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Do medical credit cards really relieve Wisconsin patients?

With the current health care costs and increasing medical bills, there are certain approaches to resolve debt relief for Americans, including Appleton, Wisconsin, residents, who are struggling with unpaid medical expenses. Those debts may range from personal loans, payday loans and credit cards. In addition to these debts, medical credit cards may be available to patients so that they can pay their debts. However, health care credit cards may contribute to medical debt and financial challenges.

For example, a 63-year-old woman used a medical credit card to pay for dental work that she needed after being involved in a car accident in 1986. According to the report, the crash damaged her teeth and in order to be able to fix her teeth, she needed thousands of dollars in dental work to be performed. In 2007, she used a medical credit card, which was offered by CareCredit. The card covered the costs of treatment for periodontal disease, two crowns and a root canal. Unfortunately, the money she owed put her "in the red."

Medical credit cards basically offer zero-interest rates for a limited period, which usually ranges from three months to 18 months. However, when the patient is unable to pay the balance in full within the zero-interest period, all the past interest may roll over, adding to the outstanding balance of the cardholder. The interest rates on medical credit cards may be set as high as 27 percent.

Although medical credit cards are somehow advantageous, they pose certain risks to patients in terms of high interest rates and late fees. High interest rates and late fees need to be taken into account when applying for medical credit cards, in addition to reviewing the terms of the loan and commitment to pay the debt.

Fortunately, consumers and cardholders in Wisconsin who find themselves financially burdened with heavy personal debt have certain debt relief options at their disposal. These options may include personal bankruptcy, repayments programs and credit counseling services.

Source: U.S. News and World Report, "What to Consider Before Applying for a Medical Credit Card," Geoff Williams, Nov. 27, 2013

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