March 23, 2011

Visa to offer Canada's first pre-loaded payment card for healthcare spending accounts

TORONTO--Visa Canada, together with Great-West Life, a leading Canadian group benefits provider, announced a new Visa-branded employee benefits payment card. The card will reduce the need for Great-West Life group plan members to pay out-of-pocket for health services and supplies covered by their benefits plan.

The card, called the Health SolutionsPlus Visa payment card, is issued by Peoples Trust, a Vancouver, BC-based financial institution, and will allow point of sale access to a group plan member's available healthcare spending account (HCSA) balance. Powered by the innovative card technology of Evolution Benefits™, Inc, the Health SolutionsPlus Visa payment card allows cardholders to conveniently purchase covered health services and supplies from authorized providers simply by swiping their card.

"Employee benefit cards such as the Health SolutionsPlus Visa payment card provide fast and convenient access to healthcare spending account balances while reducing the need to pay out-of-pocket and wait for reimbursements," says Mike Bradley, head of products, Visa Canada.

Great-West Life has become the first Canadian insurer to launch a Visa payment card for healthcare spending accounts. "The Visa payment card for HCSA claims will deliver an enhanced experience for plan members," says Brad Fedorchuk, Vice-President of Group Benefits Marketing for Great-West Life. "Additionally, we have launched new cost containment product options with Health SolutionsPlus that can help plan sponsors implement cost saving plan changes while maintaining plan member satisfaction."

The healthcare industry is witnessing a shift from cash and cheques to electronic payments. Consumers benefit from the convenience, security and transparency of payment cards when paying for healthcare expenses, while providers recognize the benefits of increased potential to collect on receivables and reduced administration.

"At Visa, we look at healthcare payments as a vertical segment," continues Bradley. "Healthcare spending accounts in Canada use comparable technology platforms to the health savings accounts and flexible savings accounts in the United States market, where this segment has grown by more than 35% a year over the past decade. We see payment card technology as the way of the future for Canadian HCSAs."

Visa is a global payments technology company that connects consumers, businesses, financial institutions and governments in more than 200 countries and territories to fast, secure and reliable digital currency. Underpinning digital currency is one of the world's most advanced processing networks—VisaNet—that is capable of handling more than 20,000 transaction messages a second, with fraud protection for consumers and guaranteed payment for merchants. Visa is not a bank and does not issue cards, extend credit or set rates and fees for consumers. Visa's innovations, however, enable its financial institution customers to offer consumers more choices: pay now with debit, ahead of time with prepaid or later with credit products. For more information, visit www.corporate.visa.com.

Founded in Winnipeg in 1891, Great-West Life has long been a leader in the group benefits marketplace. The company has established this position over many decades, through its commitment to quality customer services and through a comprehensive selection of cost-effective benefits plans. Great-West Life offers effective benefit solutions for large and small employee groups of any size. The company serves the needs of more than 32,000 plan sponsors and their plan members in Canada and handles approximately 50 million group health and dental claims for its plan members and their dependents each year.

Peoples Trust is a financial institution headquartered in Vancouver, B.C., with offices across Canada. The company is very active in originating and servicing mortgages, with over $5 billion in assets under administration, and offers very competitive deposit products. Peoples Trust is also a pioneer of prepaid card programs in Canada, and a market leader in both reloadable and non-reloadable card products. For more information, visit www.peoplestrust.com.

Evolution Benefits™, Inc. is the industry leader in innovative electronic payment solutions and benefit administration software for the employee benefits market. Cards powered by Evolution Benefits apply advanced payment and patented auto-substantiation technologies to health-related benefits accounts such as Flexible Spending Accounts, Health Reimbursement Arrangements, and Health Savings Accounts. The Company powers the card programs of more than 340 benefit administrative services organizations and covers more than 19,000 employers in the US.

 

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