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Bridging Financial Gaps in Healthcare through Fintech Solutions

By Mr Gaurav Gupta

 

In recent years, the healthcare industry has undergone a remarkable shift with a slew of initiatives being introduced by the government to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC). Having said that, the patient’s medical journey spanning from emergency medical surgeries to palliative care is parallelly encumbered by medical bills and expenses. According to a recent WHO study, exorbitant out-of-pocket expenditures in healthcare impoverish 55 million Indians, annually.

 

Additionally, the country’s underinsured landscape further aggravates the healthcare burden as 73% of the populace still lacks adequate insurance coverage. Addressing these healthcare challenges, fintech integration proves to be a game-changer for overcoming financial disparities in healthcare. Subsequently, the healthcare ecosystem stands strong at the cusp of a revolution, taking giant leaps of innovation to break the conventional healthcare payment system.

 

Innovation at its Peak with Embedded Finance

A myriad of factors such as the pandemic outbreak, an upsurge in lifestyle disorders and disposable income have left a significant financial impact. The exorbitant medical costs, limited public insurance coverage, and unaffordable private insurance further force the low and moderate-income population to delay medical procedures or seek financial support from unsecured avenues.

 

In response to the need for bridging the financial gaps, the introduction of embedded finance proves to be monumental in attaining equitable healthcare. Rooted in the ethos to offer tailored financing solutions like zero-cost EMIs to the underserved segment, embedded finance goes a long way in reducing the burden of out-of-pocket expenses, which consequently alleviates the financial onus altogether.

 

Bringing Flexibility to Financing

Breaking away from the connotations of ‘Impossible’, fintech solutions have enabled the healthcare sector to capitalise on Flexible Financing. Fostering a cohesive system to meet the burgeoning healthcare finances effectively, flexible financing allows patients to span out the cost of treatment over time, reducing upfront financial burdens. This flexibility further enables patients to avail medical services at private hospitals, which substantially relieves the strain on public healthcare institutions. Not only does flexible financing enable patients to receive timely care, but also empowers medical institutions to improve the efficacy of healthcare services.

 

Digitising the Payment Process

Fintech platforms can be accredited for spearheading transformation in the healthcare payment framework into a digitised infrastructure. Capitalising on enabling efficiency and security, the digital KYC process allows an expedited verification process. This, in return, enables lending providers to offer instant credit approvals and payouts, ensuring necessary medical care is not hampered due to financial limitations, while also enhancing security. Taking a step ahead, fintech platforms catering to healthcare allow for seamless integration with robust frameworks like the Aadhar, which opens doors to streamlined financing interactions within the broader digital space.

 

Ensuring Uninterrupted Access to Healthcare Services

Financial solutions that fail to provide uninterrupted support at the point of care usually become redundant as it causes challenges in the upfront cash flow for patients and healthcare providers. Fintech platforms have come up with Cashless Claim Financing as an innovative payment solution allowing patients to avail immediate care without making any initial payments. The entire cost is taken up by the health insurer and paid almost instantly to the healthcare provider. This expedited payment flow from the insurer to the healthcare institution, allows patients to access uninterrupted healthcare services without having to worry about upfront financial costs.

 

Empowering Healthcare Providers

Within the intricate healthcare ecosystem, the traditional insurance reimbursement cycle which can last upto 90 days, causes significant financial restrictions for healthcare providers which hampers their ability to offer top-notch quality care. To ensure seamless cash flow for healthcare providers, fintech platforms have once again taken charge by launching solutions like immediate financing, easy transferability of funds, and zero fees on funds that are non-utilized. Such dynamic solutions empower healthcare facilities to maintain a diversified portfolio of funds to effectively offer medical services to patients in cases of delays in payments.

 

Final Thoughts

To embark on the trajectory of continued innovation, fintech platforms are on a constant move to mitigate the staggering disparity in the healthcare ecosystem by bringing forth solutions to curb payment delinquencies from the roots. Fintech interventions like Embedded Finance and Vertical Lending have streamlined the flow of payments between patients, insurers and providers, opening more avenues to make healthcare timely accessible. Hence, the convergence of healthcare and fintech stands at a pivotal juncture, laying the foundation of affordable healthcare across the country.      

 

 

(The author is Mr Gaurav Gupta, Co-Founder & CEO, CarePay, and the views expressed in this article are his own)