Proliferation of medical credit cards raise concerns about increasing medical debt

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is the agency tasked with protecting people from unfair and deceptive banking and credit practices.  The agency recently asked for public input on the latest happenings in the consumer credit card market. 

U.S. PIRG was quick to raise the alarm on the proliferation of “medical credit cards.” These relatively new financial products are offered in health care provider medical offices by front office staff. Patients worried about how they’ll pay for a procedure are offered an application for a “medical credit card.” Our comments to the federal agency pointed out that these so-called credit cards may offer no-interest for several months, but they are really not the deal they appear to be. High interest rates and costly late fees can end up just adding to patients existing medical debt. 


Patricia Kelmar

Senior Director, Health Care Campaigns, PIRG

Patricia directs the health care campaign work for U.S. PIRG and provides support to our state offices for state-based health initiatives. Her prior roles include senior policy advisor at NJ Health Care Quality Institute, associate state director at AARP New Jersey and consumer advocate at NJPIRG. She was appointed to the Ground Ambulance and Patient Billing Advisory Committee in 2022 and works with patient advocates across the U.S. Patricia enjoys walking along the Potomac River and sharing her love of books with friends and family around the world.