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Lowering health care costs

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In the midst of debate on the Health Insurance Reform proposed by president Obama, insurers have had their own idea of gift vouchers, offering discounts on bills, doctor and dentist care. In Florida for example, the private insurer Blue Cross Blue Shield sells bonds in over 1000 Winn-Dixie and CVS pharmacies.

How does it work? The holder of a $19 card benefits from deductions of 10% to 50% on a wide range of dental services, such as the installation of a prosthesis device or oral surgery. The $19 card also offers discounts of 20% on generic drugs in large partner drugstore chains in addition to 10% to 60% discounts on eye exams and glasses.

$59 vouchers are also available and can be used to pay a premium or buy an insurance policy. “The recipient can decide by himself when to use the card. That’s what really makes it a gift” says Sue Allen, spokesperson of the Holy Family Memorial Health Network.

If you’re interested in this kind of offer, you should however be very careful: these vouchers have many restrictions that can be confusing. Some health professionals say it can even cost you more than what it brings you. Doug Bartel, spokesman of the insurance company Blue Cross Blue Shield says these vouchers do not cover all kinds of care and do not replace health insurance contracts in due form. Although it is a good solution, it is not the ideal solution for everyone.