A reader pointed us to a recent article in the WSJ abut CarePayment, a new financing option that provides a way for the uninsured to pay off their hospital bills in monthly installments, without incurring interest rate charges or finance fees.
The card provides APR-free financing for up to 36 months; there is a $25 fee for missed payments, according to the customer service rep we spoke with, but never an interest rate. Minimum monthly payments are $25 or 4% of your bill, whichever is higher.
CarePayment is provided through arrangements with hospitals, so you can’t go out and apply for the card yourself. Usually a participating hospital will offer it to you automatically if they feel you will have trouble paying off your bill. Otherwise, you can contact your hospital’s billing department and ask them whether they offer it. If your hospital doesn’t offer it, you might want to ask them to look into it, as it’s a good way for them to recoup money from the patients least likely to be able to otherwise pay their bills.
“Hospital Charge Card: Don’t Leave the Ward Without It” [Wall Street Journal Health Blog]