Saturday, March 08, 2008

Financing Health Care

So, had my initial follow-up with the orthopedic surgeon and, while going over some paperwork with his staff, noticed this brochure in a handy rack on the desk:
"We offer No Interest Payment Plans..."
Given that I don't know yet the final cost of all the medicine that was (and continues to be) committed upon me, I was curious about non-insurance options in these circumstances. Credit cards and home equity loans are popular and well-known choices, but this alternative intrigued me, and seemed to be interesting blog-fodder.
On a consumer bulletin board that Bob and I frequent, we often see posts by folks looking for ways to trim and/or manage large health care bills. It makes sense that a surgeon's office would have this kind of option available; perhaps other big-ticket providers offer similar plans. I'd be very interested in IB readers' experiences with such a plan (a note in the comments, perhaps, or an email).
Regular reader Rick B alerted me some time ago to one carrier's financing option, as well. This "CareCredit" plan offers two alternatives: a kind of "90 days same as cash" deal, and an extended version which offers discounted interest rates (although discounted from what is not entirely clear). The interest-free option seems to be available to more mundane services (under $300), while the low-interest plan is for higher ticket (over a grand) procedures.
I also noticed that my orthopedist and my vet can both offer this plan:
"CareCredit...can be used repeatedly for yourself, your entire family, and even your pets." [ed: emphasis added]
Nice to know.
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