Bank loans used to collect unpaid medical bills

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- A health system with hospitals in Missouri, Illinois, Oklahoma and Wisconsin is working with a bank to offer interest-free loans to patients with unpaid medical bills.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch (http://bit.ly/1rtqHO7 ) reports that $6.5 million has been lent to about 4,000 patients since SSM Health Care inked a deal with Commerce Bank five months ago. Patients get the loans without undergoing credit checks and Commerce Bank receives a service fee.

The goal is to reduce the health system's bad debt, which grew from $157 million in 2012 to $204.7 million in 2013.

Hospitals have long worked out payment plans with patients in-house. But Paul Sahney of SSM Health Care says his hospitals aren't positioned to effectively manage monthly payments from patients like banks already do with home and car loans.

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Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, http://www.stltoday.com

AP-WF-08-31-14 1528GMT


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