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Afterpay testing new healthcare payment options

Doctor treating patient

The buy now pay later provider is trialling new ways to pay for medical services.

If you've ever put off seeing a doctor because you didn't want to deal with a lump sum payment, there may be good news on the horizon for you with Afterpay launching trials in the healthcare sector for services such as radiology, pharmacy and general practice (GP).

The move follows the successful rollout of Afterpay dental and optical, which in less than 10 months saw over 1,100 practices begin to offer their clients the option of paying for their treatment using the buy-now-pay-later platform. For the uninitiated, Afterpay allows you to pay for a product, or in this case service, in four equal, interest-free fortnightly instalments.

The move should allow Australians to better manage their household budgets since these bills are split into four smaller payments, according to Afterpay's head of healthcare Mathew Cagney.

"With more than 11 million Australians not having access to 'extras' cover, we are meeting a genuine need – and for those that do have cover, there is nearly always going to be a gap payment that needs to be made," Mathew said in a statement.

In January 2019, we looked at the cost of an extras policy versus paying for a service in instalments and found that in a pinch payments services were good for budget management but insurance can work out to be cheaper and provide you with access to other treatment services.

However, this was in regards to dental and optical, both of which can be covered by relatively inexpensive extras policies. This new trial allows you to defer payments for services that aren't even covered by your private health insurance, such as X-rays and bills from your GP, which may really help Aussies who are unexpectedly out-of-pocket.

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