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Assess the risk of health-care loans

close-up shot of a stethascope

Whether it’s Lasik eye surgery or a cosmetic procedure, someday you might need to find a way to pay for a procedure that isn’t covered by your health insurance.

Your healthcare provider tells you that a special loan is available—at 0% interest, with no upfront costs, low monthly payments, no prepayment penalties, and no annual fees. Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, that just might be the case.

This type of financing is available through organizations such as CareCredit, who works with more than 100,000 providers.

Depending on the loan options your provider offers, you may be able to finance your procedure interest-free for a minimum amount of time ranging from six to 24 months. If you pay off the entire amount during that “promotional period,” the loan is indeed interest-free.

But it’s up to you to ensure you pay enough each month so that you pay the balance in full during the promotional period. If your procedure costs $4,000, CareCredit’s online calculator estimates you’d have to pay $667 a month for six months.

And if you don’t pay the entire balance during the promotional period? At the end of that time, CareCredit will bill you for finance charges—not only on the unpaid balance but also on the full original purchase amount, dating from the purchase date.

Before jumping into this type of loan, consider your options. The safest way to pay for an elective procedure is to save until you have enough cash. If a procedure is medically necessary, talk with your doctor about whether or not it can wait until you save enough money. The team at White River Credit Union can help you develop a spending plan to help you save for a procedure.

If you decide to borrow, White River Credit Union also can help. We offer loans at lower interest rates with fewer fees than finance companies and banks. Contact us at 360-825-4833 ext. 4 or email us at Loans@WhiteRiverCU.com

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