KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

A New Alliance: Medicine And Finance

The New York Times reports on how health professionals are increasingly urging patients to pay costs not covered by insurance with lines of credit or special credit cards -- all of which can be arranged in the provider's office. Meanwhile, Bloomberg takes a look at a new trend regarding the payment of deductibles.

The New York Times: Patients Mired In Costly Credit From Doctors
In dentists’ and doctors’ offices, hearing aid centers and pain clinics, American health care is forging a lucrative alliance with American finance. A growing number of health care professionals are urging patients to pay for treatment not covered by their insurance plans with credit cards and lines of credit that can be arranged quickly in the provider’s office. The cards and loans, which were first marketed about a decade ago for cosmetic surgery and other elective procedures, are now proliferating among older Americans, who often face large out-of-pocket expenses for basic care that is not covered by Medicare or private insurance (Silver-Greenberg, 10/13).

Bloomberg: Patients Pay Before Seeing Doctor As Deductibles Spread
When Barbara Retkowski went to a Cape Coral, Florida, health clinic in August to treat a blood condition, she figured the center would bill her insurance company. Instead, it demanded payment upfront. Earlier in the year, another clinic insisted she pay her entire remaining insurance deductible for the year -- more than $1,000 -- before the doctor would even see her (Armour, 10/14).

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