Gift cards for insurance copayments

Find out whether gift cards are acceptable for insurance co-pays.

Q: I sometimes give patients gift cards for $50 off their next visit to my practice if they refer two new patients to me. One patient to whom I recently gave a gift card was concerned that her insurance company wouldn't consider it acceptable to use it for a copayment. Is there anything to that?

A: That is a contract issue, and it might likely be a conflict, so read your contract with that payer to be sure. Co-pays are in place to prevent over-utilization, so that would be the conflict that the insurer might cite. However, the likelihood of that becoming known to the insurer and causing a problem is pretty low.