According to an article at CNN, the credit card companies are beginning to dabble in the medical debt business and many hospitals are more than happy to join the “party.”
The article said:
“Now with high unemployment, consumers have to reach into their pockets even more to fund their health care.” Americans spend an estimated $294 billion on annual out-of-pocket medical costs annually, to cover everything from doctor’s office co-payments to surgeries and prescription medications.
About 25% of that — around $74 billion — is already being charged to regular standard credit cards, according to Kalorama. McKinsey Consulting expects that $150 billion worth of health care expenses will go on credit cards by 2015. Meanwhile, more than 79 million Americans are already struggling to pay off their medical expenses, according to the non-profit Commonwealth Fund.
This is probably just the tip of the iceberg. Carlson is betting that the next generation of medical credit cards to hit the market will offer consumers designated lines of credit to use exclusively to pay for standard medical costs like copayments and prescriptions.”
Medical credit cards? Already more than 79 million Americas are struggling to pay medical debt, many of them eventually declare bankruptcy. Just imagine what will happen when millions of low-income debtors with no health insurance and maybe no job get their hands on a “medical credit card” we could be looking at a medical debt disaster.
We could also see an even larger number of Americans declaring bankruptcy because of medical debt. Already, 1.5 million Americans are expected to file bankruptcy this year and 60 percent of those bankruptcy filings are expected to be the result of medical debt.
If you’re facing large amounts of medical debt, think twice before paying it with your credit card. Remember, many credit cards have astronomical interest rates while medical debt usually doesn’t begin to accumulate late fees and other charges until after at least 90 days of not being paid and/or being sent to a collection agency.
Also, consider the fact that there are other ways to slash through your medical debt. Consider speaking with the doctor or hospital to settle a debt for a lesser amount. Many hospitals and even doctors are willing to negotiate with uninsured patients. And of course, medical debt is dischargeable in bankruptcy. To find out how bankruptcy can help you speak with a Dallas-Fort Worth bankruptcy attorney today.