Smart Medical Consumer - Don't Mess With Banu Ozden
Some people you just shouldn't mess with. When Turkish-born Banu Ozden couldn't get a straight answer from her health insurance company about treatment costs after being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005, she got mad. And she got madder still as she went through treatment and received myriad bills filled with unintelligible codes and statements that didn't accurately reflect what she owed. When she finally sorted through the mess, she discovered that she had overpaid by about $4,000.
Instead of simply complaining, Ozden, 44, decided to get even. Formerly a computer science professor at the University of Southern California and director of computing systems research at Bell Labs, Ozden built a medical-billing management service designed for fellow patients. Her Web biz, Smart Medical Consumer, launched in January 2007, with $380,000 from angels. The New York-based company has spent no money on marketing but already has 1,000-some registered users who upload their confidential claims and invoices.
Smart Medical Consumer plans to make money by selling ads to medical and pharmaceutical companies. Though Banu continues to undergo cancer treatment, she says she feels healthy and plays tennis when she can and would like to get back into windsurfing.
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