The reasons to carry around a wallet are diminishing, as Apple makes it possible to carry another style of card on your phone: health insurance.
Your phone is already very likely one of the main items in your life, and you probably take it everywhere, feeling naked if you don’t have it. At one point, your phone will probably become your wallet, too, what with the support for banks and even a digital driver’s license.
It’s taking some time before it completely becomes that, for sure, but the next addition to your digital wallet could well be here, and it has your health in mind.
Specifically, it’s that of your health card, with health insurers now able to be supported in the Apple Wallet on the iPhone and Apple Watch, supporting the likes of Bupa, GU Health, Medibank, and NIB, all of which launch now, while HBF will be switched on in August 2021.
That’ll mean you might be able to take one more piece of plastic out of your physical wallet and add it to your digital one, provided you’re carrying an iPhone or an Apple Watch (or both), and it will work when you need to use it at the doctor, dentist, or any other place you pull the health insurance card out.
Essentially, your customer information will be sent to the terminal much like it would with a real card, decrypted by the HICAPS system used by the clinic, and then passed onto a health insurer. Apple doesn’t see any of the information and doesn’t retain transaction information, so this is basically just a digital representation of your health insurer’s card doing the job that a real card might do.
While the news is good for people with health insurance, it’s unlikely this is rolling out for Medicare, the Australian government’s universal health insurance system.
Medicare doesn’t appear to be supported on Apple Wallet just yet, and much like how Transport for NSW is testing a digital Opal card for Apple Wallet, we suspect Medicare on Apple Wallet is one of those things that might take a little bit of time.