Summary:

Hoping to give patients a “medical wallet,” Palo Alto-based Simplee has released a mobile app that helps people manage their medical finances

health spending
photo: JCD

Simplee, a Palo Alto, Calif., startup with a Mint-like approach to managing medical expenses, is bringing its service to mobile. Through a new iOS app, launched Thursday, users can view a breakdown of their medical bills, outstanding claims and deductible coverage, as well as pay their bills directly from their smartphones.

Since launching in 2011, the startup has provided those features through its website, but by bringing them to mobile, Simplee wants to help patients make decisions and negotiate payments at the point of service. “[In most cases], you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time when you get the information,” said John Adractas, Simplee’s CMO. “Mobile… gives you the information when it matters, when you’re standing in the doctor’s office, when you’re making decisions.”

As an example, Evelyn Wang, Simplee’s director of design, said that when she went in for knee surgery earlier this year, the hospital tried to collect payment upfront. But because she could reference her payment history from Simplee’s app, she knew she had already met her deductible and could show the hospital that their information was out-of-date. Ultimately, she said she was able to push back and didn’t over-pay.

Obviously, the app won’t come to the rescue for every patient in such a clear way. But as a Simplee user, I can see the benefits in being able to review and pay my medical bills from my smartphone in the same way I can check my bank balance and make other payments on the go.

Simplee said that its new app would integrate with its SimpleePAY patient and loyalty service, which enables participating health care providers to issue digital bills.  Patients can pay directly via app, as well as earn loyalty rewards for using it.

The company, which has raised nearly $8 million, says its average active user pays an average of $1,200 in medical bills annually and uses the service 15 times a year. Over the past two years, it said its handled nearly $2 billion in medical expenses for its users.

Comments have been disabled for this post