The COVID-19 pandemic ushered in myriad new solutions to accommodate healthcare in a socially distant world. Countless apps sprung up that facilitated virtual office visits, online chats with doctors, ways to view medical records on smartphones, and even enabled consumers to get their prescriptions filled and delivered in under an hour. Throughout all of this, one noticeable gap remained - a simple, streamlined method for patients to pay their bills remotely.
Enter Cedar, a patient-centric personalized billing program that focuses on minimizing the confusion around medical invoices. CEO Florian Otto, M.D., Ph.D, eschews medical billing’s one-size-fits-all approach, and says he set out to create a service with a much wider scope, likening his platform to something more like Amazon where choice abounds, rather than Blockbuster, which ultimately failed because it was a one-trick pony.
"There is a huge unmet need to improve the financial experience as the experience for patients is basically still stuck in the 1980s," Otto says. He launched Cedar in 2016 to alleviate the stress of having to interpret complex hospital bills - a stress that’s often put on top of patients who are already going through tough times due to illnesses or preexisting medical conditions.
Cedar’s services integrate with EHRs, and incorporate information from HAS and FSA banks. Cedar claims its technology has increased collections for providers by 30%, and digital self-service payments have jumped up by 70%. Its algorithms customize the information to align with the consumer’s individual needs.
The startup secured $102 million in Series C funding in a round led by Andreessen Horowitz. JP Morgan supplied $25 million in venture debt. Other new investors included Kaiser Permanente, New England Patriots linebacker coach Jerod Mayo, and New York Cancer and Blood Specialists CEO Jeff Vacirca. Previous investors also weighed in, including Kinnevik, Lakestar, Thrive Capital, and Founders Fund. Cedar’s total funding raised to date is $157 million.
The first orders of business for the new capital will be to expand reach and continue to develop innovative technologies for a paperless, touch-free billing experience. Cedar also plans to roll out more administrative options within its system, such as appointment reminders and digital registration forms.