Paying travel health claims just got faster with blockchain

New technology is speeding up disbursement

Paying travel health claims just got faster with blockchain


By Alicja Grzadkowska

Getting sick during a vacation is never on a traveler’s bucket list. But if they do land in a hospital bed on a trip abroad, having an insurer send payment to healthcare providers quickly can provide relief to an already stressful situation.

Blockchain is one technology helping to speed up this process, from days to hours, and even minutes.

“The role that it plays is it does something called instant settlement,” explained Corinne MacMillan, chief technology officer at Cambridge Global Payments. “Most of the blockchain structures have an instant settlement between the parties, Party A and Party B. What that results in is the payment delivery is much more instant because there isn’t a process outside of the rail that the payment is traveling down that deals separately with the settlement.”

The software out of Cambridge Global Payments is now being used by insurers who want to expedite the claims payment process for their clients. The company has taken the route of so-called in-country clearing rails, rather than traditional international payment rails, so that funds come from Cambridge Global Payments’ liquidity bank in Mexico and go directly to a hospital’s network in that country.

Besides the speed of the transaction, another benefit of using blockchain in these claims is the transparency in the transaction. 

“Both parties will be on this blockchain and be able to see each other’s instruction in detail on the whereabouts of the payment,” said the CTO. There are also lower intermediary fees so the payment goes to the client or their provider at full value.

Though many are familiar with blockchain because of its close ties to digital currencies, MacMillan sees potential in the technology in a range of industries for the future, and not just health insurance claims.

“In the payments industry alone, we see a very wide adoption, but I think we’re all at early stages,” she explained. “We’re all trying to figure out what use cases make sense, how can we leverage the technology to better suit and add value for our customers.”


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