How My Journey Led Me To Thrizer: Sanjana's Story

Sanjana Sathya

As I entered a Carbon Health clinic in SF, I became very aware of my privilege.

I had started getting some early signs of an ear infection the night before, and I was able to get an appointment for the next morning. As if that wasn’t enough, I vividly remember seeing a homeless man, battered and passed out, just a few feet away from the entrance to the Carbon Health. I had an incredible urge to drag him into the clinic - God knows he needed care much more than I did. But there was nothing I could do.

Moments like this have reinforced how unfair the healthcare system could be. Privilege in the healthcare context is often synonymous with having insurance. Those who have access to health systems and insurance get the care they need, others don’t.

Yet, having insurance is not enough either.

At the time of this incident, I was working at ZS, a healthcare consulting firm, with Genentech’s oncology department as my client. While working on their pricing strategy, I became privy to exactly how much their drugs cost even after provider and payer discounts. It’s absurd how expensive they were. Insurance barely made a dent for patients, often forcing them to spend their life savings on treatment.

Coming out of my experience at ZS, I learned three important things:

  1. Healthcare favors those with good insurance
  2. Acute care is incredibly expensive even for those with insurance
  3. Given this, shouldn’t we as the healthcare industry be focusing more on preventative and mental health care? So that we can at least get ahead of lifestyle-based diseases that could have easily been prevented with proper care and early intervention?

Coincidentally, while I was having all of these revelations about the healthcare industry, my own health was deteriorating - and I had no idea till it had reached a critical point. My mental health had reached an all-time low. I started losing all of my motivation, not just for work but for everything. 3pm looked no different from 3am - both were spent in bed. I had no idea what was happening.


The meme my best friend sent me at the time to describe me (and lighten the mood)

That’s when I went to therapy for the first time.

It wasn’t until I took 6 months off of work, went to weekly therapy, and started medication that I realized whatever was happening was far beyond burnout. I got diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and slowly began to unpack years of unresolved baggage. I became more aware of my perfectionist and people pleasing tendencies that, unbeknownst to me, made their way into all aspects of my life and made it much more difficult to live a fulfilling life.

I’m still on this journey today, excited to unpack more and more with my therapist. I have seen firsthand how powerful therapy can be. I am incredibly grateful for her support, guidance, presence, warmth, and kindness. I can confidently say I would not be who I am today without therapy.

I also became a huge mental health advocate over time for my family and friends. I was excited to share all the great ways that therapy was helping me. Coming from a South Asian family, it took them a while to come around to it. Therapy is still seen as something that only those with “issues” seek out. However, I have appreciated the conversations I’ve had with my parents, educating them that therapy isn’t a bandaid fix for an "issue." It is a promise to yourself to live your best life and not let anything, especially yourself, get in the way of that.

While therapy is one of the biggest gifts I have given myself, I have to admit it hasn’t always been easy affording it. Like many others, I ended up finding my fit with an out-of-network therapist. For the first year I went to therapy, I had no idea what out-of-network benefits were. The second year, I realized I had these benefits but was unsuccessful at recovering any reimbursements. I never heard back on the superbills I submitted, so I gave up and stopped submitting them.


Actual conversation between Raunak and me when I learned about Thrizer


Finally, a couple years out, I came across Thrizer as a client.

I spoke to Raunak, and he nonchalantly reassured me that they could get me money back on my sessions. I was baffled at his confidence - ultimately we were talking about insurance here, the industry notoriously known to screw people over. How could he be so sure?!

I was working at Salesforce at the time. After a short stint there, I jumped ship back into healthcare at One Medical within the preventative and primary care world, and I couldn’t be happier. I was actively looking for a company that aligned with my healthcare mission, and while I had hoped it would be within mental health, I was glad that I was finally helping people receive proper care before ending up in the hospital. I appreciated the innovation that One Medical brought into primary care - no longer did people have to wait weeks to see a provider.

I still remember the day I got back ~$800 for my past therapy sessions.

I was ECSTATIC! I couldn’t fathom how Thrizer had done what I had failed to do as a client. Why hadn’t more people heard of Thrizer? I spent the next few months picking Raunak’s brain on all things insurance, out-of-network benefits, reimbursements. I remember thinking I had finally met another healthcare nerd who was looking to innovate within a clunky system.

The final selling point for me was Thrizer Pay. Through my years within healthcare, I had been convinced that insurance is never enough. Reimbursements weeks later are not enough. I appreciated that I could finally help people access and afford a service that they may otherwise not be able to. I was excited to stop cashflow from being the reason to not be able to see a therapist as frequently as someone wishes.


This is also how I met Mia, Raunak's golden :)


That’s how my journey led me to Thrizer.

I finally feel in alignment. Mental health is near and dear to me, and to make that my full-time job is a dream come true. I am still a proud client of Thrizer. Now, I am also excited to bring the power of Thrizer to more people who may be struggling to pay for therapy. That too in a way that doesn’t negatively impact therapists - because they need to be taken care of first if we want to build a strong mental health system.

Regardless of how helpful Thrizer could be, I am aware that it again favors those with good insurance. Those without out-of-network benefits or with high deductibles cannot benefit from Thrizer, and that breaks my heart. I wish I could wave my magic wand and subsidize therapy for everyone who wants it, completely for free, no strings attached.

We have a long way to go within the therapy industry to find something that sustainably works, for all parties involved. But, I do think this is a good start. Till now, therapy was easily accessible to those who saw an in-network provider or had the means to pay their out-of-network provider’s full fee. We are expanding that to those who have out-of-network benefits, benefitting both clients and therapists.

What’s next then?

How can we help more people access therapy? I know we at Thrizer won’t stop till we build that magic wand ourselves.



This blog post is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal, business, medical, or insurance advice. Laws relating to health insurance and coverage are complex, and their application can vary widely depending on individual circumstances and state laws. Similarly, decisions regarding mental health care should be made with the guidance of qualified health care providers. We strongly recommend consulting with a qualified attorney or legal advisor, insurance representative, and/or medical professional to discuss your specific situation and how the laws apply to you or your situation.

About the Author
Sanjana Sathya

Sanjana is co-founder and Head of Growth at Thrizer. She is passionate about mental health accessibility and has years of experience within the healthcare and technology industries at Genentech, Salesforce, and One Medical. She is based in San Francisco, and loves plant-based cooking, nature, and concerts.