Biden administration cautions consumers about medical credit cards

Many patients would be better off without medical credit cards, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says. 

In a report published May 4, the federal agency said patients often do not understand the terms of medical credit cards and end up with more credit than they can afford. 

Medical credit cards, once restricted to paying for the costs of elective procedures, are growing in scope in recent years, according to the report. These cards are often offered to patients by their healthcare provider, sometimes when patients are under significant stress. 

The medical credit card industry has grown significantly over the past several years. One credit card provider, CareCredit, grew from 4.4 million cardholders in 2013 to 11.7 million cardholders in 2023, according to the report. 

Patients who should have access to payment plans through their provider or insurance may be signed up for a medical credit card instead, according to the report. They may incur higher costs through a credit card than a payment plan, and it is difficult to dispute charges, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said. 

Read the full report here. 

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