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NY attorney general probes healthcare credit card practices

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, August 6, 2010

The state Attorney General's office has issued subpoenas to 10 healthcare providers statewide, including two with offices in Monroe County, and four financial institutions in an investigation into predatory lending in healthcare. The investigation involves health care credit cards, a relatively new method of paying for services at providers such as dentists, chiropractors, infertility clinics, weight loss clinics and veterinarians. The attorney general's office said the cards violate the state's consumer protection laws because they are offered with deceptive tactics. Consumers would be enticed with a free visit only to be told of treatments that would cost thousands, according to the investigation. They would be offered financing, but the full amount would be billed upfront and interest would be retroactive, investigators said. Investigators also contend that the companies provide kickbacks to the providers.