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Flywire Reveals New Payment Solution for Medical Tourism

Payment Week – By Mike Dautner

Flywire, one of the leading providers of global payment solutions for the education industry, announced the launch of their new international payment solution designed for patients traveling abroad seeking medical care.

This new offering is targeted at various health care institutions serving the growing market of patients hoping to receive medical care while in another country. The estimated growth of this industry is market by $40 billion annually, with an increase rate of 15 to 25 percent per year.

To dig deeper, Payment Week caught up with Flywire CEO Mike Massaro for a brief Q&A:

What was the ultimate reason for expanding to the market of medical tourism?

There is a strong connection between education and hospitals. Many of the universities we work with are also associated with healthcare facilities – teaching and otherwise. These leading healthcare institutions attract many international patients who seek the best possible care by offering the latest procedures and medical equipment.

As a result of our work in education, many of these institutions have asked us to provide the same service for their international patients. The payment problems are very similar to those we see in education; e.g., like students, patients find it difficult to pay from their home country; the exchange fees are confusing and high; and the patients are never sure if they are paying the right amount. Healthcare facilities, find it difficult to reconcile international payments against specific patients and procedures, and encounter additional processing fees for these payments.

In short, the healthcare facilities want to make to make it easier for their international patients. Flywire can address that problem – the same exact way we do in education. Given the solution fit with a market that is already very large ($25-40 Billion annually) and continues to grow at 15-25% per year – and it was a fairly obvious move for Flywire.

Flywire is still growing strong in the international education payments market. We will double the amount of tuition payments we process this year vs. last – from $1B to $2B.

What is the demand for such a service?

As noted above, demand is strong and it continues to grow. About 11 million patients received health care outside of their home country last year. They seek the best possible healthcare for themselves and their families, in facilities that offer specialized treatments, shorter wait times, and lower costs than are available at home.

Initially, Flywire will focus on healthcare facilities in the US. They treat about 1.2 million patients traveling to the US for care every year.

There is also demand on the healthcare institution side. As facilities treat more international patients, they must spend more time considering the different types of services these patients need; however, they do not want to be providing 24 × 7 support for patients trying to make payments from all different geographies and time zones.

How accessible will this service be for patients abroad?

It will align with the healthcare facility where they are treated. If the hospital offers Flywire, it will be available to any international patient.

Are healthcare professionals open to the concept of this service?

It doesn’t impact them really, but it does impact their patients – in a positive way. Patients who travel from overseas typically do so for serious health reasons. They are stressed and the last thing they should be worried about is whether their payment was made properly. Flywire gives them peace of mind, and lets them focus on their treatment and healing, instead of on their finances.

What is your overall goal in initiating this service?

To expand our business opportunity, international healthcare payments represent a growing problem in a very large market and Flywire has a proven solution for addressing it. We can add real value for both healthcare facilities and their international patients.

Does the experience gained from the international education market aid in the effort to provide this service?

Absolutely. As indicated above, the problems we are addressing are exactly the same – for both the patient/student and the education/healthcare institution. We also implement and service the solution, and its different users, the same way.

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