Visa, BCBS Join To Offer Health Debit Cards
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and Visa USA on Monday announced that they are partnering to offer a debit card to pay for health care expenses, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. BCBS companies nationwide will have the option to offer the service, which can be used only with flexible savings accounts or health savings accounts.
To date, BCBS companies in four states -- Idaho, Louisiana, New Jersey and South Carolina -- have decided to offer the debit cards.
Stacy Pourfallah, senior director of pre-paid health care products for Visa, said the debit cards gave consumers a convenient way to track their pretax medical savings accounts.
Gail Hillebrand, senior attorney with Consumers Union, said, "They have the potential to be easy, convenient and cut down on your paperwork. The big question is: Is your money protected?"
A Visa spokesperson said the BCBS debit cards have the same protections as traditional debit cards (Colliver, San Francisco Chronicle,11/22).