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Fintech in Healthcare: Improving Healthcare Affordability Across the Globe

May 23, 2022
By I&T Today

Rising service prices, patient number growth, and population aging have always been driving up the cost of healthcare around the globe. But do these trends justify the sharp 50% increase in healthcare spending per capita that happened in just over two decades?

For more and more people, affordability has become the main obstacle standing between them and high-quality care. But, while fintech solutions alone might not be enough to reduce healthcare costs across the globe, they can certainly make it easier for patients to afford the needed medical care. 

Here’s how. 

Fintech in Healthcare: An Overview

Fintech refers to technology-enhanced finance tools, solutions, and applications, often powered by underlying innovations like blockchain, machine learning, and AI. 

As the Canada fintech market growth has shown, this field is rapidly evolving, and new technologies are seeping through a wide range of industries, including insurance, retail, investing, banking, and business financing. 

In healthcare, fintech is in its infancy, and purposefully-designed tools are just making their debut. However, payment and financing solutions dedicated to healthcare have the potential to boost convenience, affordability, and accessibility of medical services in America and abroad.

Helping Consumers Be in Better Control of Their Health Insurance Plans

In the US – and globally – the topic of public or private health insurance is undoubtedly a pain point. According to the US Census Bureau, nearly 30 million Americans did not have health coverage in 2020, and public insurance failed to meet demand. 

Fintech has the power to help people get in better control of their premiums by:

  • Providing personalized coverage solutions
  • Comparing different plans and benefits
  • Receiving data-driven coverage offers 

Additionally, fintech and InsurTech allow consumers to make better-informed decisions about their coverage plan and make comprehensive resources available, such as a Health Information Platform and insurance comparison apps.

Fintech Solutions Are Powering the Adoption of Telemedicine

The first electronic medical record transfer – or the first example of telemedicine – happened in the 1940s. So, the concept behind telehealth is certainly not new. 

However, the adoption of new technologies in healthcare met a range of significant barriers over time, including providers’ low digital literacy levels, limited patient privacy, inefficiency of virtual treatments, and inadequate payment tools. 

Fintech is revolutionizing the financial aspect of telemedicine by providing ad hoc payment solutions such as dedicated credit cards and apps that allow patients to create tailored payment plans remotely. 

Wellness Gamification To Boost Prevention and Reduce Overall Healthcare Burden

Among the main drivers of today’s high healthcare cost is the increase in chronic diseases. With over 45% of Americans suffering from a chronic condition, this type of disease is now costing the healthcare system a whopping US$ 216 billion a year.

Luckily, there is a lot that both patients and providers can do to improve prevention measures, especially now that wearable devices and fitness trackers have become widely accessible. 

In particular, some innovative fintech startups have been leveraging behavioral economics and wellness gamification to instill positive lifestyle habits and curb the rise of chronic conditions. For example, companies like Sweatcoin allow consumers to earn cryptocurrency coins just by walking!

Improved Patients’ Accessibility to Mobile Health Savings Accounts

Health savings accounts have been successfully in operation for years, and they have been helping patients set aside money for qualifying medical expenses, such as deductibles and copays to lower the overall cost of healthcare. 

New fintech solutions allow patients to gain control over their personal savings with a mobile health savings account (mHSA). These innovative solutions boast a range of new features, including communication tools, healthcare bill recording options, and adjustable settings.

Payment Solutions Tailored to Each Patient’s Needs

Undoubtedly, the medical care aspect of the health system aims to be fully patient-focused. However, this isn’t the only facet that should be tailored to a patient’s needs. Today, a range of emerging fintech startups are also helping the financial aspect of healthcare become more patient-centered. 

Some of the most innovative solutions just released into the market include AI-powered debit cards dedicated to medical expenses. Just like standard debit cards, they are widely accepted and allow customers to design suitable payment plans without interests or hidden fees. 

Other Asia-based startups are trialing pre-approved point of care lending solutions and mutual aid tools for financial protection. 

These fintech tools might not reduce the costs of healthcare per se. However, they put patients back in control of their finances and their health, allowing them to make better-informed decisions. They also enable patients to factor in lifestyle needs and unique indirect costs of care, which are often not considered or accounted for by providers when offering payment plans.

Author Bio: Innovation & Tech Today features a wide variety of writers on tech, science, business, sustainability, and culture. Have an idea? Send it to submit@innotechtoday.com

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