Is There a Hospital Cash Card in Your Wallet?

What is a Hospital Cash Card?

The other day I received a letter from my credit union telling me that they would pay for two months of the premium if I signed up for a hospital cash card. The advertisement was very compelling. After all, if I could get coverage for my family that would pay up to $400 for each day we were in the hospital if (God forbid) anything went wrong and it would cost me less than $20 a month, why not? Of course, I had to dig further. What exactly is a hospital cash card? Would it really pay? This is what I found out...

The Fine Print

The first thing I noticed when reading the fine print was that the hospital cash card doesn't cover all hospital stays -- just the ones caused by accidents. Now don't get me wrong, coverage of up to $400 a day paid directly to me for less than $20 a month is still enticing, even if it only covers accidents. But I still wanted to dig a little deeper.

More Fine Print

As I was reading through the terms of the hospital cash card, I was getting pretty excited. The card would pay $100 if I had an outpatient emergency room visit, $200 per day if I was hospitalized and $400 per day if I was in intensive care (for up to 365 days). However, once I realized benefits for my wife and kids weren't the same as they were for me, it took some of the air out of my balloon.

Yes, if I go to the ER I would get $100 and if I was hospitalized I'd get $200 or $400 per day depending on how bad the accident was. However, my wife would only get $50 for an emergency room visit and my kids? The hospital cash card would only provide us with $20.

If my children were in intensive care due to an accident, the benefit would only be $80 per day as opposed to the $400 per day I had originally thought the hospital cash card would provide. While it's better than nothing, it's still not the deal I thought it was. Then, to make matters worse, I found out that having this coverage could actually affect my eligibility for benefits through my regular medical insurance policy.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is this -- a hospital cash card may be a good thing, but don't believe all the hype. First, find out exactly what is covered and then compare that to what it will cost you to have the card. Then contact your insurance company (if you have insurance) to find out exactlty how a medical cash card would affect your benefits.

If all weighs out well, you may want to consider it. For $20 a month it might be worth it to you. However, be very careful you aren't wasting money, especially if a medical cash card is going to affect your primary insurance benefits. Then it might cost you more in the long run than you think. Weigh your options VERY carefully.

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