LAST UPDATED: October 14th, 2023
Intro to Care Payment
Based in Portland, Oregon, Care Payment was founded in 2004. They emphasize that their purpose is simply to help patients pay off their medical bills and that they are not a credit card company. In fact, they make most of their money off of the fees that health care providers pay to enroll in the program—not off of interest or hidden fees for patients.
In its 11 years of business, Care Payment has provided relief to more than one million patients. They partner with doctor’s offices and hospitals to establish a line of credit. Patients use this credit to temporarily pay for medical bills. Thus far, the company has about 500 hospitals in its network, but they are continually expanding.
Care Payment is driven by the notion that no patient should be deprived of financial help with medical bills. They assert that they understand the rising costs of out-of-pocket costs in health care and simply want to help.
- Credit score
- No interest
- Patient approval rate
- Patient resources
Care Payment is a younger competitor in this market, but they still have more than a decade of experience. This means they've had some time to build a strong provider network and learn what patients really want.
One of the nice things about Care Payment is that, to them, credit is not an issue. If you have poor credit and need help with your hospital bills, Care Payment might be an option because they don't even consider the patient's credit to determine eligibility. In addition, they establish a revolving line of credit rather than giving out credit cards.
It's not that Care Payment offers a no-interest period as a promotion; "no interest" is really their motto. No matter how long you have an account with Care Payment, you will never be charged interest. How do they afford this? They profit instead off of the fees that your provider pays to be enrolled in their program. That's right-with 0.00% APR, you can hardly go wrong.
Patient Approval Rate
Conveniently, you don't even have to submit an application to be approved for a line of credit with Care Payment. Rather, you set up an account with them through your provider (who, of course, must be enrolled in their program in order for you to use Care Payment). As long as your hospital is a participant, and as long as you have a social security number or a TIN, then you're in! And if you ever want to opt out, Care Payment makes for an easy exit. You will not be locked into a contract; when you do away with your account, your remaining balance is just returned to your hospital.
It's almost a given that Care Payment provides an online portal where you can log in, make payments, ask questions, and view your account. But the company goes above and beyond and provides additional resources online-articles about credit scores, healthcare financing, and laws that affect credit lines. Why? Because an informed patient is a confident patient, and when it comes to your medical finances, you want to be as confident and feel as secure as can be.
Care Payment has taken a lot of steps to give patients many reasons to feel safe using their program. Without requiring an application and with zero interest, they are a very risk-free company in many ways. In addition, they accept basically any patient whose provider is enrolled with Care Payment.
- Credit line only
- Low credit limit
- Participating hospitals only
For some customers, 11 years in business just is not enough-especially when there are other healthcare finance companies available who have been around since the early 1900s or even 1800s. In this way, Care Payment is very new to the game and may not have a big enough network yet.
Credit line only
First off, Care Payment is only an option if you want to commit to a line of credit with your hospital or doctor's office. They don't deal with loans or actual credit cards, so if that's the type of help you prefer, keep looking!
Low credit limit
Not only do they limit you to a line of credit; your credit limit is somewhat low too. They say you can borrow up to about $25,000, which might not be enough for more costly and involved treatments. At the end of the day, the amount of money you borrow is determined by your provider. Therefore, this is one of the ways your situation depends on your provider's allowances.
Participating hospitals only
Another disadvantage here is that Care Payment's network is only about 500 providers currently. Compared to companies who have partnered with thousands of providers, this number seems quite small. The company is still growing. But if your hospital isn't on that list, you can't use Care Payment through them. In addition, they don't provide a search engine for you to use to see if your provider is in their network; you just have to ask your provider personally to verify.
One of the biggest questions you might have as a patient is how your funds can be used (or in other words, which treatments and medical procedures you can use the money to pay for). This depends on your provider too. Care Payment will fund the money to your line of credit, but then it's up to your hospital for which treatments that money can go to.
On the whole, the limitations that come with this company are directly associated with the provider you see. Care Payment itself won't place a lot of limitations on your credit line, but they can't control the policies your provider has about where you can use that money. And on a broader level, the company is still growing and gives patients a small network of providers to work with all around.
The Bottom Line
Any company has pros and cons, but the pros outweigh the cons at Care Payment.
First of all, they don't deny patients based on credit; they accept almost all patients who work through a registered provider. Once you're approved, you don't have to worry about interest (which is a major blessing) and the customer service at Care Payment is excellent. They are straightforward in their policies and provide lots of resources to maintain convenience and transparency.
These benefits hinge on one entity though, your provider. There are several conditions that must be met by your provider in order for Care Payment to be a success for you: (1) they have to be a registered participant with Care Payment, (2) they must approve the maximum amount of money you seek to borrow, and (3) they must give approval for you to use the funds for the treatment you need.
In short, Care Payment is indeed a recommended company, despite being somewhat young in the industry. So long as your provider meets the necessary conditions-and as long as you're okay with opening a line of credit instead of other options-you can use Care Payment as a source of financial relief. Once enrolled, you will enjoy great customer service and easy-to-understand payment plans.
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