From Truthout, "Why Hospitals Want Your Credit Report":
Consumer advocates say the practice creates the potential for hospitals to misuse the information by denying or cutting back on patients' care if they can't pay. Hospitals say that doesn't happen. Hospitals often ask patients for permission to access their financial records, but such authorization is sometimes buried in the fine print. What's more, hospitals could scour a patient's financial records for credit lines and encourage the patient to tap them, despite high interest rates or other costs. "It has the potential to put people at risk financially," says Mark Rukavina, executive director of the Access Project, a research and advocacy group that focuses on medical debtI have no health insurance until October 1, 2008. Six months from that date, on April 1 (this is not a joke), 2009, said insurance will begin to cover pre-existing conditions. I do not qualify for independent insurance because I am 40 years old with expensive pre-existing conditions. My debt-to-income ratio resembles the numbers on the monitor pictured above because of (and ONLY because of) student loan debt in preparation for the career that is currently not offering me health insurance. Should I be worried?