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Family Finances

Rewards for Good Behavior

Clean living scores points with this credit card.

When is using a credit card good for your health? When insurers and employers give credit-card reward points to coax you into clean living.

Bank of America has launched the first card that awards users points for healthful behavior. Earn three points for every dollar you spend on insurance co-payments and deductibles, as well as health-related purchases at hospitals, doctors' offices, gyms and sporting-goods stores. Plus, you qualify for discounts if you redeem your points for blood-pressure monitors, bicycles or other fitness gear. The card, which has no annual fee, offers rates similar to those of other Bank of America cards, which range from 9.9% to 15.99%.

Look for a card offer from your employer, not in the mailbox. The bank has partnered with health insurer Aetna and pharmacy-benefit manager Caremark Rx to make the card available to members of their plans this year. With the Caremark card, members garner extra points for buying generic drugs and ordering prescription refills online.

The average deductible for family coverage is $3,511 per year in a high-deductible health plan, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. If you paid that amount with the new card, you'd earn enough points for a digital scale (or perhaps a deep-fat fryer).