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Supplementing Healthcare Cost

Supplementing Healthcare Cost

The Noida-based healthcare financing platform offers medical loans at zero per cent interest

Nivesh Khandelwal, Founder and CEO, LetsMD / Photograph by Shekhar Ghosh Nivesh Khandelwal, Founder and CEO, LetsMD / Photograph by Shekhar Ghosh

1) The Founder

After getting an engineering degree from UCLA and an MBA from the Wharton School, Nivesh Khandelwal worked for a healthcare firm but soon realised how fast-rising out-of-pocket expenses made it difficult for people to avail of quality healthcare services even when they had health insurance policies. The widening demand-supply gap in healthcare costs led him to launch LetsMD (Medbay India) with Prakhar Gupta. The latter is no longer with the company, and Khandelwal runs the venture as Founder and CEO.

2) How It Works

The start-up has tied up with hospitals, as well as banks and non-banking finance companies (NBFCs), to provide a seamless experience to its customers seeking healthcare loans over and above what is allowed by their respective medical insurance policies. It has partnered with 500-plus hospitals to ensure super speciality healthcare services, and the financing part is managed by its NBFC and banking partners. As of now, LetsMD has teamed up with Axis Bank and seven NBFCs. Enlisting hospitals is a crucial component of the business as 80 per cent of the borrowers are referred to the company by medical facilities, which also bear the interest cost, while borrowers only service the principal. "This helps hospitals sign up patients and patients can also choose wisely after comparing pricing and service quality on the LetsMD platform," says Khandelwal. It has also launched medical payment cards which cost Rs 500-3,500 a year and cover loans up to Rs 5 lakh.

The company receives 4-25 per cent of the bill value as lead generation fee when it sends its customers to hospitals, but the commission is calculated on the loan value if borrowers come to them via hospital referrals. Lenders share 2.5-5 per cent of the loan value with the company. LetsMD currently operates in Delhi-NCR, Mumbai and Bengaluru but plans to expand in 12 more cities within a year.

3) How Borrowers Benefit

The platform offers loans ranging from Rs 20,000 to Rs 20 lakh for all types of treatment, including critical, non-critical and confidential surgeries. However, a guarantor is required in case of a critical surgery if the borrower is the patient. LetsMD also customises loans and repayments depending on the nature of the ailment (a recurring medical condition or not), recuperation period and so on. Based on these data points, it keeps building its algorithms and suggests the most relevant loan products.