With the costs of out-of-pocket medical care and the exhaustion of patients’ hard-earned savings, the healthcare start-up Glamio sees a huge opportunity to fill the gap in the entire process, especially in elective surgery. Those who do not have health insurance will bear the cost.
Businessman Preet Paul Thakur, an investment banker turned doctor, claims a cost discount of up to 25% and removes pain points for patients choosing Glamio to go for non-emergency surgeries.
In a free-wheeling conversation with HT Digital, Thakur said that about 75% of Indians pay their medical expenses out of their pockets, which is very typical compared to advanced countries where insurance companies look after costs.
“The level of education and literacy in India combines the challenge when patients seek health care. Therefore, there is huge information asymmetry between hospital or service providers and patient service customers,” Thakur said. Control this information arbitrage of inequality to extract more money from patients.
He suggested that buying a used car is much easier than reaching the right touchpoints for a variety of medical needs at the hospital, and that, unlike the first case involving relationship managers to help customers, patients are left to protect themselves in hospitals.
Describing the benefits of their platform, Thakur said hospitals often surprise patients beyond the initial estimates of surgery. In the case of uninsured patients, additional bills increase their suffering.
“What do we do in the case of these patients? We guarantee the price upfront. How can we do that? We have negotiated rates with hospitals in which we pay X amount for surgery,” he said.
Thakur further explained, “The cash price we offer is for patients or pocket patients with the ability to reduce the cost of surgery upfront, so they already know they have to pay for this surgery. ₹50,000 and a rupee more or no hidden surprises. Because of this ability to quote prices, we have been able to increase the scope of high-quality surgery for a large number of populations, where it was previously inaccessible.
Citing the example of the daily payroll that requires Piles surgery, the Glamio co-founder states that in most cases they go to government hospitals, where they are treated with open surgery, which is ineffective for two weeks.
Thakur said that he will be out of work for these two weeks because it is time for him to recover from surgery.
“Because of this nature, they don’t take treatment for a good day and they have no choice. Enter Glamio and we give them sophisticated laser treatment, where the recovery time is reduced from 15 days to 2 days. ₹30,000 from him and I offer him the EMI option. He has to pay ₹3,000- ₹5,000 left in advance and zero cost EMI. He can resume his normal work after 4 days in his breadwinning, which, under normal circumstances, takes at least 14 days, “he noted.
Glamyo Health, launched by Archit Garg and Dr Preet Paul Thakur, offers services in 250+ zip codes in 15+ cities.