Monday 21 August 2017

The 60-second guide to... borrowing money for medical care

SOME individuals without private health insurance are borrowing the money they need to pay for medical treatment
SOME individuals without private health insurance are borrowing the money they need to pay for medical treatment
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Some individuals without private health insurance are borrowing the money they need to pay for medical treatment - rather than wait to be seen under the public health system.

Should you be considering doing so, some credit unions offer health loans that are designed to help members to pay for operations and other treatments in private hospitals.

Lucan Credit Union in Dublin has teamed up with the Hermitage Clinic to offer loans to members who want to pay directly for a procedure in the clinic.

The interest rate charged is 9.91pc. Waterford Credit Union has linked up with the Whitford Clinic to provide health loans at an interest rate of 10.5pc.

St Anthony's and Claddagh Credit Union in Galway city offers health loans with an interest rate of 6.9pc. You must usually live within a credit union's catchment area to borrow from it - unless it has linked up with a clinic or hospital to provide loans there.

The personal loans offered by the Irish banks can usually be used to fund the cost of medical treatment. Bank of Ireland offers personal loans of up to €65,000 and the interest rate starts at 7.5pc. KBC Bank charges between 6.3pc and 9.99pc interest on its loans, while Ulster Bank charges between 6.9pc and 15.3pc interest - depending on the amount borrowed and type of bank account held. "Our personal loans can be used for medical purposes on a case-by-case basis," said Ulster Bank.

AIB charges 8.95pc interest on its loans, while Permanent TSB charges between 10.5pc and 14.3pc interest.

Should you or a relative foot the bill for medical treatment, a fifth of the cost of that treatment should be able to be claimed back in tax relief - as long as the treatment qualifies for tax relief and the person paying the bill is a taxpayer.

The State may cover the cost of treatment abroad if you qualify for the HSE's Treatment Abroad Scheme or Cross-Border Healthcare Directive.

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