PHOENIX — A few years ago, Rachel Mertensmyer sat at a table with stacks of medical bills in front of her. She had suffered a severe injury that resulted in 38 medical bills from 11 different providers.
One stack was the bills she owed, a second was what she had paid. The third stack, well, Rachel wasn't sure if those bills needed to be paid or not. After 12 hours, when she realized there was no app to save her, Rachel did what entrepreneurs are born to do: she started a business.
"This problem of managing multiple bills across several different providers is much more common than you might think," Mertensmyer said. "It doesn't require a catastrophic event to experience this problem."
Mertensmyer is the CEO and co-founder of Rex Pay. It's a mobile app available on the App Store and Google Play, that helps patients understand, manage, and pay all medical bills in one place.
While that seems like a great idea, no one jumped on it until Mertensmyer researched the $380 billion medical billing industry and saw no one was offering the service.
"We're bringing a solution that's making it easier for patients to understand why they owe what they owe," Mertensmyer says, "Rex Pay finds safe financing and payment plan solutions and manages those payments."
Even with medical insurance, the amount of money patients are responsible for paying is increasing as much as 30% for any given bill.
In 2015, Courtnee Miller was diagnosed with posterior orthostatic tachycardia syndrome. Over time she was treated by 15 physicians and spent about $50,000 in out-of-pocket medical expenses.
"It starts getting really messy, when you are dealing with different provider system, lab work in different systems," she said. Miller is now a subscriber to Rex Pay.
"You can keep track of everything so that was easier to see how much I owed. If there are payment plans, when things are due. The app gives you all that info," Miller said.
Rex Pay's customer base includes not only patients, but providers who see it as a streamlined way to get bills paid faster. The company and its potential caught the eye of the Arizona Commerce Authority.
It was one of 10 Valley startups to be among the 2019 Fall Awardees of the Arizona Innovation Challenge. The recognition brings with it grant money and the opportunity to get in the room with investors looking to invest in Mertensmyer's vision.