Even if you have health insurance or are on Medicare, that in no way guarantees that all your medical bills will be covered. In fact, a great many things aren’t covered in some circumstances, which is one reason why medical bills are one of the chief causes of personal bankruptcy.
Take necessary – but expensive – dental work for the 78-year-old woman described in Jessica Silver-Greenberg’s article for the New York Times. While sitting in the dentist’s chair, her dentist informed her that she would need $5,700 worth of dental work for a partial denture. Expressing her inability to pay this amount, the woman was quickly offered a loan, right there in the dentist’s office.
The loan came with a hefty 23 percent interest rate. And if she’s ever late or misses a payment, she can expect the rate to hit 33 percent. “I am worried that I will be paying for this until I die,” she said.
Indeed, Silver-Greenberg reports that more and more older citizens are being offered loans and credit to cover out-of-pocket expenses that aren’t covered by insurance or Medicare. It’s a nice system, if you’re a healthcare provider or work in finance, that is. While the dentist in the 78-year-old’s case got paid up front, the woman will be stuck paying all that interest for years.
The situation isn’t ideal, when many people are left with two stark choices: Take on a high-interest loan or line of credit they’ll be paying down for years, or skip out on the medical treatment altogether.
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