Medical Bill Assistance


NY Investigates Care Credit

Using credit to pay medical bills is a risky and sometimes expensive option. According to New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, rebates provided by CareCredit to medical providers encourages vulnerable patients to go into debt.

At issue is the use of kickbacks to providers that enroll a substantial number of patients into CareCredit accounts. The AG believes

that many medical billers are pressuring patients to enroll in CareCredit even if they have the financial means to pay for their services with cash.

When a patient receives services, they can frequently pay for those services through an interest-free payment plan when they cannot afford a lump sum payment. However, if they charge their services to CareCredit, they risk retroactive interest charges if they do not repay the balance in full within the specified time period.

There were issues reported by patients where they felt pressured to sign up for accounts even though they indicated they did not need them. Additionally, some patients reported that charges were improperly applied to their recently opened CareCredit accounts even though they did not receive the stated services.

New York is especially keen to the fact that medical debt contributes heavily to bankruptcy filings. While these consumers may carry other types of debt, the rapid accumulation of high medical bills frequently causes financial distress.

To address these concerns, Cuomo's office has announced investigations of CareCredit and ten medical service providers.

CareCredit is one of many financial products offered by GE Money Bank, a subsidiary of General Electric.

The rebate in question covers a portion of the fee that CareCredit charges to the medical provider. The higher the charges, the higher the rebate. Medical providers have an extra incentive to charge an even higher fee for services than they already charge. Of course, patients with no health insurance benefit already overpay substantially, since insurance companies negotiate steep discounts in the fees for covered medical procedures.

Most patients are unaware that they too may negotiate reductions for many medical bills much like an insurance company does. Of course, it helps to know what the usual and customary charges for each procedure are according to major insurance companies.

If you have more questions about the investigation, you may contact the Attorney General of New York. To file a complaint, contact your state's office of the Attorney General. If you need help with an existing medical bill or CareCredit account, contact a local organization for help.