Health insurance is supposed to provide access to care and protect patients from the financial devastation of catastrophic illness or accident, so the offering of extending credit may only be prolonging the problem, if health insurance is not cutting the bill. BD
As health-care costs continue to climb, the trend to more "cost sharing" continues, and the ranks of the uninsured keep swelling, more and more Americans are finding that paying for medical care means going into debt.
Increasingly, those out-of-pocket costs are being borne through debt -- as more providers outsource their receivables function to third-party collectors, or by teaming up with a financial services company that provides credit cards or a line of credit to patients when they receive care. Capital One, Citigroup, General Electric, and U.S. Bancorp have all entered the field to assist "self-pay" (read: uninsured or covered by high-deductive plans) patients in meeting their health-care costs. While some banks now offer medical-care credit cards, other products are less obvious to consumers.