Embedded finance is reshaping India’s healthcare sector, simplifying the way people pay for medical services. This modern approach allows individuals to settle healthcare bills effortlessly through methods like tapping cards or scanning QR codes.
Receiving a massive health care bill can be jolting for anyone. But what if paying for healthcare was made as easy as just tapping a card or scanning a QR code, or paying through your phone and receiving instant notifications for the transaction? This would be a smart and quick utilization experience of embedded finance for your healthcare expenditure.
However, the question arises of who is providing this instant payment. This might be offered as reimbursement funds from your employer, low-cost/no-cost loans, and health insurance providers who at times are instrumental in completing these payments.
At present, most Indians pay for their healthcare expenses from their pockets or borrow from friends and family. According to NITI Aayog (Govt. of India)’s, March 2021 report claimed that Indians have spent a jaw-dropping $72 Billion on healthcare expenses. This is one of the major contributing factors why Indians are dragged below the poverty line year on year.
When we think of healthcare expenses, we most times consider the expenses shouldered during hospitalization and for critical care. We fail to recognize miscellaneous payments such as buying medicines, routine blood tests, visits to our general practitioner, skin care treatments, assisted pregnancy, etc. All such medical expenses collectively fall under elective procedures’ or ‘The OPD category.’
Health insurance policies rarely cover these OPD and elective procedures. Statistics say that 3 out of 4 Indians are either uninsured or underinsured. Quite often several of these ‘non-medical procedures are paid for from our pockets.
Imagine paying for these elective procedures’ or even the OPD category through a hassle-free payment option. The integration of technology into the healthcare sector has proved to be very beneficial for both healthcare providers as well as patients. By onboarding financial organizations like banks, payment gateways providers, lenders, etc, embedded finance has created a strong chain where payer’s needs are fulfilled, and a lubricated money flow is created for the healthcare provider simultaneously. Thus, embedded finance in many ways empowers users.
Providing zero-interest EMIs to users certainly is bringing massive disruption to the sector. Embedded finance simply enables users to avail medical treatment by installing QR codes at a doctor’s clinic or merchant’s center that has a certain pre-approved credit limit for patients’ medical treatment. Embedded finance also helps patients channel their savings in a more structured and planned manner.
Embedded finance is widely used in retail and related sectors. However, this is fast changing and being applied to an industry that is quickly accepting innovations. International brands like Hello Walnut or PayZen from the US, CarePay from Africa, and Aya Care from Canada exploring the Indian Markets; home-grown brands like QubeHealth are also creating a significant movement in the sector.
Providing instant funds for healthcare expenses will positively impact the accessibility of healthcare services and help bring down the poverty level in India Additionally embedded finance is a win-win situation for both, the user and healthcare providers. Users can seek better medical assistance and healthcare providers can offer better facilities. This inversely helps bridge the gap of unaffordability in the healthcare sector and paves the way for new avenues in this industry.
(The author of this article is Chris George – Cofounder & CEO of QubeHealth)