Friday Encore: Medical Gift Cards

Friday Encore features a past blog posting that I thought you might not want to miss. Okay, call it a repeat if you want. When necessary the post may be updated with new information or data to keep it relevant. The following was originally posted April 15th, 2008.

Medical Gift Cards–Something to Consider for the Holidays

My mom’s birthday is coming up and for me that means the start of the longest gift buying season. It’ll soon be Mother’s Day, then Father’s Day with other birthdays and anniversaries sprinkled here and there. I think there’s even Grandparent’s Day sometime. They’re all stretched out over time until the big bang in December. And while gift cards aren’t the most exciting thing to open they are darn convenient and useful.

Late last year Visa introduced an interesting twist on the whole gift card concept–the Medical Gift Card. It’s marketed as a great present for parents, grandparents and anyone who might have a fixed income and lots of medical expenses.

It works just as you would imagine. You purchase a prepaid card for someone. They can then use it to pay for prescriptions, doctor visits, etc. They can use it to pay their copay portion of a medical expense or if they need to the entire expense. Each card can carry a limited amount of $5,000. Like most Visa gift cards there are fees, like $4.95 to purchase the card and a monthly fee that is deducted from the card.

But I gotta say yeah to Visa for putting out their own creative solution to the healthcare crisis. Granny doesn’t really need an IPod or candles for her birthday. But gifting her a card to help her pay for scripts can really help her out.

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