This week BetterMed announced its availability of comprehensive medical lending for the US market at a guaranteed fixed rate of 3.9% APR.
This news comes at a time where healthcare costs have surged in the last few years, with the average American now paying an average of $8,000 a year for personal medical care. Those numbers are projected to increase faster than the economy at a rate of 5.6% every year. In 2018 alone, Americans borrowed more than $88 billion to cover medical costs.
We speak with the company’s Founder and CEO, AJ Cohen, to learn more about the company and the market opportunity.
FinSMEs: Can you tell us a bit more about you? What’s your background?
AJ: I have a Doctor of Law at New York University, as well as a Masters in Finance from London Business School. I founded BetterMed in 2011, and have served as its CEO since its inception.
I have a wealth of experience in the financial industry building lending solutions, processes, and systems required to support the needs of today’s consumers. I have experienced first-hand the financial pressure that a medical condition can put on a family or individual, which is why I am driven to work with businesses and individuals who need assistance with their medical finance.
Medical debt remains the number one cause of bankruptcy in the United States, cited in 67% of all personal bankruptcy cases, despite the Affordable Care Act. It is my mission to live in a world where we can say “yes” to life-changing treatments without the worrisome burden of financial hardship that can follow.
FinSMEs: What is BetterMed? Which need do you want to solve? What is the market opportunity?
AJ: Despite having one of the best healthcare services in the world, the people of America often find the care they need is out of their reach.
Research shows that nearly a quarter of Americans had decided not to seek medical attention because of cost. Despite the Affordable Care Act, insured individuals struggle as well. Many find the deductible costs themselves overwhelming – almost 90% have deductibles of $1,300 or more for an individual or $2,600 for a family, even on the most affordable plans. At every level, the system is getting more and more expensive, and collectively patients, doctors, hospitals, and clinics all bear the brunt.
As a result, people (the patients) are increasingly looking for financial solutions to help them pay the bill for the care they need, which has created a predatory lending environment. The harsh reality is that medical finance companies are taking advantage of people when they are at their most vulnerable, saddling them with high-interest rates, complicated contracts, and hidden loopholes.
We are different. Our application software was built from the ground up, designed to evaluate borrowers on more comprehensive terms than a traditional credit check. Using machine learning and evaluation metrics that include a $999 application fee, proof of ID, income and employment, Our algorithm has refined its loan process to ensure 97% of applicants are approved.
Today, I’m proud to say that BetterMed is the world’s only compassionate-first medical loan provider, committed to providing our borrowers with the best rate, most favorable loan terms and ongoing support to ensure medical bills are not a concern for both a consumer and a provider. To date, my company offers the lowest interest rate at 3.9% APR and most compassionate borrowing terms of any medical loan provider on the market. We enable borrowers to pay anywhere from 4-6x less than they would with any other medical loan.
FinSMEs: Please, can you explain to us the service in detail
AJ: BetterMed’s financing options cover a wide range of medical care costs, providing borrowers the most compassionate loan terms and flexible repayment plans on the market. The company guarantees a 97% approval rate on loans ranging from $2,000 to $350,000, with no credit check. We pride ourselves in being a different kind of medical loan provider, focused on a personal and highly compassionate approach. This has proven so successful that we have achieved a 97% repayment rate, and 100% of its borrowers are repeat customers.
At just 3.9% APR, with at least three years of no interest, no penalty repayment plans, the team at BetterMed works with borrowers to ensure they receive critical funding for healthcare costs without burdensome loan terms or predatory collection tactics. Unlike other medical loan providers, BetterMed has the power to negotiate healthcare costs on behalf of its customers, working with hospitals and doctors to ensure patients receive the most reasonable rates possible.
Our network of investors operate through a closed, peer-to-peer lending model, working directly with doctors, hospitals and individuals to provide fast access to necessary funds for medical needs ranging from critical, to chronic and cosmetic.
We offer to finance for all types of medical costs and we are one of the only companies to specialize in critical care cases, traditionally one of the hardest areas for individuals to secure medical financing. Our compassionate grounds program ensures that no one is refused the vital care they need.
The BetterMed Difference
Lowest interest rate in the world, fixed at 3.9%. Pay 4-6x less with BetterMed.
Borrow what you need – from $2,000 – $350,000 – with a 97% approval rate.
Use the loan to cover any medical costs and outstanding debt.
Our Compassionate Grounds program automatically evaluates those in critical need, ensuring no one is turned away.
FinSMEs: Can you give us some numbers in terms of growth (number of employees, customers, etc.)?
AJ: BetterMed’s network of over 700 investors operates through a closed, peer-to-peer lending model. We work with hospitals, doctors, and individuals to deliver medical loans around the world, with a global team comprised of lenders, loan administrators, and staff. Since our initial launch in 2011, BetterMed has achieved at least 50% revenue growth year over year and finances over 150,000 applicants a year. A privately held company, BetterMed is now available in 51 countries, including Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the United States.
FinSMEs: Future plans?
AJ: We are at an exciting growth phase at BetterMed, with a strong trajectory for 2020. We will continue to advocate for cheaper, more accessible care, and negotiate for our customers when they need it most. While medical financing is one of the critical sectors in need of this service, BetterMed has some exciting plans in the works to expand its loan and debt consolidation services to new markets. Watch this space.
For more information on BetterMed, please visit www.bettermed.com