DENVER, Colo. – After two years of working for an e-commerce company that sold medical supplies to patients with sleep apnea, Andrew Schremp began to see a pattern. As a cash-based provider, the e-commerce company was unable to work with its customers’ insurance plans. More often than not, this caused problems.
“We’d spend a lot of money getting patients to our site, and when they arrived, they’d always have the same question, ‘Do you work with my insurance,” explained Schremp. “Each time, we’d have to tell them, ‘No, we don’t.’ And sometimes they would buy from us. But more often than not, they wouldn’t.”
Eventually, the e-commerce company became an out-of-network provider. But for Schremp, this situation was still far from ideal. Patients’ in-network benefits were generally better than their out-of-network benefits. As long as the company was unable to offer in-network options, chances were high that patients would go elsewhere to buy their supplies.
“After witnessing the problems that existed in the patient purchasing process, it became clear to me that I was in a unique position to solve them,” said Schremp. “So I did my research, performing an industry analysis, speaking with other vendors, and digging deeper into the issues that healthcare consumers face.”
What Schremp learned would lead him to found Health Sqyre, an online marketplace that enables consumers to quickly find the best prices for durable medical equipment (DME). The company does this by hosting a variety of vendors on its platform, and by automating the complex calculations that consumers have to perform to make the right decisions about their healthcare spending.
“When a user enters their insurance information into the platform, we’re able to tell them in real-time what their deductible is, how much of it they’ve met, what their co-insurance rates are, and what their out-of-pocket maximums are,” explained Schremp. “For any given product on our site, we’ll have at least five to six sellers. Some of those sellers will be in-network, others will be out-of-network, and some will only take cash.”
Once a user has created an account on Health Sqyre, the platform’s algorithms are able to immediately calculate how much that user will have to pay to buy the products they search for on the site. Health Sqyre presents those products from least to most expensive, making it easy for consumers to see when purchasing in-network, out-of-network, or with cash would be the best decision for their wallets.
“Our platform does all of the math so that consumers never miss out on an opportunity to save,” said Schremp. “We’re really trying to empower them in that regard, using our technology to tell them, ‘Hey, in this position it makes sense to purchase in cash, and in that position it makes sense to purchase with insurance.”
Schremp is dedicated to helping Health Sqyre’s users save money, so much so that when a patient purchases in cash on the site, Health Sqyre will offer to file a claim with their insurance company so that the expenditure is reflected in their deductible. But DME vendors have several incentives to use the platform as well.
“With Health Sqyre, vendors will get instant online access to patients from all fifty states,” said Schremp. “Now, instead of relying on local patient referrals to get customers, they’ll have a new source of revenue that’s potentially much larger.”
Schremp sees the platform’s benefits extending far beyond buyers and sellers. Clinicians responsible for referring patients to DME vendors will have the ability to make referrals to Health Sqyre, where their patients will be sure to find the most cost-effective options for their needs. Interestingly, Schremp believes that insurance companies will also have a reason to embrace his platform.
Normalizing the Market
“Let’s say you’ve got a vendor that’s getting great rates from an insurance company,” Schremp explained. “Those vendors that aren’t getting great rates are going to get the customers who visit our site because they’ll have the better prices. This will probably cause the insurance company to say, ‘Why am I paying my vendor at this rate, when I could be paying them at that rate?”
According to Schremp, by aggregating vendors on its platform, and by automating the complex calculations made necessary by most insurance policies, Health Sqyre will bring about price transparency, which will allow the market for durable medical equipment to become more efficient and affordable. While the company will initially focus on selling sleep apnea supplies, Health Sqyre intends to expand into a number of DME verticals, including orthotics and prosthetics.
“Anytime you provide an opportunity for businesses to have more competition and create a more perfect market, prices will start to normalize,” said Schremp. “That is not the case for medical equipment right now, and that’s why we have the opportunity that we do.”
Health Sqyre will launch the beta version of its platform in March. Sign up on the company’s website to be alerted when the launch occurs!