April 27, 2023 — Report

Many consumers charge medical bills to credit cards. Some consumers end up using specialized medical credit cards to pay health care expenses, especially for expenses generally not covered by health insurance such as dental or vision care.

This report discusses these medical credit cards in depth, beginning with a brief background section and then presenting the results of a survey of legal services attorneys, private attorneys, and other advocates regarding their clients’ experiences with medical credit cards. The report concludes with recommendations.

This survey had 35 respondents. Some highlights of the results are:

  • Synchrony/CareCredit was the dominant medical credit card product by far; everyone who responded had a client with a CareCredit Card. The next most frequently mentioned product, Wells Fargo, was only mentioned by 12% of respondents.
  • The most frequent setting where clients were offered a medical credit card was a dentist office, which almost all respondents (94%) mentioned. Other frequently mentioned settings were cosmetic surgery (26%); veterinarians (26%); hearing services (17%); vision services (17%); and primary care (14%). Less frequently mentioned settings were at a hospital (6%), physical therapy (6%), or for weight loss procedures (6%). Only one respondent each indicated that a client was offered a medical credit card in the emergency room (3%) or for fertility or reproductive health (3%).
  • The survey asked what types of problems advocates observed their clients experiencing. The following page has a chart of their responses.