Subpoenas have been sent to a large number of health care providers who have recently helped their patients to open new credit card accounts, to release the records pertaining to those cards. This is because Andrew Cuomo, the Attorney General of New York is looking into the connections between the financial industry and the providers of health care, which are increasingly becoming obvious in the recent months. A large number of complaints have been records indicating that health care providers such as chiropractors, veterinarians, plastic surgeons, dentists etc. are convincing the patients to take the health care credit cards thus burdening them with high debt and exorbitant interest rates.
The office of Cuomo is also looking into the terms agreed upon between the providers of health care and the credit cards. GE Money is the largest provider although there are others like Citibank Health Card, Visa Health Benefits and Chase Health Advance which are sharing a piece of the pie. Investigators will be looking into the terms to find out more about the incentives offered to health care providers to sell the credit cards unnecessarily.
The items that would be scrutinized will include start-up fees, interest rates, commissions and other types of fees. Those who have received notice also include American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the American Dental Association which have been asked by the Attorney General`s office to explain why they support the credit cards related to health care. The investigation is looking into the various reasons why the providers of health care are prompted to push the service of selling credit cards to their patients and the motivation in terms of incentives they receive.
As per some complaints from customers, they didn`t even understand that they have signed up for a new credit card. Most of the customers were also unaware of the terms and regulations of the credit card they have signed up for. Others were under the wrong impression that the health care provider was the one which was issuing credit to the patient. A large number of complaints were from those customers who ended up in bankruptcy due to a failure in paying the high interest rates charged on the credit card. The scheme according to Cuomo, is the one most responsible for the economic burden of consumers, a major part of whom went bankrupt because of debt caused by health treatment. Sometimes the card is said to have been offered even when customers were paying by cash.