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Medical Credit Cards: Watch Out

For Patricia Gannon of Dunedin, a medical credit card seemed the answer to an expensive dental procedure she couldn’t afford. The dentist's assistant suggested it and helped her fill out the forms.

But as the New York Timesreports, she now faces huge monthly payments, a high interest rate and expensive fees if she misses a payment.  She worries she'll be paying it off for the rest of her life.

Gannon isn't alone. These types of credit cards and loans, once marketed as a way to pay for elective procedures for humans and for emergency treatment for pets, are now being pushed for more routine care. The arrangements are profitable for providers -- but can be financially disastrous for patients, according to a review of hundreds of court filings by the Times. 

Originally founded in December 2006 as an independent grassroots publication dedicated to coverage of health issues in Florida, Health News Florida was acquired by WUSF Public Media in September 2012.