The pros and cons of healthcare credit cards

The Los Angeles Times looks at the rise of healthcare credit cards designed to help consumers pay their medical bills. These specialty cards may only be used for healthcare purchases. Kaiser Permanente has offered the cards in Hawaii and Colorado. Other chains like Carolinas HealthCare System and Kansas-based Via Christi Health System are also offering the cards.

Supporters say the cards make it easier for patients to afford procedures that might otherwise be out of reach and also help providers turn a serious liability (uncollected accounts) into an asset. Moving debt directly into the hands of a third party also has the added advantage, supporters argue, of giving the responsibility of debt collection to somebody who specializes in the field, reducing administrative expenses. However, interest rates as high as 23 percent per year for some cards may be a problem for consumers.

- read this article from the Los Angeles Times