This Blockchain-Based App Is Making The Process Of Claiming Insurance Less Painful
With the help of blockchain technology, insurtech startup MediConCen's app connects doctors, insurers and insured clients to facilitate medical consultation and claims management
Anyone who has ever tried to make a medical claim can probably attest to the frustrations often involved in the tedious administrative processes when dealing with traditional insurance companies.
“Insurance is a great creation that helps people when they are most in need, but the user experience is often a hassle,” says Yeung. “When you are sick, it’s a nasty thing to deal with and you cannot make a ‘claim’ without your agent’s help. I’ve even heard people say insurance is cheating people due to the pain and hassle of getting back the money they are covered for. That’s sad for an industry that does good.”
MediConCen seeks to address these systemic flaws and help remedy such perceptions with the help of blockchain technology.
“I first heard about blockchain soon after it was invented, and I found this new way to maintain trust of a system among all participants fascinating,” says Yeung. “There are many innovations out there, but this kind of moonshot breakthrough is rare. And though blockchain was talked about in the insurance companies I worked for, I realised no one really knew how to apply it within the industry.”
Yeung established MediConCen in 2018 to connect doctors, insurers and insured clients through an all-in-one app that facilitates medical consultation and claims management, thus making the whole experience seamless and automatic for clients. The company currently works with a roster of clients including insurance companies, doctors, medical clinics, physiotherapy centres, dental clinics and traditional Chinese medical clinics across Hong Kong.
Transactions on the MediConCen app are cryptographically signed on the Hyperledger blockchain with a verified identity. This enables a host of benefits to medical providers, insurers and insured clients alike, including easy sign-up for clinics, eliminating the hassle of time-consuming and costly paperwork, and, perhaps most importantly, the speedy settlement of claims. The system can also instantly verify the insured client’s eligibility within a secure environment, thereby eliminating the possibility of fraudulent transactions.
“I asked myself if there is a solution to the [claims] issue and I thought how sweet it would be if all medical providers and insurers could work together in a single trusted system and have everything taken care of in the back-end,” says Yeung. “It would be a world without the word ‘claim’ in the dictionary, and everyone can use their insurance without hassle or requiring the help of others, just like how you use your gym membership.”
The key here, he says, is that blockchain resolves the issue of trust by ensuring that any logic and data written into the system cannot be altered without mutual consent.
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“The mechanism is called a ‘smart contract’ because it works just like a contract that is automatically and always executed. With this mechanism, all parties can put the contract wording into codes and automate it. The insured party then receives the medical claim payment instantly without any need for paperwork,” Yeung says.
This allows clients to purchase insurance with confidence, without having to worry that the agent who sold them the policy might have left the company or industry when a claim may need to be made years later.
“Our technology also reduces the cost of running medical insurance and makes new products viable, which translates into better value insurance for customers. For medical providers, they get paid from the insurer months faster, and with days of effort saved every week to better care for patients,” he says.
While the benefits expounded appear straightforward enough, Yeung believes traditional insurers are still rather prudent when it comes to venturing into unknown territory and adopting new technology. And this is where his prior experience working as an actuary for over 10 years proves particularly useful.
“We understand their concerns, so we apply a pragmatic approach to resolving their concerns. For example, a normal blockchain startup will encrypt all the data and tell insurers that it is unbreakable. We apply the same level of encryption, but we go one step further by not storing clients’ personal information on the blockchain. This helps insurers to realise the immediate benefits and provides them with comfort and peace of mind in using our system,” he shares.
Next on the horizon, MediConCen is working to extend its operations to mainland China by Q3 2022, starting with a partnership with a state-owned AAA hospital. It has also signed a contract with a chain of leading Chinese medicine clinics.