Reporter explores impact of medical credit cards on dental debt

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health and the author of "Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America." She can be reached at


Manuela Tobias

Dental patients in need of costly procedures may turn to medical credit cards to pay for the services. But these cards, which often include deferred-interest provisions, can pose risks.

If consumers do not fully understand the terms or fall behind on payments, they can end up facing inflated bills and crippling dental debts, as Fresno Bee reporter Manuela Tobias explained in a recent investigative piece.

Her story, which recounted troubles with the credit cards and advocate and legislators’ efforts aimed at protecting consumers, was produced in partnership with The California Divide, a statewide media collaboration that seeks to raise awareness about poverty and income inequality through in-depth storytelling and community outreach.

In this new Q&A fort AHCJ, Tobias offers insights into her work on the piece. She also shares advice with colleagues interested in investigating medical credit cards in their states.

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