2:59:04 AM PST - Wednesday, December 7th, 2022

How Banks and Private Equity Cash In When Patients Can’t Pay Their Medical Bills  

By Editor - Thu Nov 17, 4:58 am

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Patients at North Carolina-based Atrium Health get what looks like an enticing pitch when they go to the nonprofit hospital system’s website : a payment plan from lender AccessOne. The plans offer “easy ways to make monthly payments” on medical bills, the website says. You don’t need good credit to get a loan. Everyone is approved. Nothing is reported to credit agencies. In Minnesota, Allina Health encourages its patients to sign up for an account with MedCredit Financial Services to “ consolidate your health expenses .” In Southern California, Chino Valley Medical Center, part of the Prime Healthcare chain, touts “ promotional financing options with the CareCredit credit card to help you get the care you need, when you need it.” As Americans are overwhelmed with medical bills, patient financing is now a multibillion-dollar business, with private equity and big banks lined up to cash in when patients and their families can’t pay for care. By one estimate from research firm IBISWorld, profit margins top 29% in the patient financing industry, seven times what is considered a solid hospital margin. Hospitals and other providers, which historically put their patients in interest-free payment plans, have welcomed the financing, signing contracts with lenders and enrolling patients in financing plans with rosy promises about convenient bills and easy payments

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How Banks and Private Equity Cash In When Patients Can’t Pay Their Medical Bills

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