In 2007 a company called East Bridge Funding was established. Headquartered in Charleston, South Carolina, this company created a program in 2014 called Simple Select—a program meant to help those struggling with money to finance their medical bills. It is, at the core, simple, and it strives to be fair and smart in the financial assistance options it provides. With Simple Select, a loan could bring a lot of relief to your medical situation.
To start, you do have to submit an application for this program, but it's easy and fast. Either you or your provider can submit the application (however, you do have to submit it through a provider, not by yourself). After completing the application process, you'll be approved or denied within minutes. If approved, funds are put into your account within one or two days. One convenience of using Simple Select is that they accept electronic signatures and provide an online portal through which patients can make payments. This allows patients to manage their payment on their smartphone or other portable device using an iOS or Android App.
The product that Simple Select offers is worthy of praise. Through this program, a user can receive a closed-end loan for $1,000-$20,000+ that spans between 6 to 60 months. A loan, being superior to a credit card, doesn't affect your credit score and it's more practical for a large medical expense that most likely will not be the recurring type.
The terms of these loans are reasonable, but another advantage is that the interest rate on your loan will stay the same for the life of the loan. Interest rates are between 14.99% and 16.99%, but the company does offer interest-free promotions (the interest-free periods being 3, 6, 12, or 18 months). The terms of this promotion depend on your provider's policies.
Simple Select defines eight medical industries that their loans can cover: hearing, dental, orthodontics, Lasik, chiropractic, cosmetic surgery, liposuction, and veterinary. While they don't assure that you can use these funds for just any treatment, these eight industries are very common and the costs of their treatments can definitely warrant financial help. Simple Select covers a lot of bases in this regard.
The Simple Select program itself is only about five-years-old. That means that no matter how experienced its operating company is, the program is still in its early stages. More time is needed to work out any problems with the loans, acquire a larger patient and provider base, and even prove that the program can run successfully for the full length of its longest loan (60 months). Even East Bridge Funding is a new company, being only eight years old. For some customers, this is too early to commit.
One of the great limitations here is something Simple Select prides itself on-the fact that they offer only loans and not credit in any form. While loans do indeed have their advantages in medical finances, credit does too. For example, credit can be more helpful for smaller procedures that you have to go through more than once. Simple Select limits itself to just one product.
This isn't an uncommon limitation for a healthcare finance company, but it's a limitation nonetheless. You can only apply for a loan with Simple Select through a provider that is enrolled in the program. So if your hospital or doctor's office doesn't want to enroll, you're out of luck or you need to find a new provider. In addition, once you do receive funding through your provider, you may only use that money toward treatments by your provider. (You can't use the provider to apply and then put the money toward a treatment elsewhere.) This should be a given, but on the off chance that a patient wants to use the loan for multiple providers or has other ideas, the flexibility is not there.
Although the interest rates here are fixed, there's no denying that they are a bit high. While some competitors are offering interest rates of just 5% or 10%--or even 0.00%-Simple Select is practically charging an arm and a leg just for interest. A 15% rate is in the middle of the road as far as rates go, but that doesn't make it low enough.
Finally, it's quite frustrating that this company doesn't provide enough specifics on their website. They don't provide an easy way to find out whether your provider is enrolled in the program, leaving you to just ask the provider yourself. In addition, they don't offer information about the size of their provider network or what they'll charge for late fees. Information like this might make or break your decision, so it would be nice if the company was more clear about it. The Simple Select program can't be used for just any medical expense, which is a limitation as well. At the core, the program is limited by its approach to providing only loans, as well as the fact that it is still new.