PA-based insurer Highmark launched a healthcare giftcard in parnership with Visa. It looks like Visa is taking the program national.
The card was created to "encourage the use of medical services among certain cash-averse populations." Now, does this mean the card was designed for those who don't like to use cash, or those who don't have enough cash to pay for medical services? Apparently both.
Highmark feels seniors who pay for health services (not in cash) and cash-strapped college students are perfect market segments to target (hmmmm). They're also suggesting the card can be used to supplement high deductible plan coverage for costs incurred before the CDHP kicks in.
Customers could also use the card to foot the bill on copays in times of 'situational' need, such as when a child breaks an arm and needs multiple follow-up visits with an ortho doc.
Kim Bellard, Highmark's vice president of e-marketing and consumer relations, would "love to get a phone call from the AARP."
Visa also thinks the card is a perfect gift for friends making 'get healthy' New Years resolutions, for baby showers, and for getting back in touch.
"After all, what could be more thoughtful than the gift of health?" (from givewell.com).
If you want to give someone the gift of healthcare dollars, the Highmark card can be yours for the low cost of $4.95 (plus s/h of course). Then load the card with any amount from $25 to $5,000. (It would be interesting to see some stats on the average amount loaded...). Visa will also charge you a $1.50 maintenance fee per month.
The card can be used at any health-related business that accepts credit/debit cards bearing the Visa logo. Designated health-related businesses where the card can be used include docs, ambulance services, counselors, dentists, pharmacies, spas and gyms.
Prescriptions at Target, Wal-Mart, CVS, RiteAid, Kroger, Safeway, Sam's Club, and Costco are also covered. Not sure if you can use the card to purchase 'other' healthcare 'related' supplies at these locations. For instance, gum is essential to my daily mental health and wellbeing, so would the purchase of Orbit be covered?
You can get more info about the cards (and purchase one if you're so inclined) at www.givewell.com. You can also enter to win a $100 Healthcare Visa gift card (which I did not do, but I have to admit I was tempted...).
Click here to read the Kaiser Daily Health Policy report, or click here to read the original Pittsburgh Post-Gazette piece by Bill Toland.