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San Diego-based Turquoise Health compares medical costs for patients through online database

Posted at 4:32 PM, Jun 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-20 23:44:45-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — One could argue there's nothing worse than having a medical procedure, and then getting a bill in your mailbox weeks later with what looks like zeros that never end.

"We all have a story whether it's you or your family or friend that went to the hospital. They have bills and it either made them bankrupt or they couldn't go on that vacation," described Chris Severn.

It's a problem Severn's company, Turquoise Health, hopes to solve.

"We're building out software that helps people know the price of care in advance," said Severn, Turquoise Health's co-founder and CEO. He created the company following a pivotal moment by legislators that required hospitals disclose costs for services starting January 1, 2021.

"Up until January 1 of last year, these prices were secret," described Severn.

RELATED: San Diego hospitals fail to post prices as required by new federal rules, report finds

When it comes to healthcare and insurance providers, their costs are driven by a lot of factors in a very complex formula, that's where Turquoise Health comes in. They take the now public data, license it which makes them profitable, then plug it into their online platform.

"You as a patient have more agency to change your plan or go to a different provider because you use an app that helps you move medical records faster. The other option is 'when is it smarter that I just pay cash', rather than going through insurance which can sometimes cost more," Severn said.

The company recently secured a $20 million investment from marquee venture capital firms including Andreessen Horowitz.

"The notion of bridging the gap between where the industry is now versus where we're going take a lot of hand holding and a lot of work, so that money's going towards a big team," said Severn.

Severn said hospitals and insurers will also benefit from their product.

"We work with insurance companies and hospitals to help them comply with these new mandates and all the data we're aggregating, we then feed back that data out to market to create these market forces that don't exist right now."

Severn added as long as their quality of care can back up prices listed on their site, hospitals shouldn't have to worry. He ultimately thinks price transparency will give patients peace of mind, resulting in loyalty with their insurers and providers.

"I want the process of buying healthcare to be as easy as buying a toaster on amazon prime. You know the price, when it's going to arrive, you know the quality and you as a consumer have the information to make an informed decision, and that's our barometer for usability."