Private health insurer nib has partnered with a payment platform to enable its members to claim on the spot across Australian pharmacies.
The payment platform provided by LanternPay will be available at pharmacies in partnership with software provider Civica.
It means nib customers with an eligible policy can process claims on the spot at their local pharmacy.
Australia's private health insurers pay around $65 million in pharmacy-related benefits each year. It is about one-quarter of what insurers pay in benefits for natural therapies and acupuncture.
Under current federal government regulation, a health fund can only pay a benefit for prescription medicine if it is not supplied through the PBS. Some health funds also cover over-the-counter medicines in their pharmacy benefit.
A medium level of private cover, including a pharmacy benefit, would provide around $500 per insured person, per year, with a per prescription limit of around $50.
According to the general manager of LanternPay Healthcare, Mirinda O'Gorman, “Previously, when members needed to submit a claim for a prescription at their local pharmacy they would have to pay the full amount for the prescription and then submit the claim with their health fund later on.
“Now, through our digital claiming platform, nib members can process their claim on-the-spot while our systems sort out the admin side in the background.
“It’s also browser-based, so pharmacies don’t need to sign up to a particular bank in order to access the claiming system, which tends to be a requirement of other claiming systems.”
The new partnership has been announced following a six-week pilot during which the digital claiming platform was rolled out to over 1,300 pharmacies across Australia.
nib chief information officer, Brendan Mills, said the new solution will make the process even easier while also helping the environment.
“Our members want quick and easy solutions when it comes to claiming which is exactly what this new solution offers. It also provides a better experience for our members, improves operational efficiencies, enables faster claiming times, and is all round better for the environment as there is no longer a need to print receipts,” said Mr Mills.
"LanternPay works closely with pharmacies to understand what they need to make claiming and payment easier and enables pharmacists to offer a great customer experience to their patients. We are really proud to be offering these innovative solutions to pharmacies across Australia," added Ms O’Gorman.
nib and LanternPay said they are planning to roll out the offering to other health services.
“In the coming months, we’ll also be rolling out this claiming service to pathology, with an expectation that we’ll initially be able to automate up to 70% of our pathology claims which will deliver significant cost savings to the business and help to keep premium costs lower for our members,” said Mr Mills.
“We’re also looking at opportunities to expand this even wider so that our members can use LanternPay’s services for everyday claiming, like at their local physio, gym, dentist and chiropractor,” he added.