CareCredit cards are a special type of credit vehicle used for out-of-pocket medical expenses that are not covered by medical insurance. This is not a regular credit card, and cannot be used for everyday purposes.
A CareCredit credit card can pay for health and wellness care at over 250,000 enrolled providers across the country. This does not have to be a one-time use card — the card can be used any time, at any location or doctor’s office that accepts CareCredit.
The credit card allows short-term financing options of 6, 12, 18 or 24 months without charging any interest on purchases of $200 or more — as long as the minimum payment is met and the full amount is paid before the end of any promotional offer period. If you miss payments, or do not pay the full amount before the agreed-upon term is met in your contract, interest will then be charged.
You can apply for the card without having any effect on your credit score. As with most short-term financing loans, the biggest hit to credit scores comes if the full amount is not paid off after the promotional period. Once interest starts accruing, companies can then report you to credit bureau agencies.
Common out-of-pocket medical costs vary and can include:
Pet or veterinary care.
Health system and hospital expenses not covered by insurance.
Lab tests not covered by insurance.
Depending on the insurance you might currently have, things like dentistry work and contact lenses (which are frequently exempted from insurance coverage) can be paid for using the CareCredit card.
According to the company website, CareCredit also extends longer term healthcare financing in certain cases: 24-, 36-, 48- or 60-month periods with reduced APR and fixed monthly payments required are on offer. “Purchases of $1,000 or more may be eligible for a 24 months offer with a 14.90% APR, a 36 months offer with a 15.90% APR or a 48 months offer with a 16.90% APR. Purchases of $2,500 or more may be eligible for a 60 months offer with a 17.90% APR,” CareCredit details concerning current policies, pending credit approval.
CareCredit can be a great supplement to your regular insurance plan if you are looking to do cosmetic work — or have certain treatments done that might be more expensive, or exempt from your existing insurance coverage — but don’t want damaged credit nor a high interest rate kicking off from the first payment due.
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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: How the CareCredit Credit Card Can Help You Pay for Medical Expenses When Your Health Insurance Won’t Cover the Bill