With healthcare costs continuing to soar across America and tens of millions of people lacking any form of health insurance whatsoever, this seems like a great idea: prepaid healthcare gift cards. At the Givewell site, it's now possible to purchase the Prepaid Healthcare Visa Gift Card in various increments ranging from $25 to $5000. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Healthcare Visa Gift Card will cover prescription co-payments, elective surgery, contact lenses and gym membership. Health insurance company Highmark, which plans to sell "several hundred thousand" gift cards during 2008, will start off marketing the card in Pennsylvania before rolling it out nationwide.
As with any innovative offering there are, of course, the skeptics. For example, The Consumerist wasn't so approving of this new credit card offering:
"Nothing says "I love you, Mom," like some more medicine for her diabetes, or "You're the best, Dad," like a refill of nitro tablets. That's why the health insurance company Highmark is offering new Healthcare Visa Gift Cards—for about $5 plus an unspecified shipping and handling fee, you can load it with anywhere from $25 to $5,000 to be used exclusively on medical expenses. After the first 9 months, the card emerges from the womb of "I already paid for this!" and starts charging you a monthly $1.50 maintenance fee. Won't your kid be excited come Christmas morning when she finds out her staph infection is going to get treated?!"
If you look carefully at the image above, you'll see that The Consumerist has rather maliciously added a small white wtf?
[image: The Givewell Card]