Ant Financial’s mutual aid platform Xiang Hu Bao revealed Friday that has gained 80 million users from nearly 5,700 households, over less than ten months since its launch in October 2018, according to the company’s WeChat account.
Xiang Hu Bao, which literally means “mutual protection”, is a platform within Ant Financial’s Alipay app that provides a basic health plan to cover costs related to 100 illnesses. The plan bears practical similarity with health insurance, although with substantial differences.
The platform recently made news by hitting the milestone of 50 million users in April, and it intends to reach 300 million people in the coming two years. Its users are mostly migrant workers who live in rural areas.
Xiang Hu Bao diverges from medical insurance packages since it does not require regular payments or admission fees. Instead, when a participant makes a claim to cover a medical bill, the user receives a one-time payout in which the cost is shared equally by all other members.
Ant Financial said that 1,092 families, whose members fell ill after joining Xiang Hu Bao, have gained aiding funds from the platform. Those under 40 years old can receive up to RMB 300,000 yuan (USD 42,513) while the amount for users between 40 to 70 years old is RMB 100,000.
Under this innovative collaborative scheme, as more people join, the less each customer will pay. In each claim, users pay small fees to cover other members treatment expenses for diseases such as cancer and others. The highest cost each Xiang Hu Bao has ever shared this year is RMB 3.58 (less than 50 US cents) and the entire cost each might have to share in 2019 might not exceed RMB 188, according to the company statement.
Xiang Hu Bao is currently calling to insurances companies to join its network to increase the number of protection products available to the public.