Lori Swanson (D)
MINNEAPOLIS (Legal Newsline) - Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson on Thursday filed a lawsuit against a chiropractic clinic over allegations the company enrolled patients in health care credits without their consent.
The lawsuit was filed against Express Health PA and its owner Cory Couillard, after an investigation revealed Couillard had aggressively enrolled his patients in heath care credit card plans and then placed charges on the card.
The lawsuit alleges Couillard placed lump-sum charges of up to $5,040 on patients' cards without their knowledge.
The CareCredit credit card is offered by GE Money Bank and is used by patients to pay for certain expenses not covered by the patient's health insurance, according to Swanson.
"The clinic engaged in predatory lending, only with health care credit cards instead of subprime mortgages," Swanson said. "The clinic jeopardized patients' credit ratings by fraudulently signing them up for credit cards and then charging their accounts thousands of dollars."
According to GE Money Bank, if a patient is late on a CareCredit credit card payment a default interest payment of 29.99 percent is applied.
The lawsuit alleges the defendants signed up patients for credit cards in order to create a lucrative source for their business, as well as risk patient's credit history and finances.
In some months, Express Health charged $30,000 or more in monthly chiropractic charges to CareCredit.
During a two year period beginning December 2006 through April, the clinic charged $560,850 to CareCredit credit cards issued to its patients, according to Swanson.
The lawsuit filed by the state seeks an injunction, restitution and civil penalties.