Alipay is processing health insurance claims within seconds using a blockchain system, state-owned Securities Daily reported yesterday.
Alipay runs a free health insurance product as part of its rewards system. When users pay offline with AliPay, they earn bonus points towards the health insurance product. The plan is run with one of China’s largest life insurers Taikang Insurance. Within a month of launching in April 2017, 13 million people had signed up for the rewards program which amounts to 11% of Taikang’s online users, according to Asean Today.
A patient at Taizhou Central Hospital paid the bills using AliPay. The hospital issued electronic invoices on the blockchain. Because the invoices are generated by the hospital and are tamper proof, AliPay doesn’t need to check their authenticity. It helps to address issues like over reporting, false reporting, and fraudulent invoices.
Presumably, the invoices are coded in a way that enables AliPay to identify the related illness, as the insurance will only cover specific ailments.
The invoices were saved in the patient’s AliPay invoice manager. He used these electronic documents to submit a claim through the app “after supplementing the relevant claims materials”. The reimbursement of 97 yuan ($14) appeared in his AliPay account in 5 seconds. Given the size of this sort of claim, a low-cost claims process benefits AliPay and Taikang.
The maximum claim amount is 20,000 yuan ($2,900). While the blockchain process is new, since the free insurance policy was launched there have been 200,000 reimbursement claims. The total amounts to 70 million yuan ($10.1 million) giving an average claim of $50.
AliPay also recently launched a blockchain-based prescription service. This prevents prescriptions being re-used, and it automates the process of getting a repeat prescription which usually involves queuing at a hospital. The plan is also to enable doctors conducting telemedicine consultations to be able to issue prescriptions onto the blockchain.