Paytient picks up $40M to put payment power in patients' pockets

Paytient, a company that built health payment accounts, announced a $40 million series B funding round. The round raised the total funding for the provider of interest-free credit cards to $63 million.

The series B funds were comprised of $33 million in equity from existing investors and $7.5 million in debt from Silicon Valley Bank. The Columbia, Missouri-based company said the round will allow for scaling growth and product development in 2023. Through the use of a Paytient Visa card, patients can pay their healthcare provider in full before repaying Paytient through an interest-free payment plan.

“Our mission is to improve the ability of the population to access and afford care,” co-founder and CEO Brian Whorley told Fierce Healthcare. “We think by smoothing and removing the pain of paying for care, that puts people in a better place. And it's something that I think employers particularly going into recessionary times are mindful of.”

Employers, health systems and insurers subscribe to provide patients with health payment accounts through the use of a Paytient Visa card. After a patient uses their card to pay their provider, they choose a preferred payment plan through the Paytient app.

Members can pay through payroll deductions, a bank account or a health savings account or flexible spending account of their choosing.

Currently, Paytient touts 700 enterprise partners, including employers such as Centene, Cigna, Coupe Health, Beta Health and R.R. Donnelley. Through such partnerships, 700,000 members use the platform to control the time and payment of their medical bills without accruing additional interest-based debt.   

“By empowering them, giving them a higher dignity moment where rather than them having to engage in an awkward conversation with the provider, they’ve got the power in their hand to be able to pay for care, pick a payment plan that works best for them and their family's budget and also pick the source of funds that's best,” Whorley said.

Whorley rejects the idea that interest must be accrued for people to pay off debt in a timely manner. By empowering the patient, he believes patients experience an emotional release, letting go of anxiety and stress, and can focus on what really matters—taking care of their health and the health of their families.

Employers have cited a competitive labor market as one of the reasons for adding new perks to benefits packages. However, some of the cost of those perks may be passed on to employees with health benefits costs expected to rise 5.4% in 2023.

According to a Gallup poll released in October, 75% of Americans grade healthcare costs as a D or an F.

It is not expected that the steep price of healthcare will abate anytime soon as out-of-pocket health expenses such as deductibles and copays continue to rise. Almost a third of American households have delayed medical care due to cost, per a 2019 Gallup poll.

“When I started this company, it was my hope that someday enough people would be using this, that it would become a category of thing used by millions of people,” Whorley said.

Funding for the novel puzzle piece to the payer system was led by Mercato Partners Traverse Fund with participation from Bertelsmann Investments. The duo was joined by existing investors Lightbank, Felicis Ventures, Box Group, Lachy Groom, Left Lane Capital, Commerce Bank, Crossbeam Ventures, Cultivation Capital and Inspired Capital.

Utah-based Mercato Partners Traverse Fund Managing Director Joe Kaiser will join the fintech company’s board of directors. Thorsten Wirkes, senior vice president at Bertelsmann Investments, will join the board as an observer.

Companies following similar models include patient billing platform Cedar and PayZen with its “care now, pay later” model. The startup integrates its platform into providers’ revenue cycle management systems.