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The 'Lucrative Alliance' Between Healthcare And Finance

Even if you have health insurance or are on Medicare, that in no way guarantees that all your medical bills will be covered. In fact, a great many things aren't covered in some circumstances, which is one reason why medical bills are one of the chief causes of personal bankruptcy.

Take necessary - but expensive - dental work for the 78-year-old woman described in Jessica Silver-Greenberg's article for the New York Times. While sitting in the dentist's chair, her dentist informed her that she would need $5,700 worth of dental work for a partial denture. Expressing her inability to pay this amount, the woman was quickly offered a loan, right there in the dentist's office.

The loan came with a hefty 23 percent interest rate. And if she's ever late or misses a payment, she can expect the rate to hit 33 percent. "I am worried that I will be paying for this until I die," she said.

Indeed, Silver-Greenberg reports that more and more older citizens are being offered loans and credit to cover out-of-pocket expenses that aren't covered by insurance or Medicare. It's a nice system, if you're a healthcare provider or work in finance, that is. While the dentist in the 78-year-old's case got paid up front, the woman will be stuck paying all that interest for years.

The situation isn't ideal, when many people are left with two stark choices: Take on a high-interest loan or line of credit they'll be paying down for years, or skip out on the medical treatment altogether.

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