Healthcare Digest 6/4: GE Capital’s High Interest Healthcare Credit Card

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Let’s say you want money. Like, a lot of it. And you think, “I’d like to make healthcare money, because healthcare is currently CRAZY expensive in this country, but–” you’re not a doctor, are you? Or a hospital? You’re really not connected to the healthcare world in a tangible way at all.

What to do, what to do?

Well, if you’re GE Capital Retail Bank and its CareCredit LLC, you “encourage” (or “pressure” — as this Reuters piece suggests) folks to use one of your healthcare credit cards and tack on super high interest rates.

Congratulations! You’ve done it!

Or, rather, you did it — because: “General Electric Co (GE.N) has reached a settlement with New York’s attorney general to end a probe into whether consumers were pressured into using a health care credit card carrying a high interest rate.”

I’m sure there are some cases where a settlement is reached and the defendant is in the right, but chooses the settlement for…reasons. But GENERALLY, when the defendant in a case agrees to a settlement, it’s because they’re in dutch and this might be cheaper. Or, at any rate, it negates the need to admit to any wrong-doing.

“Monday’s settlement helps stop providers ‘charging large, upfront fees for future services and from glossing over the huge interest rates associated with CareCredit when promoting the credit card to patients,’ New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman Schneiderman said.”

“The settlement also requires GE Capital and CareCredit to enhance disclosures, improve training and complaint resolution, and let patients object to charges above $1,000 that are incurred within three days of their initial applications.”

So — it’s on to Plan B.

Tuesday’s Headlines:

More on Healthcare Pricing: “Pricing is the best example of how we exempt healthcare from the basic rules that apply to other sectors of the economy. In health care, it’s rare that a consumer can find out in advance how much services will cost them. Catalyst for Payment Reform, a leading organization of employers and other purchasers of health benefits advocating price transparency, points out that many health plans contractually hide prices from the purchasers and consumers. That’s like paying for a cart full of groceries without the right to know what each item cost you.” [Forbes]

Hollywood Stars Engaged in Ending Stigma of Mental Illness: “President Barack Obama said Monday that he wants to end the stigma of mental illness and enrolled the star power of actors Bradley Cooper and Glenn Close at a White House conference organized in response to the December shootings at a Connecticut elementary school.” [Associated Press/Boston Herald]

Twenty Percent of Americans Have Trouble Paying Their Medical Bills: “More than 1 in 5 Americans under age 65 had problems paying medical bills in 2011, and the burden disproportionately fell on the poor, the uninsured and those on government health care programs, according to survey findings released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Tuesday.” [Huffington Post]

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Posted in Medical Receivables, Patient Experience, Patient Financial Services .

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