GiveForward and Simplee Join Forces to Help Americans Manage and Cover Medical Expenses

August 29, 2011

1:30 pm

I don’t think that there is one person in this country who thinks our healthcare system is functional, but if there is, here are some new numbers to prove them wrong:  A study by the National Bureau of Economic Research shows 50% of American households certainly or probably would not be able to cope with an unexpected $2,000 medical expense, and an additional 70% of Americans say they are concerned about managing their healthcare bills.

Two startups, GiveForward and Simplee, have joined forces to solve this problem and simplify healthcare for Americans.  Their goal is to make it easier to ask for and give help.

Chicago-based GiveForward, who we have covered several times before, provides online fundraising pages that allow people to crowdfund so they can cover out-of- pocket medical expenses. Simplee, meanwhile, is a San Francisco-based free, web-based consumer service that helps you better understand and manage medical bills.

I spoke with Cate Conroy from GiveForward this morning, and she pointed out that even if you have medical coverage, there are a lot of other expenses that pop up:

When I was 3, my mom was diagnosed with cervical cancer, 6 months after having my sister.  Though we had excellent medical coverage, my dad suddenly had 2 children to care for and had to figure out how to pay for childcare while my mom was undergoing treatment.  These kinds of expenses are common – they can include travel expenses, dog sitting/boarding, and so on – and most people are totally unprepared to pay for them.

Both GiveForward and Simplee have hit the nail on the head and are enjoying tremendous growth.  Cate said that GiveForward’s active users fluctuate – donors fluctuate significantly – but fundraisers, which typically run for 6-8 weeks, always number around 1,000.  This past weekend, they hit $6 million in donations; August alone was their best month, with $500k in donations to date.  While Simplee is not releasing exact numbers, Cate reported that they already have thousands of users after being out of a beta for several weeks.

And in case you are wondering, Cate’s mom has been cancer-free for 25 years.

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Monika Jansen is a writer and editor who is happiest pounding out blog posts, newsletters, website content, and other materials. Follow her at: @monikacjansen

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