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NAB set to buy LanternPay to maintain HICAPS dominance

NAB is set to acquire healthcare claiming and payments platform LanternPay, owned by Australian fintech InLoop to help maintain its leading position in the $120 billion health payments market, after Commonwealth Bank and Tyro struck similar deals last year.

The proposed acquisition, which is subject to regulatory approval, will allow NAB to complement its Healthcare Claims and Payments Service (HICAPS) with LanternPay technology.

With digital health services on the rise during COVID-19, NAB’s HICAPS subsidiary, the largest provider of payment terminals for the allied healthcare industry, will purchase and integrate LanternPay. The technology will reduce administrative work for doctors and doctors’ offices by providing claims for a greater number of schemes, including Medicare, workers’ compensation and the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

The NDIS processes $20 billion of payments a year and has been a key focus for LanternPay.

NAB will also use LanternPay to create a smartphone HICAPS app to allow claims to be made through mobile phones for practices that do not have physical terminals.

LanternPay’s platform is used by the healthcare, disability, insurance and aged care sectors, and was “purpose-built to standardise the claims and payment experience for all providers of services to government and private healthcare schemes,” NAB said in a statement.

The bank said that integrating LanternPay with HICAPS would “simplify administration and increase payment options when visiting a healthcare provider.”

“Australian healthcare payment systems have been cumbersome – resulting in disjointed payment experiences for patients and complexity for healthcare providers,” NAB’s group executive for business and private bank Andrew Irvine said.

“Integrating NAB’s HICAPS with LanternPay technology will over time deliver a seamless digital customer experience – with real-time approvals and faster payments for medical, allied health and other providers.”

Co-founder and managing director for InLoop Geoff Austen said the acquisition by NAB means “more Australians will benefit from simple transactions when they visit the dentist, doctor or therapist.”

Austen said while the transaction is still subject to conditions including regulatory approvals, “we are confident of receiving these and completing [the acquisition] within the first quarter of this year.”

Westpac once held a 10 percent equity stake in InLoop, but Austen said the bank had since scaled back its shares.

The transaction will provide InLoop with resources to grow its other brands, inclduing Flexischools, Clickability and Nuonic.

“The additional time and resources stemming from completing this transaction will be invested into growing these businesses,” Austen said.

HICAPS (the Health Industry Claims and Payments Service) has been a dominant payment terminal provider and has helped NAB’s business bank become the leading lender to healthcare practices and pharmacies.

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