By Western Center Policy Advocate Jen Flory and State Senator Holly J. Mitchell
There are few more nerve-racking experiences than sitting in a dentist’s chair writhing from severe pain.
You trust the dentist to fix the problem, relinquishing yourself to his or her care, while under pain medication. Sitting in that dentist’s chair, the last thing on your mind would be high-interest credit cards.
But for thousands of Californians, the pain of the medical credit card debt they acquire in that moment extends far beyond the office visit.
Medical credit cards are usually offered for services not covered by insurance, like dental and chiropractic care. They are also offered to people without coverage, including immigrants. But even people with coverage can find themselves signed up for high interest credit cards. They might not even remember signing up for the credit.
If that doesn’t sound right, it’s because it’s not. That’s why our economic justice priorities this session includes Senate Bill 639, which would end situations in which patients are signed up for high-interest cards in high-stress medical situations.