As medical care becomes harder and harder to afford, some doctors are encouraging patients to use credit cards.
But these aren’t just any credit cards – these are medical credit cards.
Medical credit cards allow patients to pay for expensive work insurance won’t cover. That might seem especially helpful with doctors like the dentist or eye doctor, since many people don’t have insurance to cover this specialty care. Even with the new health care laws going into effect, dental care remains a costly problem for a lot of us.
But while medical credit cards may seem like a good solution in the moment, they can also cause a lifetime of pain. Medical credit cards have an extremely high interest rate – as high as 25% – plus a penalty rate of over 30%.
And if you can’t pay it? The debt will follow you around. It can eat into your Social Security check, or bring debt collectors harassing you for payment.
The New York Times reports that some doctors may be receiving discounts depending on how well they push the cards. And patients, according to the article, often feel misled. They think they’re signing on to a payment plan. They don’t realize it’s actually a very expensive form of credit. Some patients don’t even realize they have a credit card until the debt collectors start calling.
Many health care providers refuse to accept the cards, saying they exploit the patient and can cause a lifetime of unhappiness.
But even if the patient doesn’t use a medical credit card, regular credit cards can be a problem too. They also have high interest rates and penalties.
State authorities and consumer advocates all over the country are investigating medical credit cards to decide whether they take advantage of people and should have rules attached to them in some way.When people are sick or hurting, they are often at their most desperate. And for most of us, that’s a terrible time to be getting a credit card.-If you’re in over your head with medical debt, our Memphis bankruptcy lawyers may be able to help. Contact me today to discuss your situation for free.