Buy now, pay later medical loans on rise as desperate patients go private

The Guardian reports that patients who face long NHS waiting lists and cannot afford to go private are being encouraged to sign up for “buy now, pay later” (BNPL) deals and other personal loans to cover the costs of basic healthcare.

The deals allow people to spread payments over months or years in exchange for rapid access to treatments and tests, including MRI scans, X-rays and routine surgery.

In some cases, firms appear to be aiming their marketing at those desperate for help and low on cash, offering “quick and easy” approval with “immediate” access to funding, the Observer has found.

One diagnostics firm, MRI Plus, promotes BNPL plans for MRI scans. “Why wait in pain? Slash your waiting time for treatment on the NHS … Book now and pay later with Klarna,” it said in a recent newspaper ad. Patients can delay payment for 30 days or split it into three interest-free instalments.

Full story in The Guardian, 6 August 2023

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