Lefkovitz & Lefkovitz
Nashville Office 615-686-2279 Cookeville Office 931-400-2218
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Pitfalls with medical credit cards for consumers

A survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that approximately 33 percent of people around the country have trouble paying their medical bills. Tennessee patients who have used a medical credit card to pay for these expenses may not be fully aware of the consequences. One reason is that people sometimes sign up for these types of cards without fully understanding the terms.

For example, some people think they are setting up a payment plan with a doctor or a dentist, or they are more trusting of the product because it is offered in a medical setting. The advantage for medical professionals is that they can do procedures they might not otherwise be able to perform because the patient cannot afford it.

However, one of the terms that could cause problems for patients is a promise of zero interest that becomes very high if the card is not paid off within a certain time period. The rate could be 25 percent or more, and there have been cases in which consumers were not given written copies of the terms and only had them poorly explained. Deferred interest is another pitfall and means that a person who does not pay off the card in a certain time period will have to pay interest on the original full amount even if there is only a small amount left on the card.

People who are struggling to pay off their medical debt might want to consider filing for bankruptcy. An attorney can review this along with other options for debt relief. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy can allow a person to keep some assets, such as a home, and set up a payment plan to repay creditors. Filing for bankruptcy also puts at least a temporary stop to creditor harassment.

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