Digit Zero, a digital lending platform for medical treatment, is set to expand its presence in 20 cities by the end of 2018 with an aim to disburse medical loan of Rs. 100 crore.
To expand its presence it is targeting cities known for high end healthcare facility and medical tourism. Pune, Ahmedabad, Coimbatore, Delhi, Jaipur, Indore, Gwalior, Kolkata, Kochi, Goa, Baroda, Surat and Rajkot are among the 20 cities where Digit Zero aims to set up base by next year.
Started by orthopedic surgeon Dr Shalin Maheshwari in Mumbai four months back, Digit Zero has disbursed medical loan of Rs. 18 crore to 4,500 patients so far. Treatment procedures-- IVF, dental surgery, obesity treatment, nasal surgery and aesthetic surgery, orthopedic surgery have witnessed higher traction of loan disbursement. The company has targeted Rs. 35 crore disbursement for fiscal 2017-18.
It has tied up with 70 hospitals in Mumbai where patients undergoing treatment can avail loan and number of hospitals on its board is increasing. Those going for planned surgery can apply online for loan and in case of emergency surgery, family members can take loan on behalf of patients.
Talking about the reason behind the launch of medical loan company, Dr Maheshwari said, “In India penetration of health insurance is just 20 per cent and it does not cover everything. Rest of the population still depends on their savings/assets to pay for medical treatment. At times treatment costs them a bomb. One of the major reasons that Indians incur debt is the cost of healthcare. The estimated share of household out-of-pocket expenses in total health spending is one of the highest in the world. Over 63 million persons are faced with poverty every year due to healthcare costs alone, according to health ministry. With an aim to serve uninsured people, we have come up with Digit Zero which offers interest free loan to patients in less than two hours which they can pay by EMIs over 6 months to three years.”
No interest is charged on loan for first year. Second year onwards nominal interest ranging from 3 to 6 per cent is charged on the unpaid amount. Unlike other loans the money is given to the service provider (hospital) upon receipt of completion of treatment of borrower (patient). Documents required for customer are proof of identity - pan card and Aadhaar card (both compulsory) and CIBIL score. Those who do not have CIBIL score are required to submit three months bank statement and salary slips for last 3 months. One can avail a loan starting from Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 6 lakh depending on his repayment ability. Digit Zero can facilitate upto 100% of the loan amount application. It lends to a family member, as well as allows people to take loans on behalf of friends or other acquaintances. The decision of successful application will be notified between 30 minutes to 6 hours of a complete application.
Besides patients, Digit Zero also offers varied benefits to hospitals including increasing footfall and revenue, reducing payment delay.
Apart from loan disbursement to patients, we are also looking to finance doctors to purchase equipments, set up clinics etc. We are also planning to finance pharmacies and other ancillary industries. By the end of 2018 we aim to start loan disbursement for medicos and pharmacies, he informed.