India Inc. is increasingly looking at payment products to cover out of pocket expenditure (OoPE) on healthcare in addition to their group health insurance policies.
A product based on the no cost EMI concept named 'healthcare now and pay later' from QubeHealth, a fintech-cum-healthtech company, is being subscribed by several corporate companies. QubeHealth claims that companies like Tavant Technologies, Nangia-Andersen, Agarwal Packers & Movers and SmartWorks have collaborated with it for its QubeHealth-Card, a medical loans program, or MLP, which helps employees pay for health and medical expenses that are not covered by their company-provided health insurance.
The company, which aims to change the way Indians pay for their healthcare through embedded finance, offers payment products through which an employee can swipe the card for medical bills, ranging from dental procedures, medicines, doctor consultations, surgery of the employees, their families, non-blood relatives and pets, and convert it into no-cost EMIs of up to 24 months.
Indicating that the corporate sector in India is considering increasing expenditure on healthcare, QubeHealth has acquired over 180 large corporates, and claims to manage healthcare services for over 2 lakh employees of these corporates.
In India, pharmacy, dental, eye, pregnancy, and mental health bills are just a few examples of expenses that are usually not covered in a typical health policy. As per government data, 3 out of 4 Indians are uninsured, so they either borrow for healthcare or pay medical bills from their savings.
“Indians spend over $72 billion a year, paying for health and medical bills that are not covered by their health insurance. It continues to be the single biggest reason for Indians to fall below the poverty line every year. The Covid-19 pandemic only aggravated this situation,” points out Chris George, QubeHealth's co-founder and CEO.
The company product -- the QubeHealth Card -- is powered by RuPay and Visa. However, as the company says, for now, the QubeHealth Card is only available to employees of Indian corporates that subscribe to the service for their employees. Employees get a No-Cost Credit-Line of up to Rs 10 lakh and the corporate provides this 'employee-health benefit' as an add-on to their group health insurance program.
By March 2023, QubeHealth said that it aims to deploy over 1 lakhs cards, authorising a credit line of Rs 1,000 crore to pay for any health or medical expenses at zero per cent interest.
“Over the next 5 years, Qube will deploy over $2 billion in healthcare credit and impact over 6 million lives, helping them bridge the gap between their healthcare expenses and what their health insurance pays for,” said George.
“The QubeHealth-Card will be deployed to 34,000 of these employees, with an aggregate of Rs 200 crore in No-Cost Healthcare Credit activated by August 2022,” he added.
He further pointed out that the QubeHealth card is a complement to any health insurance policy, by which it pays for health and medical expenses that the insurance policy doesn't cover.
"As such, Qube works closely with insurance companies, insurance brokers and insuretech companies to provide a combined offering to corporates, who sign you for the service as part of their Employee Healthcare Management initiatives,” he said, adding that its another payment product named Debit, or ‘Medical Expense Reimbursement Program (MERP) has been subscribed by companies like Bayer and Aditya Birla Insurance Brokers.
QubeHealth said that it also offers Workplace Healthcare Services (WHS).
“WHS has been subscribed by Jubilant Foodworks Ltd, Licious, CoinDCX, Upstox and Reserve Bank of India,” said George.
Conceptually, WHS covers everything, from executive health screening to statutory healthcare compliance. From vaccinations to primary healthcare clinics and more is covered in this program, which has been adopted by over 11,000 hospitals, clinics and diagnostic centers across 753 towns and cities in India.
National Health Accounts (NHA), under the Union Health Ministry, has estimated that per capita Out-of-Pocket Expenditure (OOPE) on health was at Rs 2097 in 2017-18. As per India’s own Economic Survey, 2021, India has one-of-the highest level of OOPE, of approximately 65 per cent contributing directly to the high incidence of catastrophic expenditures and poverty.
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