This year, Omaha-based insurance app developer HATCX released their first app that aimed to make out-of-pocket costs easier to understand for consumers buying medical services. With a new year and new services just around the corner, the startup is challenging the entire insurance industry to become more transparent and customer friendly.
“Our mission is really to take what’s overly complicated about health insurance and healthcare and make it simple,” said partner Lisa Pabian. “We want to put all of those things that are hard to understand, such as EODs Explanation of Benefits and costs, and put them into simple terms and present them in a way that people will interact with them, which is mobile first.”
That lack of simplicity is the driver behind the HATCX | cost app. Partner Christina Ochsner said that apps exist to simplify everything from taxes to ordering a cab, but the challenge of simplifying the process for buying health services was one that was still left to be solved.
“Lisa and I have insurance backgrounds, and we both saw that insurance is the last opaque industry out there. We wanted to add clarity to that,” said Ochsner. “Our first goal was to provide cost transparency to all. I think that’s a lot of why consumers don’t utilize their health insurance because there’s that fear of the looming bill.”
HATCX | cost works by allowing users to sync the app to their insurance plan and then look at the costs of shoppable medical services. Ochsner said that a lot of consumers don’t know that there is a wide range of costs for the same services at different medical providers. For example, an x-ray at one facility might cost $500 out-of-pocket whereas an x-ray at another facility might cost $75 out-of-pocket.
“We want to educate consumers that there’s disparity in the marketplace. A lot of people don’t realize that each facility has its own fee schedule and can vary widely,” said Ochsner. “HATCX | cost shows you your plan, your deductible, where you’re at with your out-of-pocket max, and you see what [the service is going to cost you].”
The partners said that app currently links up to certain insurance carriers and plans centralized around the Midwest, but their medical service provider data spans the country.
“As we continue to develop the app and move further into making health insurance and healthcare simpler, there will be additions,” said Pabian. “We have a lot of big plans to fulfill our mission of linking humans to their health. [We want to] be that one-stop shop for people to understand how their insurance works, how they can use it better and how they can improve their health as well.”
Pabian said that a doctor finder feature with rating and review capabilities is being developed. She said there are other health insurance apps out there, but HATCX is positioning itself to be entirely different.
“We felt like we could bring a unique approach to insurance apps and offer something that people would really want to use,” said Pabian. “We took a mobile-first approach and wanted to get it into peoples’ hands when they really needed it. If you’re heading somewhere and you sprain your ankle, you have that information on your phone.”
“The ease of use is there, and the interface and experience are something that people would want to gravitate towards,” added Ochsner. “People need to take an active role in their insurance and in their health, and this app is one step closer to getting them there.”
HATCX has a team of 23 in their Omaha office, including service developers, mobile developers and designers. Many of their developers have insurance backgrounds or came from other startups or mobile development shops.
“We all feel like we have that same passion,” said Pabian. “We want to push barriers and say, ‘Why can’t we?’ If it hasn’t been done before, let’s try to figure out how it can be done.”
HATCX’s focus on innovating a traditional industry is reflected in everything they do from their company culture to their office, to their products.
“We picked a different name and a different look and feel because we come at this with a different approach. We want people to feel comfortable coming to us,” said Pabian. “We want to help educate people on what they can do to take better control of their healthcare and how they can make a difference for their wallet.”
Christine McGuigan is the Managing Editor of Silicon Prairie News