Payment options offer you choice. They are available to everyone, subject to eligibility. They offer you a greater degree of flexibility to get the treatment you need quickly. You do not have to dip into savings or pension pot, use your current account, or ask a relative and you can choose the payment option which best suits your monthly income and cashflow.
Much of modern consumerism is fuelled by the emergence and development of retail finance - think of how the prices for furniture, sofas, cars, mobile phones are displayed. They will show how much the product costs in monthly installments, either interest-free or with an interest rate. All medium and large ticket items are now offered alongside a variety of ways in which the consumer can pay at point of sale, even luxury car brands such as Rolls Royce.
These products make goods and services more accessible avoiding you having to find all the money upfront. Healthcare is now no different. Most hospitals will offer a patient to pay over time for their treatment.
This payment method can be called many things, patient loans or payment options or health finance for example. Whatever they are called they are all fixed-term loans with a fixed interest rate or 0% interest-free, which will not change during the loan term and they are only available for a discreet purchase – for example a hip replacement of £12,000 or a hernia operation for £4,000. They do not provide you with a line of credit which you can use to fund various parts of your care.
Payment options do not function like a credit card.
They will be either interest-free or interest-bearing and over a period from 6 months through to sixty months or 5 years.
Normally an interest-free option will be available over shorter periods of up to one year. A £12,000 hip replacement with an interest-free offer available will therefore cost you £1,000 per month over a 12-month period. If you prefer to spread the cost over a longer period and reduce your monthly commitment, an interest-bearing option will normally be available.
Typical interest rates for this option are either 9.9% or 12.9% depending upon the company offering the finance. If we use our £12,000 hip replacement example again, you could fund this treatment over 5 years at 9.9% and pay £252 per month*. Because these products are fixed, neither the interest rate nor the payment term (the length of the loan period) will change.
As with any other credit option, upon application you will be asked for some basic information such as your address history and income details to allow the company offering the payment options to run a credit check. The principle of the credit check is to ensure that you can afford to pay the monthly installments and for the duration of the payment term, and that you do not risk placing yourself in financial difficulties. Some companies will allow you to provide details of a loved one or family member. This person will be able to take the loan out on your behalf.
What is covered? This will depend upon the company offering the payment options. Normally speaking, because this type of credit is for a discreet purchase (a one-off upfront treatment price), it is only available for treatments, which can be charged in this way (our hip replacement for example).
Most hospitals now offer package prices for many treatments, which you pay upfront and it includes a number of services.
Other types of treatments, normally referred to as medical treatments, are charged as you receive treatment over time. Chemotherapy for example. These types of treatments are not covered by payment options because the final price and therefore the amount of credit needed cannot be fixed upfront.
Chrysalis Finance is the market leader in the provision of patient payment options. Their process works in the following way:
*Representative Example: Total amount of Credit £12,000.00. Total charge for credit £3121.20. Total Amount Repayable £15,121.20. Repayable by 60 monthly payments of £252.02. Representative 9.9% APR. Example based upon a medical procedure £12,000 repayable over 60 months. Acceptance is subject to status. Terms and conditions apply. Chrysalis Finance Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.