How Risky Is It To Sign Up For A Patient Financing Plan?
The cost of healthcare is unaffordable for everyone except the wealthiest Americans, and while the currently available protections prevent some health situations from becoming financially disastrous, the fact remains that almost everyone is just one serious illness or injury away from poverty. The Affordable Care Act has made health insurance affordable to some patients who would otherwise have been uninsured, but more than three quarters of a million Floridians remain in the health insurance coverage gap, unable to qualify for Medicaid but unable to afford marketplace insurance. The No Surprises Act has reduced the cost of emergency medical care, but it does not help with medical expenses that are unsurprising yet unavoidable. When you need medical treatment, you have to pay for it somehow, and financial products have appeared on the market to meet that need, but do they truly offer consumers protection from collection agencies and other horrors of medical debt, or are they just another form of predatory lending? If your financial situation is getting worse after you signed up for a patient financing plan, contact a Miami debt lawyer.
Is BNPL for Medical Debt Too Good to Be True?
If you have visited a hospital or undergone costly treatment on an outpatient basis at a doctor’s office, the providers probably offered you the opportunity to enroll in a payment plan such as MediCredit, AccessOne, or CareCredit. You probably signed up, because the only other choice would be to pay the bill in full, which wouldn’t be possible even if you were to max out your credit cards. In general, these services offer lower interest rates than credit cards. Healthcare providers arrange the terms of the payment plans with the patient financing companies, and the poorer the patient population, the lower the interest rates. Some even offer zero interest. Hospital staff and doctor’s office receptionists often advertise these programs to patients at the time of service. They do not require a credit check, making them the medical equivalent of buy now pay later (BNPL).
This is a dream come true if you can afford the monthly payments. You don’t have to worry constantly that, despite receiving partial payments, the hospital will refer your account to collections. No collections means no business to consumer lawsuits and no garnishment of your tax refunds or paychecks. The only problem is that, if you fall behind on your payments, you will be in the same boat as everyone else, dreading the barrage of notices and threats from hospital billing departments and collection agencies. A patient financing plan you can’t afford is like a BNPL plan you can’t afford, except that while you could have avoided the latter by not buying those fancy kitchen knives or that home gym equipment, you could not have avoided the former, because getting long COVID was not a choice.
If Not Patient Financing, Then What?
A South Florida debt lawyer can help you settle your medical debt, declare bankruptcy, or use debt consolidation loans to pay it off if patient financing plans were unavailable or unaffordable for your hospital stay. Contact Nowack & Olson, PLLC in Miami, Florida to discuss your case.