MN startup CutMedicalBills.com teaches you how to negotiate debt

CutMedBillsLogoSeveral years ago, David Dubé and David Holt met at a networking event for young professionals in St. Paul. They shared some small talk, exchanged cards, and went their separate ways.

Some time later, when Dubé’s mother was diagnosed with cancer, requiring a complicated and dangerous surgical procedure, he realized he needed some help. So he reached out to Holt, who happened to be a health care attorney.

Dubé was impressed by Holt’s ability to navigate the entire process, especially when it came to managing and negotiating the exorbitant bills and expenses that came attached.

A small business consultant, Dubé immediately saw the experience as an opportunity, and asked, “How can we make this scalable?”

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It’s no secret that health care debt is a substantial and sometimes crippling issue for many families across the country. Statistics show that one in five Americans struggle to pay their medical bills, and that medical debt remains the leading cause of bankruptcy despite new laws and regulations intended to alleviate these pains.

Even for those with good insurance, major health problems can lead to enormous expenses for care, turning an already stressful and scary situation into a life-altering financial catastrophe.

Reducing the debt associated with these matters is possible, with the right know-how. Oftentimes, people will enlist a medical bill advocate or an attorney to try and bring down these fees, but Dubé had a different idea: tapping into Holt’s immense knowledge and building a product that showed people how to do it themselves.

“We want to empower the individual to be negotiating their medical debt directly,” says Holt. “We haven’t seen anyone doing what we’re doing.”

The two came together to create a product that is as simple and straightforward as its name and URL: CutMedicalBills.com. Customers pay a flat fee and receive access to a series of videos that carefully walk a layman through the complicated process of negotiating and reducing medical debt. Buyers also receive access to a members-only Facebook group for community support.

The site went live in beta form in late December, and the online courses are currently available for $7. The company is planning a full nationwide launch in mid-March, at which point the price will rise to $97. Dubé and Holt believe that’s a strong value, since they say that their methods lead to bill relief of 60 percent on average, with some cases reaching as high as 75 percent or more.

A one-time purchase comes with access to any updates that are made in the future, but Dubé says that the company can further monetize memberships by upselling services that these individuals would find beneficial, such as credit repair and financial planning.

The entrepreneurial Dubé sees big market potential.

“A safe estimate is that 100 million Americans have trouble paying their medical bills,” he says. “If we can take 1 percent of that online, we’d be very happy with it.”

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