with them moving fast to meet the needs of a COVID market. Their first product is a tool to help consumers get reimbursed by insurers for at-home COVID tests. In fact, families can get reimbursed for up to 8 COVID tests per member per month. Soon after, the team plans on launching a core product in select geographies: a tool that quickly assesses patients’ medical bills, determines whether it was a fair price, and fights on behalf of the patient to reduce the bill if appropriate. If you’re interested in learning more, check out their website. And should you be excited about the mission, consider joining their team. Welcome Goodbill to the Maveron portfolio!

Anarghya

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