Medical Gift Cards A Hot Commodity This X-Mas

Can Be Used For Anything From Deductibles To Surgery
Reporting
Kirstin Cole
http://wcbstv.com

We will be spending more than $26 billion on gift cards this year. And just when you thought there’s nothing new under the Christmas tree along comes one for “good health.”

When it comes to Christmas presents, Stacey Smith was stumped over what to give to her husband’s grandmother.

“Especially an older person … they really have everything they need,” Smith said.

But now she’s found something that fits perfectly — the “gift of health” through a medical gift card.

“She can use it towards her prescriptions and her medical bills or anything like that,” Smith said.

This gift card can be used for doctors’ visits or deductibles, prescription co-pays, contact lenses and even elective surgery.

“It’s a first of its kind; no one has ever offered a gift card like this,” said Kim Bellard of givewell.com.

The card is issued by Visa, so it can be used anywhere Visa is accepted for health-related services. They are not sold in stores and need to be purchased online or over the phone for up to $5,000.

“The peak audience we believe though is women 35-50, the famous sandwich generation,” Bellard said. “So, they’ve got parents that have health needs, and they’ve got a spouse that has health needs, and older children going off to college or living on their own that have health needs.”

How does the card impact medical deductions? The person who uses it gets any eligible write-off.

“Be sure to record how much you spent on that card because that is a legitimate medical expense that you can use when you fill out your taxes,” said Jack Gillis of the Consumer Federation of America.

And if you’re buying the card ask the typical gift card questions.

“Check out the fees, check out the expiration date, check out what happens if you lose the card,” Gillis said.

Smith is already considering picking up another one.

“We’re actually thinking about getting one for my mother who wants to join a gym and you can use it for a gym membership,” Smith said.

As with many gift cards, this one come with a fee — $5 plus whatever you load onto the card.
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