Alibaba’s Ant Financial Uses Blockchain to Settle a Health Insurance Claim in 5 Seconds

Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial has recently used blockchain technology to settle a health insurance claim with Alipay for the first time in China. The blockchain-powered claim settlement process only took 5 seconds, state-owned China Securities Daily reported on Thursday.

The first blockchain-based claim settlement using Alipay, the country’s most popular mobile payment app, occured in Taizhou in eastern China’s Zhejiang Province. A self-employed person known by his surname Wu received a treatment receipt in his Alipay’s E-Invoice after visiting a doctor at Taizhou Central hospital. Then he filed a health insurance claim via the multi-function app. In a matter of 5 seconds, 97 yuan worth of claim was sent to his Alipay account.

The “second-level claim settlement” relies on the high-performance and privacy -focused consortium chain independently developed by Ant Financial. The company launched a blockchain BaaS (Blockchain-as-a-Service) platform in September which is designed to enable small- and medium-scale businesses to execute and innovate new blockchain solutions.

According to Ant Financial, due to the immutable and traceable nature of the blockchain ledger, all the information about claim settlement and reimbursement can be recorded on the consortium chain, creating a “closed loop” system. The public can settle a claim or reimburse expenses with only one click on the Alipay app.

The blockchain solution helps streamline the process, reduce the cost, and ensure data safety, as well as prevent duplicate requests for reimbursement. But as of today, most insurance companies in China still take a wait-and-see approach with regard to the blockchain-based claim settlement solution. The reasons behind their reluctance to incorporate the emerging technology into their practices are that blockchain technology itself is immature, the blockchain space suffers from a lack of regulation, and insurance companies remain cautious towards data sharing.

Alibaba is the most patented company in the world of blockchain technology, and its financial wing has tapped into blockchain use for fighting food fraud, securing medical data and tracking cross-border shipments.

Meanwhile,  Alibaba’s rival Tencent has also leveraged blockchain to issue electronic invoice. As 8BTC previously reported, Tencent has officially incorporated a blockchain electronic invoice system in the WeChat, the company’s popular messaging, social media and payment app with over 1 billion users, in a bid to simplify the process of reimbursing company employee expenses.

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