Member Exclusive, Payments

Looking to the future: Healthcare is the next frontier for Buy now, Pay later

  • Walnut is one of a few lending apps that strives to make healthcare more affordable in the US.
  • Experts believe that there are opportunities for growth in the healthcare, service and travel industries over the next few years.
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Looking to the future: Healthcare is the next frontier for Buy now, Pay later

A few years ago, Roshan Patel watched a hospital slap a relative with a $5,000 medical bill for a fractured leg after she was hit by a car while out for a run. Patel recalls the experience being terrible for the family because the hospital would not lower the bill. Eventually, the hospital threatened to send the family to collections, who eventually threatened to sue them. 

“It stood out to me as a compelling problem,” says Patel. “A bill of that size can just derail your life financially for a lot of Americans.”

Patel is now the founder and CEO of Walnut, an embedded lending app that makes healthcare more affordable for patients by breaking up large medical bills into small, monthly payments. Currently, Walnut is just one of a handful of healthcare-centric buy now, pay later firms in the market. 

With patients suffering from medical debt, hospitals struggling with uncompensated care and no major BNPL making a play just yet, leading industry figures believe that healthcare is the new frontier for BNPLs. They also anticipate opportunities for BNPLs to expand into different verticals over the next few years, such as service and travel. However, increasing use of BNPLs is leading to a debt issue that experts believe US regulators will address within the next year or two. 


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