Medenta’s Shelley Clegg looks at everything you need to know about ‘substitute applications’…
There will be times when, for one reason or another, a patient has their finance application turned down because they haven’t met the funder’s acceptance criteria.
Many of you who offer finance will find yourself in this situation at some point, and it can be disappointing for the patient as they may think their hopes of treatment have been dashed.
However, one of the alternative options they have available to them is a substitute application…
What are substitute applications?
Substitute applications are available to patients who, like I’ve explained, have seen their finance applications turned down.
A substitute applicant is someone who can apply for the finance in place of the patient, and we sometimes refer to this person as a surrogate borrower.
The substitute process allows the original applicant to still access the treatment they would like, despite the fact they cannot actually secure the finance agreement themselves.
Who can act as a substitute applicant?
Going through the process of putting a substitute applicant in place is very simple, however, there are some boxes that do need to be ticked.
In the first instance, the substitute needs to have a specific link to the patient, and I have listed these specific links below:
A parent or a grandparent on behalf of a child
An adult on behalf of a parent or grandparent
An adult sibling
A married spouse, or civil or co-habiting partners
A legal guardian that isn’t a blood relative.
Rules to remember
As I’ve explained, the substitute process is a really simple one, providing you’ve ticked off all the boxes.
After making sure the substitute applicant does have a specific link to the patient, there are three important points that you’ll need to remember:
- This sounds really simple but it’s important to make sure that the substitute applicant takes the loan in their own name. When you’ve ticked this box, you’ll also need to explain to the substitute that they are not acting as a guarantor or surety, and that they will be assessed and underwritten as any other borrower would.
- Once the patient has found a substitute applicant, they ideally need to attend the practice with the patient. If this isn’t possible, then you will need to make sure a direct application link is sent to the substitute applicant.
- It is vitally important that the application is created for the substitute only, and not someone who sits outside of the permitted relationships. If the application is set up for someone who doesn’t have a direct link to the patient and they then fail to meet the re-payments, the practice will be liable for the loan.
Substitute applications are a really good way of making sure the patient is able to access the treatment that they’ve had their heart set on. So, when dealing with an application, remember to keep in mind the points I’ve mentioned above, and the process will be smooth and simple for both you and your patient.