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Emergency room and urgent care visits or even elective medical procedures are inevitable for most people. While many medical bills are expensive, you might get an early pay discount or make a payment plan. The best credit cards can give you rewards and provide flexible repayment terms for your hospital visits. Here are a few things to look out for as well as any cards you might consider.

credit cards medical bills
Johnny at the doctor’s office for a colonoscopy checkup.

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Lump-Sum or Hospital Payment Plans?

It can take several days or weeks to get all of the medical bills for a hospital trip. Most medical providers accept credit card payments and won’t charge the 3% card processing fee. You might get a discount if you pay the entire balance upfront.

The size of the medical bill, your current financial health, and your payment plan options help you decide to pay it all upfront. If you choose the lump sum method, you might easily qualify for a limited-time credit card offer with a high minimum spend.

Best Credit Cards for Medical Bills

If you choose an interest-free monthly payment plan (or choose a lump sum), you can try these credit cards too. Keep reading to learn more.

Citi Double Cash Card

The information for the Citi® Double Cash Card has been collected independently by Johnny Jet. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

The Citi® Double Cash Card earns up to 2% back on every dollar you spend. Cardholders earn 1% back when they buy plus the other 1% back when they pay. There is no limit to how much can be earned. To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time.

Most fixed cash back cards only award up to 1.5% back. You can redeem your rewards for cash statement credit, paper checks, or bank deposits. There is no annual fee.

It is one of the best cash back credit cards.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

Another top-notch travel credit card is the Chase Sapphire Preferred. Medical bills and other non-bonus purchases earn 1 point per $1. This is not just one of the best credit cards for medical bills; it’s also considered the best for travel.

Once your family is healthy, you can enjoy Chase Sapphire benefits, including a $50 annual Hotel Credit. It comes in the form of a statement credit that will automatically be applied to your account when your card is used for hotel accommodation purchases made through the Chase Travel℠ program, up to an annual maximum accumulation of $50.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred earns unlimited:

  • 5x points on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠ (excluding hotel purchases that qualify for the $50 Anniversary Hotel Credit)
  • 3x points on dining (including eligible delivery services, takeout, and dining out)
  • 3x points on online grocery purchases (excluding Target®, Walmart®, and wholesale clubs)
  • Also 3x points on select streaming services
  • 2x points on all other travel purchases
  • 1x point per $1 spent on all non-bonus purchases 

Plus, on each account anniversary, you’ll earn bonus points equal to 10% of your total purchases made the previous year. So, if you spend $25,000 on purchases, you’ll get 2,500 bonus points.

Each point is worth 25% more (1.25 cents) when booking award travel through Chase or transfer at a 1:1 ratio to hotel and airline partners. You can redeem them for 1 cent each for cash redemptions and gift cards.

New Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card cardholders can earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s worth $750 when redeemed through Chase Travel℠.

Some valuable travel and partner benefits include primary rental car insurance benefits.

The annual fee is $95.

Chase Freedom Unlimited

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® earns at least 1.5% back on all purchases. Cardholders earn unlimited:

  • 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠
  • 3% cash back on dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services
  • 3% cash back on drugstore purchases
  • 1.5% cash back on all other purchases

There is no annual fee with the Chase Freedom Unlimited.

Each point is worth 1 cent each for award travel and cash rewards. You can also combine them with your transfer Freedom Unlimited points to the Sapphire Preferred balance for a travel redemption bonus or 1:1 transfers.

New Chase Freedom Unlimited® cardholders can enjoy an additional 1.5% cash back on everything they buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) – worth up to $300 cash back! So, they’ll earn 6.5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, a premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more; 4.5% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and 3% on all other purchases (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year).

Related: Best Credit Cards for Groceries

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is one of the best travel rewards credit cards as it’s easy to earn and redeem miles. You earn 2 miles per $1 on all purchases and can redeem them for travel statement credits.

However, if you are wanting to earn a few more miles on travel, good news—earn 5x miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel. 

Cardholders can also enjoy a fee credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry.

Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel, with the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card.

The Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is a good card for daily purchases, including medical bills. You earn up to 6% cash back on purchases redeemable for statement credits.

  • 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets, up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%)
  • 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions
  • 3% cash back on transit, including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses, and more
  • 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations
  • 1% cash back on other purchases

Cash back comes in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit and at Amazon.com at checkout.

Plus, with their enrolled Blue Cash Preferred Card, cardholders who spend $9.99 or more each month on an auto-renewing Disney Bundle subscription receive a monthly statement credit of $7. Valid only at Disney Plus.com, Hulu.com or Plus.espn.com in the U.S.

The welcome bonus is the ability to earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases on your new Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express within the first 6 months. There is a $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95 (See Rates & Fees). 

American Express Gold Card

The American Express® Gold Card helps you maximize dining, grocery, and travel purchases.

It earns 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earns 4X Membership Rewards® Points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X). Plus, earn 3X Membership Rewards® Points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.

Another perk is the ability to earn up to $10 in statement credits on a monthly basis when you use your Gold Card to pay at the following dining establishments (enrollment is required):

  • Grubhub
  • The Cheesecake Factory
  • Goldbelly
  • Wine.com
  • Milk Bar
  • Shake Shack (only at participating locations)

This perk can save you up to $120 annually.

Your Amex Membership Rewards points are most valuable for booking award flights and select gift cards. You can also transfer them at a 1:1 ratio for airlines and hotels.

The annual fee is $250 and there are no foreign transaction fees (See Rates & Fees).

New American Express® Gold Card cardholders can earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $6,000 on eligible purchases within the first 6 months. Cardholders can choose between Gold or Rose Gold. 

Southwest Airlines Credit Cards

I know you’re thinking that airline credit cards aren’t probably the best credit cards for medical bills, but if you use the right card and fly the airline often, they can be. Southwest Airlines can be one of the best airlines to fly for competitive prices on domestic flights and Caribbean flights. Your medical bills can help you earn a signup bonus, which counts towards earning the Southwest Companion Pass®.

The information for the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card has been collected independently by Johnny Jet. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

New Southwest Airlines (consumer) credit cardholders can earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

These cards are:

Additionally, all three cards get 25% back on inflight purchases.

Each card has various anniversary point bonuses and other “fringe benefits.” The most luxurious of these three cards is the Priority Card, including a $75 annual Southwest credit and four Upgraded Bookings per year. Its annual fee is a reasonable $149 per year.

Summary of the Best Credit Cards for Medical Bills

Medical bills you must pay for out-of-pocket are not automatic high-interest debt balances. The best rewards credit cards can help you earn bonus points and avoid crazy interest rates that medical loans charge. These cards can also help you maximize your other daily purchases.

FAQs

Which credit card is best for medical bills, specifically, hospital bills?

The best credit card for hospital bills and related medical expenses can be a cash back card like the Citi Double Cash. This card earns up to 2% cash back on every purchase and there is no annual fee. Cardholders earn 1% back when they buy, plus 1% back when they pay for their purchases. Most credit cards only offer 1 point per $1 on medical bills as they are a “non-bonus purchase category.”

However, the best credit card may also be one with the most exciting signup bonus that you can use. It might be a travel credit card or a cash rewards credit card. Making a lump-sum payment can help you easily reach the $3,000, $4,000, or $5,000 three-month minimum spending requirement.

You might inspect these limited-time credit card offers to find an amazing opportunity.

Is it smart to pay bills with a credit card?

Using your credit card to pay bills is a good option when your purchase rewards are worth more than any transaction fees. Government agencies and some small businesses charge an approximate 3% processing fee. But most businesses no longer charge an extra processing fee.

You might also use your credit card to pay bills if you can earn a signup or welcome bonus. Even if you pay processing charges, the signup bonus value usually exceeds these add-on charges.

Also, you should only use your credit card when you can pay the monthly statement balance in full and avoid interest charges.

Can I pay off my credit card as soon as I use it?

Most credit cards require you to wait at least one business day after the transaction date to pay your credit card. It takes one or two days for the purchase to “post” and verify that you made a legit purchase. For instance, gas stations, hotels, and rental car agencies may only place a temporary hold on your card until the final purchase amount posts. Not being able to make instant payments prevents payment confusion.

Paying your credit card balance before the statement closing date has some benefits. The primary benefit is you keep your credit utilization ratio low to boost your credit score. A second benefit is that you’re less likely to accidentally spend your checking account balance on another purchase and carry a high-interest credit card balance.

Related Articles:

For rates and fees of The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, please click here.

For rates and fees of The American Express® Gold Card, please click here.

Johnny Jet has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Johnny Jet and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

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