Medical credit cards are financial products that give people another payment option for healthcare expenses. While there are some advantages to such products, there are also some disadvantages. High interest rates and expensive fees can leave residents of Lane County with more medical debt than they started with. Anyone can use the cards, but companies are targeting senior citizens who are struggling with medical debt.

Senior citizens are often in a vulnerable state when they receive the offers. They are suffering from various ailments, but don’t have enough money in their savings account to pay for the treatment and their insurance plans don’t offer adequate coverage—especially when it comes to dental coverage. With limited savings and a fixed income, a medical credit card is especially attractive to retirees and senior citizens. The credit cards are offered with an interest-free introductory period and seem like an affordable option to many. Once the introductory period is over, however, interest rates increase to 25 or 30 percent and charge high penalties for late payments. The amount of credit card debt that senior citizens owe has increased steadily in recent years and rising medical costs are largely to blame. Seniors aren’t the only ones plagued with credit card debt, however. Americans of all ages use credit cards to pay for medical expenses totaling approximately $45 million each year.

If you or an aging family member is struggling with unmanageable debt from medical credit cards, it might be a good idea to speak with an attorney. Together, you can find a way to discharge credit card debt and overcome your financial challenges.

Source: Market Watch, “Medical debt snares more retirees,” Matthew Heimer, October 14, 2013.