Ant Financial launched a healthcare-coverage product Xiang Hu Bao in October and already has about 65 million clients. They pay small monthly fees that are pooled to help cover treatment costs for members stricken by diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s and even Ebola.
Call it crowdfunding for health care –- an emerging industry in China that itself is becoming crowded. Ant Financial is one of at least 50 companies, including ride hailing giant Didi Chuxing and a startup backed by Tencent Holdings Ltd., upending the conventional health-insurance business by creating what essentially are online collectives. It’s a unique business model that probably only can be pulled off in China. The country’s leapfrog into the smartphone age means more than 700 million people can sign up, make monthly payments and even upload medical documents and bills with just a few clicks.