Healthtech Startup ‘Better’ Aims to Outdo John Oliver by Relieving $16 Million in Medical Debt
Better will donate all future revenues to RIP Medical Debt until they accumulate enough money to go HBO star John Oliver one better in medical debt forgiveness.
SAN FRANCISCO, June 28, 2017 — Better, the healthtech startup that helps people get money back from their health insurance, announced today that it intends to beat John Oliver’s highly-public gift last summer of donating to RIP Medical Debt almost $15 million in unpaid medical debt for about 9,000 families in Texas.
Better promises to up the ante by forgiving one million dollars more in medical than Oliver, doing so over a longer period of time and in more states.
“We at Better are committed toward being effective advocates for patients,” said CEO Rachael Norman. “We believe in this so strongly that we are spending our initial revenues as a startup not on ads or on marketing, but on buying $16 million worth of medical debt.
Norman credits John Oliver for inspiring the Better campaign. “We got the idea after he initiated one of the largest TV giveaways in history last summer, when he created a vehicle to purchase $15 million of medical debt, relieving patients of an additional financial burden that so often comes at a time when people are in their most vulnerable state.”
“We are buying back medical debt because so many Americans struggle in this broken healthcare system,” said Norman. “There are no strings attached to our debt forgiveness program – it’s our way to pay it forward.”
“Their company will direct 100 percent of all future revenues to RIP Medical Debt until they have out-given John Oliver by reaching $16 million in forgiven debt,” said RIP cofounder and EVP Jerry Ashton. “This will translate to around 1,000 more recipients as well.”
“Given the current drama in our nation’s capital and the proposed cuts being considered in health care coverage,” said RIP cofounder Craig Antico, “the need is clear for RIP’s debt forgiveness programs. Our work will only grow. Even if a single-payer system were to be instituted this year, there are trillions of dollars from past years that still need to be drained from the medical debt swamp.”
Norman describes Better as “a technology company that shepherds people through an extraordinarily complex system to get their out-of-network medical bills reimbursed from insurance providers, even if it takes stacks upon stacks of documentation or hours of phone calls. We do it, so you don’t have to.”
RIP Medical Debt is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) charity, based in Rye, New York, established in 2014 to abolish unpaid and unpayable medical debt. Funded by donations from individuals and organizations, RIP locates and buys portfolios of medical debt (for pennies on the dollar) and then forgives the debt, no strings attached, as a random act of kindness.