New in South Africa – Hearing Aids-on-Contract
When you are faced with purchasing a new cellphone, you can either pop into an iStore or another cellphone shop and purchase a phone and then go to a service provider and get some airtime; or can take out a contract with the service provider which you can renew every 2 years. Most working people, or people with a monthly income, choose to have a cellphone contract rather than paying the large purchase price upfront for a new cellphone.
However, when it comes to hearing instruments you don’t really have any choices ……
- You have to purchase something you really don’t want, but desperately need, and
- You have to pay the full purchase price upfront or pay the ever-increasing “payment gap” between the medical aid contribution and the purchase price of the hearing aid.
However, we can now offer ….
A patient can either purchase a hearing aid and pay upfront, or can take the hearing aid on “contract” – just like a cellphone contract.
- Insurance is included if the hearing aid is lost, whereby the contract is settled by the insurance company and the patient can either enter into a new contract, purchase a new hearing aid or, of course, not purchase one at all. An excess of approximately R1000.00 will be charged to cover administration costs.
- Insurance is included if the patient dies, whereby the contract is settled by the insurance company.
- The “contract” monthly price also includes the normal 3-year service plan / warranty offered by the manufacturers.
How does it work?
- Once the audiologist has recommended a hearing instrument and if the patient wants to acquire the hearing instruments on-contract, then the audiologist will make an application to Reconnect via the Reconnect web-portal on Tower Investments Credit Management System. Reconnect has outsourced the funding of the hearing instruments to Tower Investments who is a registered FSP.
- A credit check and FICA application will be submitted via the web-portal by the audiologist on behalf of the patient or the person paying for the hearing aid. The following documents will be required:
- Proof of regular monthly income, whether it be a salary, rental income, pension, investment income etc. This could be a salary slip or 3 months bank statement and these will be required to be scanned into web portal or emailed by the person paying to Tower Investments (email@example.com)
- In addition the normal FICA documents such as a South African identity document or a valid passport, proof of address and 3-months stamped bank statements must be scanned into the web portal or emailed. The person applying should also not have a bad credit record.
- Approval will take a maximum of 5 working days. Thereafter the patient will sign the contract and be fitted with the hearing aid. Patients will be required to sign a debit-order for the monthly payment.
- Included in the monthly instalment, is an insurance premium to cover settlement of all payments over the remaining term of the 3-year period should the hearing aid be lost or the patient die.
- The patient will be given an invoice of the capital amount for the patient to submit to their medical aid. The fact that the patient, or the person paying, has chosen a funding mechanism to fund the hearing aid is between the person paying for the hearing aid and the Funder. Contributions from a medical aid can be used to offset the monthly payment to Tower Investments.
- All queries are handled through Tower Investment’s call-centre. This would include payment and documentation queries.
What are the advantages to the Customer?
- The person making the monthly payment, whether that is the patient or someone else does not need to make a large cash outlay.
- The monthly payment is fixed over the 36 months with no annual increases.
- No deposits are required.
- The patient can still claim his medical aid benefits.
Who is funding the hearing instruments and what are their charges?
- Reconnect has outsourced the funding of hearing aid purchases to Tower Investments. Tower Investments provide funding to many large corporates and private individuals. They run a large call-centre to handle all queries and have dedicated resources to handle all hearing aid funding queries. All applications will be completed on-line by the hearing health care professional’s staff through the Reconnect web-portal on Tower Investment’s Credit Management system.