Medical Credit Cards? Another Path To Bankruptcy?

Another way to borrow money:  financing medicalCREDITcards

and dental procedures.

Hey, the doctors and dentists are all for it – they get paid, even if you end up filing bankruptcy.

There is nothing magical about medical procedures that mean it is better to go into hock for one of them instead of a TV or stereo or car.


Too much of it puts you into bankruptcy.

It does NOT become affordable because it is for a root canal, or, whatever.

As with consumer goods like cars, the salesman can upsell you to a more expensive product, more profit for them, if you borrow more money.

Borrowing more than you can afford to repay is the road to bankruptcy court.

Jessica Silver-Greenberg of the N. Y. Times reported on this a few months back.

Doctors, dentists and others have a financial incentive to recommend the financing because it encourages patients to opt for procedures and products that they might otherwise forgo because they are not covered by insurance.   (from the N. Y. Times story)

As with other credit card offers, many of these medical credit cards suck you in with low initial rates.  But big penalties for late payments, including high rates.

Instant gratification.  What you want, is right there, and you don’t have to reach into your wallet, you just sign a piece of paper.

They know it does not feel like spending real money.

Hey, if you need a low payment to start, that is a sign you should NOT be going into debt.

Some of the finance companies offer more kickback to the medical provider, if they sell more of their credit cards.  Just good marketing, right?  Can you count on the medical provider to tell YOU that he is pushing one card on you because then he will make more money?

And the push is put on you right in the doctor’s office:

While medical credit cards resemble other credit cards, there is a critical difference: they are usually marketed by caregivers to patients, often at vulnerable times, such as when those patients are in pain or when their providers have recommended care they cannot readily afford. In addition to G.E., large banks like Wells Fargo and Citibank, as well as several specialized financial services companies, offer credit through practitioners’ offices  (from the same N Y Times story)

Well, at least you can discharge this type of debt if it does push you into bankruptcy.


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