Back in my revenue cycle days working for health systems across the US, I witnessed a few miracles. I watched as business office folks (often well-intentioned) wrote off high 5-figure, sometimes 6-figure, patient debt balances to charity. Just like that—lives changed, medical debt removed with a click of a button.
But to patients (sometimes deceased) and their families, a business’ informal decision to erase medical debt wasn’t magic. On their end, this was months, sometimes years, of confusing bills in the mail, threatening phone calls from hospitals, denials from insurance, and dreaded voicemails. Lost in the morass of healthcare, feeling totally stuck. From my own family experience, the bills can cause more pain than the medical issue itself.
Patients need help to have a better financial experience in healthcare.
At Turquoise Health, our angle is price transparency, and there happens to be a business model behind it. Dollar For, founded and led by Jared Walker, addresses an area that businesses overlook: connecting patients with medical debt to financial assistance and charity care. This relief from the specter of medical bills lets patients go on with their lives, save for college, vacation, or even afford basic necessities like food and housing.
To date, Dollar For has sourced $15M in medical debt relief. This is incredible. But the problem is immense. According to a JAMA article, up to 50% of Americans hold some form of medical debt for a total of $140M dollars. Jared’s team is just getting started.
Dollar For’s model seeks to scale volunteers and technology to help solve the medical debt crisis and connect more patients to financial relief. The more the entire Turquoise Health team learns about Jared’s mission and all that he and Dollar For have accomplished so far, the more we find ourselves inspired to get involved. “We are overwhelmed by the generosity of the folks at Turquoise Health. It is always so exciting when people that have the same passion for healthcare hear our story and want to support our work. Thank you so much for believing in what we do. It means the world.” said Jared, who if you haven’t seen, is not only running Dollar For but is also the mastermind behind their viral TikToks.
Dollar For is addressing the problem of medical debt in a simple, patient-friendly way.
They are working to solve the problem at the source while helping patients better understand the intricacies of financial assistance options. Most importantly, they are changing people’s lives.
We are not only excited to support Dollar For with a $25k commitment to start, but we’re also eager to explore ways to leverage the Turquoise website and platform to connect patients to Dollar For. While price transparency solutions can help patients avoid high costs upfront for shoppable services, these alone will not be enough, especially for unplanned care and low-income patients.
Turquoise will look to explore how our relationships with Turquoise Verified Providers and Dollar For can align to help streamline and standardize discovery of and application to financial assistance programs. Starting today, patients can learn about Dollar For while viewing non-profit profiles on our public Provider Pages. Check an example, here.
Be on the lookout in 2022 as our partnership continues to expand!