New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo today launched an industry-wide investigation into CareCredit, a health care credit card offered by GE, whose terms the AG found amount to predatory lending. Cuomo's office says that health care providers pushed consumers to sign up for the CareCredit card to cover out-of-pocket costs and received kickbacks from CareCredit based on how much patients charged. Consumers signed on for the cards believing that they carried zero interest, when in fact they often carried retroactive interest of over 25% if not paid in full during a promotional period.
Many of those affected were elderly or low-income patients who sought treatments not typically covered by health insurance, such as dental work, chiropractic services, infertility treatments, and vision and cosmetic procedures. The investigation found that: "Consumers were also unknowingly charged up front for services they never received, and their attempts to obtain refunds were often thwarted or ignored."
We wrote about CareCredit and several other cards in a July 2008 article. Consumers wishing to file complaints regarding deceptive health care credit card practices are urged to contact the Attorney General’s Office at HealthCreditCards@ag.ny.gov or 800-428-9071.
- Chris Fichera