Friday, May 30, 2003

Humana combines credit, health cards



By Tim Bonfield
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Starting next year, people covered by certain Humana Inc. health plans will be able to use a prepaid credit card to pay deductibles on pills and services with a quick swipe at the pharmacy register or front desk.

The HumanaAccess MasterCard allows members to instantly prove their membership in their health plan and to access funds they set aside through pre-tax "flexible spending accounts" (FSAs) or "health reimbursement arrangements" (HRAs).

For patients, the cards could eliminate paying cash for deductibles and reduce the need to fill out reimbursement forms. For providers, the card could provide faster payment.

The cards already are being used by some employees at Humana's headquarters in Louisville, and will be available within a month to about 580 local Humana employees. The company plans to roll out the cards to general membership early next year, said spokesman Jeff Blunt.

The card - nicknamed a Benny Card - carries a MasterCard logo along with data normally found on a Humana membership card.

But the payment aspect works only if people join programs that allow them to set aside money - before taxes - to be used for health care bills.

Last year, the card produced a 67 percent increase in FSA and HRA enrollment among Humana employees, officials said.

E-mail tbonfield@enquirer.com




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