Universal healthcare is the norm in European countries, but it is not always comprehensive, which is why 26.8 million people in Germany alone have some kind of supplementary insurance, from hospital stays to dental work.
While statutory health insurance programmes provide a direct route between government agencies and health care providers regarding costs, private insurance often operates on a reimbursement model. In other words, the privately insured patient pays the costs before filing a claim and enduring long and indeterminate waiting periods until the money arrives back into their accounts.
Most of the time, the process is old-fashioned and involves compiling paper receipts and trips to the post office, which is not exactly a practical solution. That’s where Fredrik Debong, who revolutionised the diabetes treatment market years ago with mySugr, and Sebastian Gruber come in with hi.health.
In 2019, the duo launched hi.health, an AI-powered app that aims to help users submit their healthcare expenses to almost all private health insurance companies in Germany in a complete and total digital format. Character recognition technology automatically extracts data from receipt images, fills in insurance application forms and submits them. There is no need for paper, stamps or physical presence during the entire private insurance claim process.
In addition to the complete optimisation of the claim process, the duo focused on a solution for the cash flow required in case of health care needs.
Debong, who is himself a diabetic, explained in a statement how important the lack of cash flow is in this case by giving an example: “Let’s say I pay 1,000 euros a month for all my diabetes treatments. I’m covered by my private insurance, but that’s still a cash flow of €12,000 a year that I have to account for,” he said.
hi.health is now removing this burden for consumers with Europe’s first digital health spending account. In addition to the straightforward services already offered, hi.health now offers users immediate reimbursement of expenses, putting an end to the cash flow shortfall.
How does it works?
Users can create their healthcare expense account in the app and always have an overview of the account balance. After paying for a service, users scan and upload the receipt and receive the reimbursement directly from hi.health. hi.health then takes care of collecting the fees from the insurance company.
Alternatively, if a service has already been rendered but not paid for, hi.health will also take over this responsibility and pay the invoicing party. This debt to the company will then be reflected in the user’s account balance. As soon as the insurance company reimburses the charges, the account balance is updated.
As abuse is possible and the process involves some risk, hi.health limits the first application to a cost of €100, but it can be assumed that the limits will increase over time depending on the user’s history.
Debong went on to explain that this revolutionary new feature was the next logical step for the tech company to make communication with insurance for private insurees as easy and intuitive as possible. The app was designed to tackle all sorts of bureaucratic barriers in the cost structure for people with private insurance and provide them with a contemporary digital experience.
Since 2019, 10 million € have already been successfully reimbursed via the app, which shows how high the need for immediate reimbursement is for the privately insured, concluded Debong.