Prepaid cards: making personal health budget management easier for Clinical Commissioning Groups

Recent research showing that Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in England are projected to spend £123m this year on personal health budgets (PHBs) has shown that the disbursement of health funds is a significant task which needs to be handled effectively. By adopting a comprehensive prepaid card solution, CCGs can streamline this process and reduce administrative burden, suggests Kevin McAdam, allpay Prepaid Director.

He said: “According to the research - carried out by Pulse Magazine following a freedom of information request - the spend covers personal health budgets for just under 5,000 people, which represents £24,600 per person per year. With the NHS wanting to roll out the PHB scheme even further, CCGs will be in charge of managing an ever-increasing amount of high-value transactions. Handling this process in a hassle-free manner is more important than ever, with NHS England estimating it needs to make at least £22bn of efficiency savings by 2020 just to maintain its current service levels.

“To achieve this added efficiency, a streamlined electronic disbursement method such as a prepaid card is a strong step forward. For the CCG, making the disbursement and ongoing management of budgets digital eases the monitoring of these funds, which is essential when working with such high-value sums,” McAdam commented.

McAdam continued: “In addition, administrative costs can be greatly reduced by making use of the card’s technology: for example, controls can be built into the prepaid card which govern where it can be used and what people can buy with it.. In a time where efficiency is so important, the benefits of an electronic prepaid solution can’t be underestimated.

“Prepaid cards provide a better experience for the users themselves: the patients receiving their PHB funding. Patients get clear information on their budget, and don’t have to submit paper receipts or bank statements as a record of what they have spent. They also benefit from the convenience as services can be paid online or as a point-of-sale transaction, which gives an element of choice that is essential for patients with varying needs,” he added.

McAdam  concluded: “In the face of tighter NHS funding and continued rollout of the PHB programme, CCGs need to be constantly looking to innovate and make their practices more efficient. A prepaid card provides an option that is both straightforward to implement, and easy to maintain, therefore making PHB management simpler for both the CCG and the patient.”