NDIS Minister Stuart Robert told the National Press Club in a speech earlier in July that the Commonwealth is ready to play a leadership role in “initiating procurement reforms” to enable the private sector to help deliver “whole of government and potentially whole of nation platforms”.
“At the same time, we must look at procurement reforms that promote the role of Australian innovation and ensure that we prioritise Australian jobs and capabilities as an integral part of delivering such strategic platforms,” Mr Robert said.
The NSW government is keen to use service procurement to boost start-ups. Medipass is working with icare to help process workers compensation claims in NSW.
LanternPay CEO Brett Morgan said local players have the capability to build the system and create technology jobs onshore. “There is an opportunity to support Australian fintechs already proven in the market,” he said.
LanternPay has been working with the NDIS since its inception, processing the first provider claim in early 2016. It will process more than $600 million NDIS payments this year for 70 plan managers, connecting a network of 15,000 participants and 20,000 providers. Medipass is also building a claims feature for the NDIS.
There are currently 370,000 overall participants in the NDIS, which is expected to reach 460,000 at maturity.
Some of the major banks have invested in the medical payments start-ups: Westpac is an investor in LanternPay, National Australia Bank in Medipass, and Commonwealth Bank in Whitecoat.
A key aspect of the NDIA’s decision will be whether to favour an open architecture – which could make use of ‘application programming interfaces’ to allow many service providers to compete offering digital claims services – or allow one provider to control the system end-to-end.
LanternPay, and many in the local start-up scene, support an open approach, but the major banks are more keen to lock providers in to their proprietary systems and merchant terminals.
“Unlike others in the market, we are an open, flexible, bank agnostic platform,” Mr Morgan said. “We believe there should be choice and competition in the market. We just sit in the middle, and enable the claims to happen. The platform should allow innovation to flourish on it.”