NOW THAT’S FUNNY
You may have used Groupon or other coupon sites to get a good deal on a facial, or to try a new restaurant. Now you can use it to pay for your medical care, too.
The uninsured, and the underinsured, have discovered that these coupon sites offer deals not just on karate lessons or hotel rooms, they also offer deep discounts on Lasik eye surgery, dental care, and a range of other healthcare services. This only makes sense, as healthcare costs keep rising, adequate medical coverage is hard for many people to get, and let’s face it – America loves a coupon! It was just a matter of time before coupons and the medical profession got together.
Doctors have been forced into discounting their services for many years due to managed care. When I read the Explanation of Benefits from my insurance company, it tells me that my pediatrician charged $350 for my son’s annual checkup, but the insurance company only “allows” $270. The doctor has already accepted a bargain price for his services … so what’s the difference whether the discount is through Blue Cross or Groupon?
So far the most popular offerings for discounted medical treatments are dental work, eye exams, chiropractic care and basic medical checkups. According to EmaxHealth, a patient in Newport Beach, California, took advantage of a coupon offer for a Lasik procedure for $2,100, avoiding the $4,000 he would have normally been charged. The operation was a success, the patient now has 20/20 vision, and he wrote a great review of the doctor on Yelp.
I can think of many other surgeries that might get popular on Groupon:
- This week only: Rhinoplasty … 20% off!
- Colonoscopies … we’ll check you out without cleaning you out!
- Breast Augmentation – Buy One, Get One Free!
Of course, getting your healthcare via coupon sites could have its drawbacks. You don’t want to doctor-hop: it’s best to have consistent care with the same doctor or dentist whom you know and trust. But the absurdly high cost of medical insurance is leaving us consumers with lots of hard choices. When I start to get chest pains, should I call 911? Or should I surf Groupon first to see if I can get a coupon on a stent?