Even with health insurance, medical emergencies can rock your finances. For example, if you have a high-deductible plan, you may have to spend thousands of dollars out-of-pocket before your insurance will begin to kick in.
While the Federal Reserve recently reported that the median U.S. savings account balance was $5,300. Healthcare.gov says that fixing a broken leg can cost up to $7,500.That means this one medical visit alone might cause a large number of families to face financial hardship.
If you’ve received a medical bill that you can’t pay out-of-pocket, you may be looking for credit cards that can help you finance your medical costs. In this guide, we’ll look at the best medical credit cards of 2022
Overview of the Best Medical Cards of 2022
|Cards That Can Only Be Used For Medical Expenses||CareCredit|
Wells Fargo Health Advantage
|General-Use 0% Intro APR Cards||Chase Freedom Unlimited®|
American Express Cash Magnet® Card
|General-Use Balance Transfer Cards||Wells Fargo Platinum|
|General-Use Cards With Large Sign-Up Bonuses||Chase Sapphire Preferred®|
The Platinum Card® from American Express
Best Credit Cards for Paying Medical Bills
Let’s begin by looking at three credit cards that are specifically designed for paying medical bills. Some of these cards may have lower credit requirements than general credit cards. And some may even offer 0% interest periods.
You’ll want to pay attention to the fine print, though. While some credit cards offer fully 0% APR periods, other 0% promotions are deferred interest periods. These are often described as zero percent if paid in full periods.
If you apply for a medical credit card that comes with a deferred interest period, you’ll want to do your best to pay off the balance before your promotional period ends. Otherwise, all of the interest that would have accrued during the deferred interest period will be added to your balance retroactively.
1. CareCredit Credit Card
One of the things that makes the CareCredit card one of the best medical cards is that it can be used at over 225,000 providers across the nation. And many of those providers are in specialties that often aren’t covered by medical insurance, like animal care, chiropractic care, dentistry, dermatology, and many more.
On purchases of $200 or more, the CareCredit credit card offers zero interest if paid in full with financing for 6, 12, 18, or 24-month terms. For purchases of $1,000 or more, CareCredit offers longer-term financing at reduced interest rates and fixed monthly payments.
- 24 months: 14.90% APR
- 36 months: 15.90% APR
- 48 months: 16.90% APR
And for purchases of $2,500 or more, you may be eligible for a 60-month financing offer with a 17.90% APR.
You can use the CareCredit credit card to pay for some preventative medical expenses as well. For example, the card currently comes with 18-month promotional financing on any Bowflex® purchase of $200 or more.
2. AccessOne MedCard
AccessOne MedCard, Inc. doesn’t actually offer physical credit cards. However, the company works with patients to help them find affordable payment plans for their medical expenses.
One of the best things about AccessOne is that your credit shouldn’t keep you from qualifying for a payment plan. They say that everyone qualifies for the AccessOne MedCard regardless of credit. And using your AccessOne MedCard won’t hurt your credit either, as they never report to credit bureaus.
AccessOne MedCard offers long-term plans that may come with 0% or low-interest choices. And if you’re ever worried that you won’t be able to make a payment, AccessOne promises to be there to listen and work with you. Their Patient Advocate department is available 24/7 with live agents as well as live chat.
3. Wells Fargo Health Advantage®
The Wells Fargo Health Advantage® Card can help you pay for dental, hearing, vision, and veterinary expenses. To see which providers near you accept the Wells Fargo Health Advantage® Card, you can use their search tool.
The Wells Fargo Health Advantage® Card comes with an interest rate of 12.99%, which is below the average credit card interest rate of 14.75%. Special financing promotions for this card may also be available.
If you’re able to qualify for a 0% intro period with this card, the long-term low APR could make it your best choice. But if they aren’t currently offering 0% interest periods, you may want to apply for another card from this list first.
Best General Credit Cards That Offer a 0% Intro APR Period
If you have strong credit, you may qualify for a general 0% APR credit card. Both of the credit cards below come with generous 0% APR periods.
And neither of these cards uses a deferred interest model. So if you still have a balance at the end of your promo period, you won’t be charged any retroactive interest.
4. Chase Freedom Unlimited
The Chase Freedom Unlimited® opens up with a terrific intro offer; earn an additional 1.5% cash back on purchases (up to $20,000 spent in the first year). Cardholders will also enjoy 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers.
- No Annual Fee
The Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card offers a 0% intro APR period of 15 Months. But that’s not the only thing that makes this one of the best medical credit cards. This card also offers generous rewards.
The Chase Freedom Unlimited offers the following rewards bonuses:
- 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- 3% cash back on dining at restaurants (including takeout and eligible delivery services)
- 3% cash back on drugstore purchases
Best of all, you’ll earn 1.5% unlimited cash back on all your purchases with the Chase Freedom Unlimited card. That means that not only can you get 15 Months of 0% APR on your medical expenses with this card, but those expenses will also earn you 1.5% cashback!
You’ll receive a $200 cash back bonus after you spend $500 within your first 3 months with the card. You can redeem your Chase Ultimate Rewards® points for cash, gift cards, or travel. And Chase Freedom Unlimited doesn’t charge an annual fee.
5. American Express Cash Magnet Card
Enjoy a low intro APR and reduced plan fees when you split up large purchases into monthly installments with the Plan it® feature. Terms Apply.
- Unlimited 1.5% Cash Back
- No Annual Fee
The American Express Cash Magnet Card is similar to the Chase Freedom Unlimited card in many regards. It also comes with a 15-month 0% APR period, no annual fee, and 1.5% unlimited cash back. And you’ll receive a $200 sign-up bonus after you spend $2,000 on the card within the first 6 months.
But the American Express Cash Magnet Card comes with an additional feature called Plan it® that could make it one of the best cards for paying medical bills. With Plan it®, you can choose to pay certain expenses over a fixed period of time with no interest.
You will have to pay a fee to use the Plan it® feature, but it will almost always be lower than what you would have paid in interest.
Best General Credit Cards for Transferring Medical Bill Balances
Already have medical debt? If so, you may be able to reduce your interest charges by applying for a 0% balance transfer card. Here are three great choices.
6. Wells Fargo Platinum
*This offer is expired or no longer available.
The Wells Fargo Platinum Card offers an 18-month 0% APR period on both balance transfers and purchases. So if you’re someone who already has some medical debt and you expect more medical expenses in the future, this card could be one of your strongest choices.
The Wells Fargo Platinum Card doesn’t come with many extra perks or frills. But it does offer cardholders cell phone protection of up to $600 per claim and $1,200 per 12-month period. And this card doesn’t charge an annual fee.
Best General Credit Cards for Earning Sign-up Bonuses on Medical Bills
Already have the money sitting in the bank to pay for your medical expenses? That’s great. But why not take advantage of the large bill by using it to qualify for a big credit card sign-up bonus? Here are two credit cards that offer eye-popping welcome bonuses to new cardholders.
7. Chase Sapphire Preferred®
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® card comes with a $95 annual fee and a massive sign-up bonus of 80,000 points. To earn the bonus, you’ll need to spend $4,000 on purchases within your first 3 months with the card - Offer ends Tuesday, 5/31 at 6pm EST.
Like the Chase Freedom Unlimited, you can redeem your points for cash, gift cards, or travel. But Chase Sapphire Preferred® cardholders also can transfer points to a variety of travel partners and get 25% more in redemption value when they book travel via the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal.
Plus, you’ll earn 5x points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x points on dining, 2x points on all other travel purchases, and 1x points on all other purchases. Also, you can receive a bevy of free benefits like trip cancellation insurance, car rental insurance, purchase protection, and extended warranty coverage.
8. The Platinum Card® from American Express
Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards points after you’ve spent $6,000 in the first six months of card ownership. Terms Apply.
- $695 Annual Fee
Of all the cards on this list, The Platinum Card® from American Express by far has the highest annual fee of $695. But this card also comes with a sign-up bonus of 100,000 points if you spend $6,000 within your first 6 months with the card.
Although that’s a fairly high minimum spending requirement, it may be no problem if you plan to use the card to pay for a major medical expense. And if you’re able to earn that big bonus, you should have no problem breaking even with this card, especially when you consider a few of its other benefits:
- $200 per year in Uber Cash
- $200 onsite hotel credit
- $100 Global Entry fee credit (or an $85 TSA Pre credit)
- Complimentary access to over 1,300 airport lounges
Big medical expenses are never fun. But at least with The Platinum Card® from American Express, you may be able to turn them into a ton of free travel for you and your family.
Do medical credit cards affect credit scores?
It depends on the type of card used. General-use credit cards won’t separate between your medical expenses and other purchases. Because of this, your medical bills will be reported to the credit bureaus and will impact your credit score either positively or negatively. However, credit cards that are specifically designed to pay medical bills may have a “no credit reporting” policy.
Can I apply for a medical card with bad credit?
Yes, unlike some premier rewards cards, many medical credit cards have very lenient credit score requirements. In fact, some may promise to accept all applicants regardless of their credit standing.
Can you pay hospital bills with a credit card?
Yes, most hospitals will accept credit card payments. In a recent survey from Experian, over half of the respondents said that they prefer to pay for their medical expenses with a credit card. However, it’s important to note that many hospitals also offer their own payment plans which may be more affordable. Before using a credit card, be sure to speak with your hospital’s billing department to find out which payment options are available to you.
Where can I get a medical card?
Oftentimes, patients can apply for medical cards right from their doctor’s offices. But you don’t have to wait till then to apply. Most medical credit cards can be opened online so you can start comparing your options well before your visit or procedure. Before you apply for any card, make sure to verify that it’s accepted by the provider or hospital that you’ll need to pay
Picking the right medical credit card for you depends on your needs. If you have poor or damaged credit, you may want to apply for one of the credit cards built specifically for paying medical expenses.
But if you have great credit, a 0% APR credit card or 0% balance transfer card may be a better fit. And if you already have the funds to pay your medical bills in full, a rewards card with a hefty sign-up bonus could be a strong choice.