Special Interview with Raunak Sharma from Thrizer
Curt and Katie interview Raunak Sharma of Thrizer on our new partnership and how Thrizer supports modern therapists with their billing and payment processing needs.
Click here to scroll to the podcast transcript.
An Interview with Raunak Sharma, CEO of Thrizer, Therapy Reimagined’s New Partner
Raunak Sharma is the Founder and CEO of Thrizer, a modern billing platform for private practice therapists. He is a long-time therapy-goer and founded Thrizer after his first-hand experience with the struggles of working with superbills and insurance for out-of-network claims. Since launching in January 2022, Thrizer has helped save clients over $12,000 in therapy costs while empowering therapists to continue to charge what they’re worth
In this interview we talk about our newest partner,Thrizer, a new modern billing platform for therapists:
- What is Thrizer
- Raunak’s journey as a therapy client (and how he struggled to get reimbursement when he had to pay out of network)
- The importance of transparency and communication
- How Thrizer works with clients (including checking benefits and chasing down reimbursement)
- Thrizer sends reimbursement consistently (before they even get the check from the insurance company)
- What therapists need to do for clients to get reimbursement
- All of the services provided by Thrizer are included in the payment processing fee at 3%
- Data security and how Thrizer makes money
- The road map for future services with Thrizer (including all payment processing, insurance billing for in-network clients, group practice billing, Electric Health Record and integrations with EHRs)
- Why we are partnering this year and a special offer for our audience
Thrizer is a new modern billing platform for therapists that was built on the belief that therapy should be accessible AND clinicians should earn what they are worth. Their platform automatically gets clients reimbursed by their insurance after every session. Just by billing your clients through Thrizer, you can potentially save them hundreds every month, with no extra work on your end. Every time you bill a client through Thrizer, an insurance claim is automatically generated and sent directly to the client’s insurance. From there, Thrizer provides concierge support to ensure clients get their reimbursement quickly, directly into their bank account. By eliminating reimbursement by check, confusion around benefits, and obscurity with reimbursement status, they allow your clients to focus on what actually matters rather than worrying about their money. It is very quick to get set up and it works great in complement with EHR systems. Their team is super helpful and responsive, and the founder is actually a long-time therapy client who grew frustrated with his reimbursement times The best part is you don’t need to give up your rate. They charge a standard 3% payment processing fee!
Thrizer lets you become more accessible while remaining in complete control of your practice. A better experience for your clients during therapy means higher retention. Money won’t be the reason they quit on therapy. Sign up using bit.ly/moderntherapists if you want to test Thrizer completely risk free! Sign up for Thrizer with code ‘moderntherapists’ for 1 month of no credit card fees or payment processing fees! That’s right – you will get one month of no payment processing fees, meaning you earn 100% of your cash rate during that time!
Who we are:
Curt Widhalm, LMFT
Curt Widhalm is in private practice in the Los Angeles area. He is the cofounder of the Therapy Reimagined conference, an Adjunct Professor at Pepperdine University and CSUN, a former Subject Matter Expert for the California Board of Behavioral Sciences, former CFO of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, and a loving husband and father. He is 1/2 great person, 1/2 provocateur, and 1/2 geek, in that order. He dabbles in the dark art of making “dad jokes” and usually has a half-empty cup of coffee somewhere nearby. Learn more at: www.curtwidhalm.com
Katie Vernoy, LMFT
Katie Vernoy is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, coach, and consultant supporting leaders, visionaries, executives, and helping professionals to create sustainable careers. Katie, with Curt, has developed workshops and a conference, Therapy Reimagined, to support therapists navigating through the modern challenges of this profession. Katie is also a former President of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. In her spare time, Katie is secretly siphoning off Curt’s youthful energy, so that she can take over the world. Learn more at: www.katievernoy.com
A Quick Note:
Our opinions are our own. We are only speaking for ourselves – except when we speak for each other, or over each other. We’re working on it.
Our guests are also only speaking for themselves and have their own opinions. We aren’t trying to take their voice, and no one speaks for us either. Mostly because they don’t want to, but hey.
Stay in Touch with Curt, Katie, and the whole Therapy Reimagined #TherapyMovement:
Consultation services with Curt Widhalm or Katie Vernoy:
Connect with the Modern Therapist Community:
Our Facebook Group – The Modern Therapists Group
Modern Therapist’s Survival Guide Creative Credits:
Voice Over by DW McCann https://www.facebook.com/McCannDW/
Music by Crystal Grooms Mangano https://groomsymusic.com/
Transcript for this episode of the Modern Therapist’s Survival Guide podcast (Autogenerated):
Curt Widhalm 0:01
Hey, modern therapists Curt Widhalm with Katie Vernoy. And we are super excited to be announcing our partnership with Raunak Sharma and the folks over at Thrizer. We love where everything is going with this and super excited to be talking with our community about the ways that modern therapists can better serve their clients. And rather than me stumbling through talking about somebody else’s company, I am going to introduce our guest here, Raunak Sharma. Thank you for joining us, and welcome to working with us.
Raunak Sharma 0:44
Appreciate the introduction, Curt. It’s a pleasure to be here. I’m super excited for the partnership as well. It’s absolute pleasure.
Katie Vernoy 0:52
So we’ll start with a little bit of an in a self intro, you know, so that you can let everybody know who you are and what you’re putting out into the world. But who are you? And what’s Thrizer?
Raunak Sharma 1:04
Yeah, so you know, after that fantastic intro, you guys know, name is Raunak Sharma, founder and CEO of the Thrizer and at its core, I would describe Thrizer as a billing platform for modern therapists. And currently, you know, what we do that it’s, you know, in simple terms, we help private pay therapists build their clients, and help those same clients get reimbursed easily by their insurance. And yeah, kind of that’s the, that’s the short version. Thrizer does a lot of different things. But uh, you know, I’m sure we’ll dive into it as we go on.
Curt Widhalm 1:44
So let’s, let’s start a little bit with your backstory here of why did you feel the need to come in and start something that maybe some people didn’t necessarily think needed to happen before? But what did you see as kind of the opportunity to create a new company and fill upping care?
Raunak Sharma 2:06
Yeah, absolutely. That’s a great question. So I mean, my, my background, I’ve been a longtime therapy client. I, you know, I had struggled with pretty severe anxiety, addiction and disordered eating growing up. And therapy was just such an essential part of my journey. And especially kind of when I was in college was when I was at my lowest or struggling the most. And, you know, I needed that outpatient level support. As I was going through classes and stuff. The struggle really was just, you know, one, finding a compatible therapist, finding someone in network that was available and could kind of meet my needs that were semi urgent. And so, you know, oftentimes, I just went without network therapy. Because they’re available, they were, you know, super qualified, very helpful. This problem was just, you know, the dent it put in my wallet. So, yeah, I mean, being a college student, you know, one to two therapy sessions a week, you almost ended up paying close to a rent some out by the end of the month. And Beigy really came up just with navigating the whole world of super bills and out of network reimbursement. And a lot of times, you would just submit a super bill and just like toss it up in the air, not really knowing when I was going to get something back how I was going to get something back, if I did just like what went behind that decision. I hated getting things by cheque sometimes just got lost in the mail. I would just be changing addresses so much. So it was just a really outdated process. So yeah, I mean, kind of like as I went through my journey, and focused on myself, got better, I wanted to give back to the community in some way. And that way was Thrizer. I mean, I I saw a lot of opportunity to really improve the process in which insurance is billed, in which people pay for therapy. And yeah, I think we’re building some really exciting stuff but you know, at its core, the we just want to make the the gap between the outer network therapists and those clients who have health insurance, we want to just bridge that gap.
Katie Vernoy 4:26
How does Thrizer work because I think there’s a lot of opportunities for therapists just to kind of give a super bill and off people go and I like that idea. You just throw up in the air and see like, do I get reimbursement or not? Or do I even remember to send it in or you know, all those things that can happen? But you’re saying that Thrizer is doing it differently and you and I’ve talked and I you actually do quite a bit for clients and for therapists.
Raunak Sharma 4:51
Yeah, and I mean when we were building up Thrizer I put so much focus on adding transparency and communication to the process. So So and the idea was that, you know, a lot of therapists don’t accept insurance for super valid reasons. And if they don’t want to be involved, they don’t want to be involved. But the idea was to make the client experience just tremendously better which while therapists just keep the rate. And so what that led us to build was a platform where claims just could be submitted upon payment for the therapy session, just automatically through the system without any further work by the client. Anytime their card is charged, their bank account is charged, an insurance claim is also generated, submitted directly to the insurance. So everything is just like hyper automated. And I would, I would, I like to say that we over communicate with clients, I mean, about like, what the benefits are just education around everything that it goes into that what they can expect back. We try to give them as much of real time updates as possible in terms of what’s going on with their claims. And I would say the biggest benefit is like eliminating the paper trail and just getting checks out of the picture. And we we the way we do that is that we opt to receive checks on behalf of the clients from the insurance. So we just track and manage all of that. And really, as soon as a claim is approved, and we know how much the reimbursement how much the reimbursement’s gonna be, we just deposit that to the client’s bank account. So everything is electronic, everything is just super transparent. And for clients to see. So just eliminating that just like uncertainty and waiting game.
Curt Widhalm 6:40
So I know that you’ve talked with Katie, a lot more than me, I want to highlight this, because this is way more exciting than I think they you’re, you’ve been working on this for a long time. Right?
Raunak Sharma 6:53
Curt Widhalm 6:53
I want to emphasize like for clients, and really for our audience, clinicians, you put in clients information, you have the client sign up, put in their information in this process. And before the insurance companies are issuing the check, Thrizer’s just like, yeah, we’re, we’re handling all of the money stuff for you, we’re gonna put it into the client’s bank account for them. No sweat, like, Am I hearing you correctly?
Raunak Sharma 7:21
That is correct. Yeah. I mean, oftentimes, the check ads just unnecessarily time into the process. Having kind of a centralized place to receive checks and building that relationship with insurances. It just kind of it’s almost just, you know, it’s kind of like unionizing the clients behind just like this. What Thrizer is just is middleman is advocate. So yeah, that’s exactly right.
Katie Vernoy 7:49
So, so there’s parts that you glossed over that, yes, the payment is cool, Curt. You’re right. But there’s also the first part, which I think, for me is also extra beneficial, which is okay, so the clients put their information in, and you check their benefits, right? Like you you guys do all of the legwork there, right?
Raunak Sharma 8:10
Yeah, yeah. I mean, we started communicating with them as soon as they enter their benefits. And so yeah, I mean, they’re aware of their. They’re aware of what to expect back what the deductibles are, etc. And we work for them from there.
Katie Vernoy 8:26
So on the clinician side, basically, you just say, Oh, you want out of network reimbursement? Go sign up over here. And then that’s all the clinician has to do. It’s pretty much I mean, does the clinician have to, you know, like, how do we track appointments versus missed appointments, you said when the credit card is charged, but you have to verify with clinicians that it’s a an appointment? So do you click in or you showed me like a calendar? How is that working as far as clinicians reporting on appointments?
Raunak Sharma 8:56
Yeah, absolutely. So we do have a calendar that a subset of our clinicians use and so important make sure track that way. I would say a lot of our clinicians choose to pretty much do everything normally through their current EHR, and just shift the billing over to us. So an appointment might happen is track the schedule itself, the calendar is tracking their EHR, but they kind of just come to us and add the charge after the appointment. And that’s kind of like as soon as they do that, that’s how it’s confirmed that okay, this happened, you know, missed appointments, same way, they can charge the clients through that, that through Thrizer for that. But yeah, so that’s what a lot of our clinicians are doing.
Katie Vernoy 9:40
How do you make money then?
Curt Widhalm 9:41
I was just gonna, I was just gonna ask this. This is so cool. You have to be charging an arm and a leg to clinicians for the service.
Raunak Sharma 9:51
Yeah. Great question. It’s actually a question that we get asked quite often. So the idea was, and we’re gonna touch on this more as we go on. But I mean, the idea was, you know, clinicians already pay a processing fee to accept payments. And, you know, as we get into a more digital world, everyone’s gonna be accepting payments online in some way. So we want to be that kind of payment system for them that of choice. And it doesn’t make sense to charge, just, you know, outrageous rates for that. So we want it to match the rates that they normally pay. So we charge a 3% processing fee for any transactions that are run through our system. And again, the idea is to match pretty much what they pay for other payment processors, but with us, they get the extra benefit of just sidestepping insurance completely.
Katie Vernoy 10:46
Yeah, I still don’t get how you make enough money doing.
Raunak Sharma 10:51
Yeah, yeah. I mean, it’s a concern we get, honestly, I was not expecting that question to come up so much. But it has. I mean, I mean, we operate our business like other payment processors. So it’s, I guess, if you ask that question to us, it would kind of be it would, it would, you would have that same concern for Stripe or Square or any other processor you might use. And, I mean, I will say, you know, we, our operations are doing great, we’re more we’re more than comfortable with the 3%. We will have like additional feature services in the future that we may charge extra for. So that there’s additional, you know, opportunities for revenue, but the 3% is very comfortable for us. And it’s, you know, it works.
Katie Vernoy 11:46
I think part of the reason that that folks are a little worried is because they’re they’re they’re worried about raised rates, as well, as I know that the one of the questions I asked you when we initially met was, are there other ways you’re making money? Like, are you selling data? Are you doing those things? And I was very comfortable with your answer. But just for transparency to our audience, you know, I’d love to just touch on that, if you don’t mind.
Raunak Sharma 12:10
Yeah, absolutely. And I think that they’re very valid concerns. Well, first and foremost, I’d say we don’t touch data at all. We have some of the highest standards for data security out there. So we we encrypt our data by what’s called like banking grade security. So we really, we can’t see most of the data that even gets stored in our system. And on touching on the other point, yeah, I mean, we, you know, we don’t we don’t plan to raise those rates ever. Like I mentioned, 3% is more than comfortable for us. But yeah, I mean, there definitely will be other features services that we release the in the future may or may not have an additional charge, because.
Curt Widhalm 12:58
But you’ve mentioned future stuff a little bit. Do you have a roadmap that you’re looking at following with Thrizer?
Raunak Sharma 13:05
Yeah, yeah, this is like my favorite question. So yeah, I mean, yeah, we have a lot, we’re building a lot of exciting stuff, I would say that first and foremost, we want to support all clinicians billing needs, and make kind of accepting payments and insurance billing just one process and easier for everyone. So really, what we’re releasing within the next four to six weeks is what we’re just calling like a billing suite, where really, you can just charge any client through Thrizer, whether they’re private pay completely, they don’t want anything to do with insurance. Or they’re they want they’re out of network benefits, or you’re actually credentialed insurance and you want to bill claims through us. All works the same way. Any claims that you know, all all payments, we get charged 3%, whether it’s a copay, or whether it’s a full fee. All claims are managed by us from the point of submission to the point of reimbursement, whether that reimbursement is going to the client or clinician. So I think going towards that suite fits in really nicely with what we’ve already built, and it continues to make navigating insurance easier. And so from from this stamp, like really the clinicians will soon have the same relief that we’re giving clients right now just so much more transparency, and just kind of outsourcing that work was like chasing down insurers and making those phone calls today. Just none of that has to happen anymore.
Katie Vernoy 14:31
Wait, wait, wait before you start with before you move on, because up until very recently, I was a credentialed insurance provider. So you’re saying you would check benefits for my in network clients and help to fault to chase down claims for my in network clients?
Raunak Sharma 14:49
Exactly. It would work the same way.
Katie Vernoy 14:52
It’s amazing You’re solving so many problems, right? Like, this is amazing.
Raunak Sharma 14:59
Yeah, appreciate it. It just makes sense. The tech was there, it makes sense that that was the next thing we opened up to. And it works the same way. I mean, you as soon as you charge the client for the appointment, collect the copay. Same thing. I mean, there’s no like CMS forms, there’s no CPT codes to memorize, it just gets submitted automatically comes back to you. I mean, you really the only work that you have to do is, is really, if you have a question on Oh, you know, what’s the status? Or where, you know, what’s the timeline, kind of just reach out to us or just look at directly from your portal and see what’s going on? Same idea with out of network billing.
Katie Vernoy 15:38
So what makes this payment processor slash Insurance billing dream, different from other payment processors? I mean, part of it is the insurance element that just seems like such an amazing offering. Like that is so amazing, it will help so many people be able to do insurance without this huge up cost for a biller. So amazing. But you’ve also kind of referred to the payment processors like well, it’s similar, but there’s, there’s clearly a reason why you’re not just letting other payment processors kind of stand in the marketplace like you’re you’re stepping in so what what makes you different?
Raunak Sharma 16:19
Yeah, well, well, Katie, I will say the main thing is the insurance billing concept. I mean, if you really look at any healthcare business, especially small business, like you mentioned, they accept payments via one set of software technology, and they need a whole separate team to do their billing for them. And that is just two completely separate workflows and two completely separate teams to completely separate costs. Something that can vary, you know, that we can really integrate merge together and handle from, you know, one point of contact. And so I think that, you know, it makes a lot of sense to, you know, for payments and billing in the world of healthcare to be merged together. And that’s, that’s really where you stand. And that’s really why we’re coming into the marketplace, because I think payment processors are kind of just a blanket solution for for any business. And it solves the issue of like, okay, how do you actually accept credit cards, but it doesn’t really cater to like specific business needs, and each niche and community. And so I mean, I think that in the future, we’re going to see a lot of things like Thrizer in different areas, where you have very specific payment processors and what the services that they offer. But I would say that’s the main, that’s the main benefit of going with something like Thrizer.
Katie Vernoy 17:41
I love it.
Curt Widhalm 17:42
Why is why? Why are you choosing to partner with us and our audience, Modern Therapist’s Survival Guide and Therapy Reimagined here?
Raunak Sharma 17:51
Yeah, absolutely. Well, I will say the I talked a little about the implications for healthcare in general of kind of introducing a new payment processor. And I talked about my story about mental health care, being my passion, my experience, the community that I want to help out the most. And it makes sense. You know, I think that private pay therapists and solo practitioners have some of the biggest struggles with insurance. And like I mentioned, there’s so many valid reasons why people don’t get credentialed. And, you know, they, you know, people, single solo practitioners are just like small group practices, often don’t times have the resources to have a whole billing team, and things like that. So, you know, that was really the people that we were looking to help out most. And, you know, when I first heard about Therapy Reimagined, and The Modern Therapist’s Survival Guide podcast, I felt like we were, you know, our audience and the people that we were helping out were just so similar. And that’s when I reached out and then you know, had the first conversation with Katie and just so much of our values and our kind of just like the vision aligned. And when Katie got super excited, and that just made me more excited. I got the energy was like, yeah, that just like, I feed off that energy, and so I was just like, Oh, my God, this is perfect. I think there’s so much fit here. So I was just so thrilled to partner up.
Curt Widhalm 19:17
And just once again, for the on that values piece. There’s so much that Katie and I do in all of the people that we choose to partner with all of the companies that we really go to great lengths to that. I’m taking some of the credit here, Katie does a lot of that work, but but these are the types of companies, Raunak’s the type of person that our values really do align and making this a win win for customers and for practitioners is really something that we look for in our partners too, we’re really excited to work with partner with Thrizer here, you’re gonna be seeing a lot more of the roadmap being played out. And a lot of us, you know, really standing behind this. We think that this is a great partnership. It’s great for our clients. It’s great for us. It’s great for Thrizer. We’re really excited about this year.
Katie Vernoy 20:25
And I’m trying to find it right now. Do you have the special offer Raunak? Or do I should I pull it up? Because you had sent it over to us? And I realized I don’t have it up right now. But before I get to that, do you have any other elements of kind of what’s on the roadmap for Thrizer? Because I realized I kind of cutyou off.
Raunak Sharma 20:41
Yeah, no, I would say, you know, with 100% certainty, I can say, next six weeks, we’re having that full billing suite out at scale. Well, you know, another thing that I realized we have a lot of group practices you started to get interested in. So we’re kind of having a version of tThrizer specifically catered for group practices as well being released again, in that six week timeline. So it’s, it’s kind of we’ll help you manage kind of building as a group together, and managing the account and reconciliation that goes into that. In the future, you know, I mean, we want to continue to support private pay therapists, and therapists in general, and just making the world of therapy easier, frictionless, and kind of offloading all the admin unnecessary obstacles that get in the way. And part of that involves a row down into offering more features to help you run your practice. So we already have a calendar, but things like telehealth and notes, documentation, forums, things like that. We do see in the roadmap. And another thing that we are looking into and excited about is just partnerships integrations with other EHRs. And given you know, therapists and options to choose Thrizer as a processor as their payment method, from their EHR, rather than, you know, the current one that they use, and just, you know, keep switching over to another platform is a lot of work and being able to have that offer where you know, you can just use us through your current EHR, and enjoy the accessibility and offloading that comes with it. We definitely want to make that accessible as well. I don’t really have a timeline for those two latter things. But that’s definitely on our mind.
Katie Vernoy 22:30
That sounds super exciting. I did find our special offer that you sent to us. So you, you made a little special link. It’s bit.ly/moderntherapists. And if you sign up with Thrizer with the code, moderntherapists and it’s all lowercase, so moderntherapists with an S at the end, you get one month of no credit card fees or payment processing fees. So basically, free money and free help. Like that is amazing.
Raunak Sharma 23:02
Yeah, essentially, you’ll earn your 100% of your rate during that time.
Katie Vernoy 23:06
That’s so generous. Thank you so much Raunak, I have a feeling there are a lot of people that are very excited about the solution because it just when you want to be accessible, but you can’t afford to take insurance or you can’t afford to get a biller or those types of things like I really see this as a way that modern therapists can help themselves and their clients focus on therapy. I think you said that like just get rid of the other stuff and focus on the therapy What What a novel concept.
Raunak Sharma 23:34
It just makes so much sense. Yes. Awesome.
Curt Widhalm 23:39
Well, check out Thrizer, we will have it plastered all over our stuff here in the coming months. We’re really excited about this. And until next time, I’m Curt Widhalm with Katie Vernoy and Raunak Sharma from Thrizer.
Raunak Sharma 23:58
Thanks, guys. Thank you so much for the time.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai