By Anne-Marie Botek, AgingCare.com
Would you consider using an online coupon site—like Groupon or LivingSocial—to 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.
Filling the cavities in coverage
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—especially 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.
Deal-a-Day Healthcare: Bargain, or Bad Idea originally appeared on AgingCare.com.