ACCESS Health hosted the second session of the virtual Fintech for Health Special Interest Group (SIG) on October 20, 2021. Through this second session, the Fintech for Health team in India creates a platform for knowledge sharing and dialogue between Fintech and HealthTech players and to catalyze creation of new partnerships and models to support health financing for the lower-income segment.ACCESS Health, with support from MetLife Foundation, created the Fintech for Health platform for innovative solutions that enable low- to moderate-income people in Southeast Asia to pay for and access high-quality care using digital financial services and a financial inclusion approach

Thirty-five representatives from leading health tech, fintech, e-commerce, and insurance companies participated in the second session. The objectives of the second session were to

  • Present a framework to design a minimum viable health wallet
  • Provide the SIG platform to a few participants to share their model and lessons from their journey.

Presentations were given by representatives from Sambav Health Wallet, a digital payments and banking expert, 3M Health Information Systems, Pro Mujer from Latin America.

The second SIG session elaborated on the digital health wallet discussion from the launch event and proposed a framework as a minimum viable product. Dr. Pankaj Gupta, Digital Health Lead at ACCESS Health elaborated on the benefits of a health wallet to bring in:

  • Faster turn around and visibility on payments
  • Improve cash in hand
  • Digital lending and savings solutions
  • Options for group and microinsurance
  • Real time epidemiological analysis and optimizing resources for both provider and consumer

Based on secondary research, a snapshot of the available health wallets in India was presented. The SIG provides an opportunity and envisages that the existing ecosystem of HealthTech and Fintech could find viable ways to bridge the gaps within existing health wallet designs in the market.

Sambav, a Health Wallet company brings together patient-centric healthcare ecosystem to cover multiple aspects of health and wellness, presented their product. The health wallet allows a person to explore the numerous features available, including health records, booking appointments, pharmacy, diagnostics, safety services, making it a one-stop solution for all healthcare needs. Sambav it yet to offer digital financial options to its customers and is exploring partnerships from within the SIG to fill the gap.

A digital payments and banking expert, Mr. Sunil Kulkarni, shared his views on current trends of digital payments in India. However, largely confined to metro and tier I cities, digital payments are accessed by ~1 50million customers across India. He emphasized on the huge opportunity to digitize the non tech savvy population who could potentially benefit from digital platforms especially for health services such as the eRUPI. eRUPI, India’s first digital and cashless benefit payments voucher, a crude form of a health wallet which could be used across healthcare value chain whether it is patient visit, pharmacy, insurance, reimbursements, payments, etc. eRUPI opens up opportunities for digital payments for healthcare services especially, in the low income and rural segment of India. It can be leveraged as a mode of payment for its digital, cashless, easy redemption, safe and secure format for the providers and for customers even without a bank account and no internet connectivity.

3M Health Information Systems, a division within the 3M health care business, a multi-technology company, presented the various bundling systems such as the Diagnostic Related Groups (DRGs) and its relevance to India with its challenges to adapt DRGs for payments in secondary and tertiary care settings. 3M HIS, highlighted how bundling systems aim to create sustainable, efficient, and accountable healthcare systems and its advantages for the Indian healthcare system to move from fee for service; driving healthcare expenditures and issues of out-of-pocket expenditure; to value-based transparent and fair payments. The use of DRGs for aligning payments across levels of care could be a potential way forward for the National Health Authority to steer it to be relevant for Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana and other government-sponsored health insurance schemes in India in the near future.

Pro Mujer, a mission-driven social enterprise, advancing gender equality in Latin America, shared its innovative programs of financial and digital inclusion; entrepreneurship, and healthcare, especially designed for women. Pro Mujer, provides digital transformation and offers micro-financial lending services to individual and groups of women enterprises, offers insurance products, builds capacities, and empowers women with education, training, health services, and financial management.

In summary, the Special Interest Group second session was mainly focused on going more into depth of the health wallet framework and bringing in practical experiences from the fintech and health tech industry to showcase their models and to understand the challenges and use cases of these models. The second session highlighted how digitally-powered health wallet can serve as an interface to make digital payments for all healthcare expenditures incurred by a patient in both outpatient and inpatient settings. Given the current scenario, where many insurance companies moving ahead with possible Health Wallets, there is need for understanding the challenges and finding ways to offer an integrated product with various fintech and insuretech coming together to develop a comprehensive health wallet. The next SIG will be hosted end of November 2021.

Please see blog post on the next Special Interest Group Series Launched in India here

Authors: Sireesha Perabathina, Senior Consultant at ACCESS Health International

For more information contact [email protected]