Highmark "Healthcare Gift Card" Usable To Buy Cigs, Junk Food

A health insurance company is touting what some might think sounds like a great idea, a gift card that can “cover out-of-pocket expenses related to personal health and wellness.” Perfect for sick friends and ailing relatives, right? Well a Pittsburgh paper got one of the Highmark-branded cards and was able to buy from Rite Aid: cigarettes, chewing tobacco, Doritos, fudge brownies, Butterfingers, Hot Pockets, Mountain Dew, and a plastic World Wrestling Entertainment World Championship belt.

Turns out there’s no restrictions on what people can buy as long as it’s from retailers who partnered with the large western Pennsylvania insurance company. To make matters worse, the gift card is issued by VISA, and gift cards issued by banks nearly universally have purchase fees, maintenance fees and expiration dates. What a concept, a “healthcare” gift card that people can use to buy stuff that’s bad for their health and will make their wallet sick.

Highmark’s “Healthcare Gift Card” used to buy all that’s bad for you [Pittsburgh City Paper]