PacifiCare Health Systems, Inc. announced the launch of its new Flexible Spending Account service and health care debit card. Tailored to meet the needs of today’s employers and health care consumers, PacifiCare’s new service includes a stored-value card that charges health care services directly to an employee’s FSA, much like a bank-issued debit card that charges retail purchases to a checking or savings account. The FSA and debit card services will be available Jan. 1, 2003.
“Our new flexible spending account and health care debit card reinforce PacifiCare’s commitment to empower our members by helping them take a more active and direct role in their health care,” said Howard G. Phanstiel, president and chief executive officer of PacifiCare Health Systems. “We are taking action by launching new products and services to meet the diverse health care needs of health care consumers, including our current members. Debit cards represent the latest innovation designed to simplify the benefits administration process and support more consumer-directed health care spending choices.”
The debit card works off the Cirrus(R) network so that fees for eligible medical expenses are immediately deducted from the employee’s account, eliminating the hassle of filing a paper claim for reimbursement and waiting for the subsequent reimbursement.
Members can log onto PacifiCare’s FSA Participant Web site located in the member area at [www.pacificare.com] to check their FSA accounts for claims, payments and balances; obtain claim forms; calculate potential tax savings; view a complete list of eligible/ineligible expenses; and access important IRS forms and publications. Members can register online for e-Notify(TM), an e-mail service that automatically alerts members when their claims have been processed.
Members can also obtain account information toll-free at 888/PAC-FLX1 (888/722-3591) and speak with a personal service representative. PacifiCare’s Flexible Spending Accounts also offer direct-deposit for added convenience.
Flexible Spending Accounts have been used by employers since the 1970s. Under Section 125 of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC), employees can set aside a limited amount of pre-tax dollars for medical and dependent care-related expenses. Traditionally, employees who have qualified medical or dependent care expense are required to pay for services up front, submit a claim to their employers and wait for reimbursement. The debit card eliminates the wait and hassle.
Covantage, PacifiCare’s benefits administration subsidiary, together with PayFlex Systems USA, Inc., and Med-I-Bank (MBI), will offer support services for the PacifiCare flexible spending account and health care debit card program.
About PacifiCare Health Systems
PacifiCare Health Systems is one of the nation’s largest health and consumer services companies with approximately $11 billion in annual revenues. Primary operations include health insurance products for employer groups and Medicare beneficiaries in eight states and Guam, serving approximately 3.3 million members. Other specialty products and operations include pharmacy and medical management, behavioral health services, life and health insurance and dental and vision services. More information on PacifiCare Health Systems can be obtained at [www.pacificare.com].