Beware of Medical Credit Cards

With nearly a third of Americans having trouble paying their medical bills, they have resorted to using special “medical credit cards” to pay the expenses, the AP reports.

But consumer advocates warn medical credit cards can saddle patients with unexpected penalties and sky-high interest rates.

One of the biggest dangers is that patients often don’t understand the financial terms or even that they are signing up for a credit card, according to lawyers who have represented customers…

Most cards feature a “zero interest” promotional period of up to 18 months. But then the interest rate can jump to 25 percent or higher. Those details can be glossed over or skipped entirely when patients sign up.

Another potential pitfall is something called deferred interest. That means if consumers don’t pay off the entire procedure during the “interest-free” period, they can be retroactively charged for interest dating back to when they first signed up.

Before signing up for a medical credit card, experts suggest researching other options such as negotiating a discounted rate in advance or waiting until a later date (if possible) and paying cash.

If you must use a credit card, it’s probably best to use a regular one instead — with terms and conditions you understand.

For more information on the issues surrounding medical debt, please contact RIP Medical Debt.