Monday, January 22, 2007

Patients piling medical costs on credit cards

By Christopher Rowland, Globe Staff January 22, 2007
Some doctors and hospitals are teaming up with financial-services companies to market credit cards to patients, reducing healthcare providers' dependence on bill collection, and causing more low- and middle-income consumers to pay interest on their medical debts.
While hospitals in Massachusetts are not pushing such credit cards, they are attempting to get patients to pay up front for services not covered by insurance, and are routinely asking them to provide credit card information before they receive treatment.
Patients can be turned down for elective procedures if they don't pay in advance, but hospitals are required to treat emergency cases. The state doesn't keep statistics on the number of people denied elective procedures because of financial reasons.
In states such as Texas and North Carolina, financial-services companies have joined with healthcare providers in an effort to promote the use of charge cards for medical expenses. For instance, Citibank's Citi Health Card is offered to patients through participating healthcare providers.
Read More

No comments: