As China’s coronavirus outbreak continues, some insurance providers are using blockchain technology to expedite claim settlements and reduce fraud, the South China Morning Post reports. According to the report, Ant Financial’s Xiang Hu Bao online mutual aid platform has added the virus to its list of critical illnesses that are eligible for a one-time payment of a maximum 100,000 yuan.
The payout is designed to help patients suffering from the illness manage expenses above and beyond those already covered by the government’s basic healthcare program. Beijing officials had previously said that the government medical insurance will cover all basic healthcare services and medications.
In its report, SCMP described the Xiang Hu Bao platform’s purpose:
The platform is not an insurance product, but a collective claims-sharing mechanism built on blockchain technology that offers basic health plans to its 104 million participants, most of whom are from China’s lower tier cities, counties and rural areas. It uses its blockchain network to speed up settlements and reduce fraud, and is available on Alipay, the predominant mobile payments app in China.
Ant Financial is reportedly using its own capital to fund payouts for the coronavirus. As a result, those payouts are above and beyond the 300,000 yuan payments the platform’s participants have access to for about 100 other critical conditions.
An Ant Financial spokesperson told SCMP that the platform has helped to expedite the company’s ability to get needed payments into patients’ hands:
“Xiang Hu Bao has been able to process claims and make payouts to participants quicker, due to the decentralised, trust-free nature of blockchain technology. Claim applicants can submit their supporting documents as evidence while investigation firms can get immediate access to them on the blockchain. All parties involved can see the entire process.”
Meanwhile, Bank of East Asia’s Blue Cross (Asia-Pacific) Insurance is using its own blockchain-based medical claims app in Hong Kong. The company claims that its blockchain platform automates more than 1,000 transactions per second and enables patients to see their claim results in as little as one day after an appointment.
Blue Cross managing director Patrick Wan highlighted the role blockchain has played in managing his company’s response to the coronavirus outbreak:
“Our blockchain-backed claims service has played a key role during the outbreak of the coronavirus by totally eliminating the paper process and the need for back-and-forth documents delivery to clinics This really helps to mitigate the risk of infection from face-to-face contact.”