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Groupon Healthcare: Bargain or Bad Idea?

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Groupon Healthcare: Bargain or Bad Idea?

By Anne-Marie Botek, AgingCare.com

Would you consider using an online coupon site様ike Groupon or LivingSocial葉o pay for medical care for you or an elderly loved one?

It may seem like an odd question, but many deal-a-day companies cite health care services as one of their rapidly growing offerings categories. Discounts on things like flu shots, eye exams, and dental care are becoming rapidly becoming commonplace on such sites.

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For the cash-strapped caregiver there are definite benefits to using daily deal sites to help foot a few medical expenses. 50% off an eye exam and a free pair of glasses is certainly appealing容specially when some insurance programs don’t cover everything a senior needs.

For example, neither Medicare nor Medicaid offers substantial dental or vision care coverage for elderly adults.

According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services website, things like dental care, hearing aids, and eyeglasses are usually not paid for because of the regulations that govern the parameters of coverage. However, there are certain types of Medicare Advantage plans that offer dental and vision benefits, but what is covered will vary depending on which plan a senior has.

Dental care does not come cheap. A regular check-up can cost anywhere from $75 to over $200, depending on whether a dentist does X-rays or not. This doesn’t even take into account the cost of the dentures, implants, and extractions that many seniors need as they age.

Dental discounts are among the more common health-related offerings on deal-a-day sites. Usually the coupon only applies to a cleaning and X-rays, limiting its usefulness to seniors.

Other popular coupons include discounted eye exams. A recent Groupon offered an eye exam, and contact-lens or eyeglass package at up to 72% off the original price. There are stipulations of course, the deal only applies to certain brands of contacts and eyeglass frames and must be used within several months of purchase.

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Deal-a-Day Healthcare: Bargain, or Bad Idea originally appeared on AgingCare.com.

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23 comments

+ add your own
6:14PM PDT on Oct 12, 2012

When this originally came out in March, I replied in a generic way as all I had ever seen was the vision & dental things but I as always preach due diligence with anything regarding your health or spending money. That being said, I have been out of work since 09/09 so it is imperative to watch every cent. My wife works at a hospital and knows which Dr. to use & which ones to stay away from. My cardiologist has been nagging about getting in for a visit. I know he wants to run all kinds of tests which I cannot afford right now so I've been stalling. Groupon put out a coupon last week that will get me a cardiac workup for $59. Started checking this out with my wife. Found out that the 2 cardiologists at the practice are 2 that she knows and has worked with that just broke away from a bigger practice to start their own shop and thought this would be a good way to try to drum up business. A little due diligence & now it will save me some big bucks.

5:48AM PDT on Oct 12, 2012

Thanks for the info.

7:07AM PDT on Jun 27, 2012

New lows in for-profit healthcare. It is sad that people can't afford to get their teeth cleaned, can't afford glasses to see with or a hearing-aide to help them hear.

10:40AM PDT on Mar 21, 2012

Deep discounts and short term loss leaders are not good for the health industry. We developed a solution to give the dental industry an easy way to create their own offers to attract new business. www.couponler.com gives the ability to business owners to create a coupon and share it in social media in minutes. It's a fun way to recommend a good health provider as well.

10:26PM PDT on Mar 11, 2012

dental care is SO expensive! i'd definitely use a groupon if it was for something i needed!

5:50AM PST on Mar 9, 2012

Can't afford dental care. If I saw a coupon for a check up/cleaning, I'd use it

2:26AM PST on Mar 9, 2012

Thanks.

4:02AM PST on Mar 8, 2012

Wow, dental care is so expensive in the US! I thought they said market competition was meant to drive prices down, not keep them artificially high. I don't think groupon would help - everyone knows they're scammers who give a few real deals, and the rest are inflated for the purpose of the deal (I've heard of people who've bought a deal on groupon and found out that the regular price was actually cheaper than the deal price, let alone the groupon "regular price"!)

4:36PM PST on Mar 7, 2012

Thank you.

4:25PM PST on Mar 7, 2012

Almost all industrialized nations in the world, have a national healthcare system. Why don't people stop to think, with their heads and not their emotions?

It is quite simple.
When the insurance companies don't want any particular system, it must be good for the people. They are in business for one reason, and that is to make money.

I realize that's off the subject, and I don't know much about Groupon and am thankful for the information.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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