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Barter group launches health plan

Phoenix Business Journal by Christine Harvey, Phoenix Business Journal
Date: Tuesday, September 20, 2011, 6:40am MST

A new health care solutions plan allows more than 2,100 businesses in Arizona to purchase medical and dental spending programs for their employees — with no cash out of pocket.

Created by the Value Card Alliance, an Arizona-based commercial barter group, the flex spending plan gives its members access to more than 200 medical specialists across the state by way of bartering.

Bartering, the trading of goods and services without the exchange of money, is becoming a common practice in Arizona, according to local experts.

“We bring our members a client they may have never had and then help them use those dollars to pay for things they would otherwise pay for in cash — payroll, employee benefits, etc.,” said Christie Acevedo, CEO of the Value Card Alliance.

Companies that sign up for a free membership with the alliance may exchange their goods or services with other members in return for “virtual dollars,” which in turn may be used to purchase the new medical and dental flex plan.

The plan provides employees and up to five dependents each with a health care card that grants them access to an online system containing a directory of specialists, health care recommendations and storage for uploading medical files.

Acevedo said the online component took about a year to develop and is crucial to the overall plan, because it allows employees to go online to track the use of their medical plan.

The plan went into effect on Sept. 12.

Original Article Here

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Cindy Rarig

"Value Card is amazing. I have been a member of other barter companies and I can tell you none compare with VCA. When we built our house 5 years ago we used barter instead of cash for Landscaping, garage cabinets, epoxy floors in our garage, we put hard wood floors in 2 of our rooms and we painted our entire house. We also put custom framed mirrors in all of our bathrooms. We not only loved using barter for building our home, but we use it on a daily basis for every day maintenance of our home. We us barter to pay for our landscaper, pool maintenance, and dry cleaning. We also love to use barter for personal maintenance like manicures, pedicures, hair extensions, hair cuts, hair color and tanning. I have been with Value Card for about 7 years and I absolutely love it. Christmas is the best time of all, I try to do all of my Christmas shopping through them. Last year I bought my daughter a beautiful high end guitar at the Christmas show. The most important thing I have ever gotten through VCA is advertising. It really works and I have turned barter dollars into hard cash doing it. The best thing about VCA is the customer service. Any time I need anything they are there to help me. I really can’t think of one thing I have needed that they weren’t able to get for me. If you are considering VCA I promise you it will be one of the best decisions you ever make."
Cindy Rarig,
Designer Art Direct