On Wednesday, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo investigated health care credit cards following complaints about consumers being made to sign up for them by doctors and dentists.
Investigators are looking in to the incentives that are given to providers for having patients take up cards which have too high interest rates and overcharges according to Cuomo.
The attorney General who is also the Democratic candidate for Governor in Buffalo said that a doctor can`t be juggling two positions at once. He said that being a doctor and an agent of finance at the same time would result in there being two conflicting interests.
Ten providers have been subpoenaed who have offices that promote GE Money`s care credit card said Cuomo. The medical associations have also been endorsing these cards and have been asked to explain why they are supporting these agencies. The American Dental Association and American Society of [plastic surgeons are two agencies supporting this.
Chase Health Advance, Visa health Benefits and Citibank Health Card are three agencies which have been issued subpoenas to see how the health care card programs are being managed.
Cardholders have been asked by providers to pay for procedures such as cosmetic surgery, dental work and veterinary services which aren`t covered by insurance through their card rather than by cash. CareCredit offers providers rebates on the fees charged based on how much the consumers coming to them charge the card for the various services given.
Within two days of the card being used the providers are paid and given more incentives to promote the card according to Cuomo.
The biggest cause of bankruptcy in individuals is health care debt and it has been adding to the economic burden that consumers have to deal with. Conn.-based General Electric Co. also had been subpoenaed to give up its customer list. This card is widely in use by over 125,000 practices in health care all over the nation. The company has not responded or provided comments following this move.
A resident of Rochester, Philip Palumbo, 80 had signed up with this card to pay for about $5600 in dental work and ended up with a strike on his credit report with continuous bills coming to his mail. He was unaware that he was signing up for a credit card at that point.
There is a rising concern that health care providers are increasingly pushing such high interest credit cards on consumers for various payments which is resulting in a lot of debt.