American health care is forging a lucrative alliance with American finance. Many doctors, dentists, hearing aid centers, and pain clinics are urging patients to open credit cards and lines of credit in the health care provider’s office to pay for treatments not covered by insurance. According to the consulting firm McKinsey & Company, in 2010, people in the United States charged about $45 billion in health care costs on credit cards.
Many of these medical credit cards charge no interest for a promotional period, but if the debt is not paid in full by a certain date then interest in excess of 25% begins to accrue. Just like traditional credit cards, if a patient is late on his or her payment, then additional fees and interest are charged.
Some medical practitioners refuse to promote them because they believe it exploits the traditional relationship between the medical provider and the patient. Medical practitioners have a financial incentive to recommend financing because it encourages patients to have procedures or purchase products they might forego because they are not covered by insurance.
Regarding medical credit cards, Cameron P. Kmet, a chiropractor has urged medical providers to ask themselves if “this is something that you would recommend to a family member of friend.” The answer, he said, is usually no because “one missed payment can really ruin a patient’s life”.
If you or someone you know is overwhelmed with medical credit card debt, schedule a consultation with one of the attorneys in our firm to discuss settling your medical debts for a fraction of what you owe.
Kevin Fallon McCarthy
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