Flywire will start offering payment services for “medical tourism,” the practice of people seeking healthcare in another country. We will provide payment services for people traveling to US-based health care institutions. This new service will allow patients to pay medical bills in their home currency over our payment platform, just as international students have used the platform to pay educational institutions all around the world. Now, it’s going to do the same but in the healthcare industry for those who need the same ease of paying medical bills.
Patients Beyond Borders estimates that the worldwide market for international patient care is approximately $40 billion today, and growing at a rate of 15-25%. Patients are traveling from all over the world for the latest advancements and expertise in medical care, shorter wait times and access to more affordable procedures. The market has become very competitive with hospitals in the US investing in targeted marketing campaigns and support services including assistance with accommodations, finances and transportation. One of the newer areas of focus for hospitals is streamlining the payment process for their international patients.
Large cross-border payments can be very complex and many international patients pay for their care themselves, without the involvement of insurance companies. It’s a stressful time and most patients would benefit from peace of mind, but the payment process is anything but.
Flywire CEO Mike Massaro said Flywire is needed in this market because of international patients are paying out of their own pocket, without an insurer or other third party handling the payments. “The more efficiently the hospital can confirm payment, the better it is for everyone involved,” he said.
A few common pain points of international patients are:
- Patients are often unsure of the best way to initiate an international payment.
- Exchange fees are high and almost always confusing.
- Patients can never be quite sure they are paying the right amount. Worrying about whether their payment has been properly received is counter-productive to their health and recovery.
On the healthcare provider end, the reconciliation issues for international payments can also be complex and time-consuming. Healthcare facilities find it difficult to match payments to specific patients and procedures and often encounter additional processing fees for these payments. Refunds can also be very time consuming. It all tends to be a highly manual process with lots of room for error.
Flywire’s payment platform offers comprehensive capabilities for both hospitals and their international patients to help navigate the complex world of global payments:
For international patients:
- The ability to pay from 220 countries and territories, using their local payment vehicle of choice (bank transfer, credit/debit, etc.)
- Discounted currency conversion rates that can offer significant savings when compared to FX rates offered by banks in their home countries
- A safe, secure, easy-to-use online payment experience backed by 24/7 customer service in multiple languages and mobile/online delivery tracking
For healthcare providers:
- Automatic international patient bill notification and tracking
- Online refunds on overpayments
- A convenient online dashboard tracking the status of all payments, 24/7
- Daily reconciliations that match each international payment to the appropriate patient/payer
We hope to transform cross-border medical payments in the same way we did cross-border educational payments: providing speed, transparency, efficiency, payments and currency-agnostic payments services for the patient and ease of reconciliation to the medical institution.