Thanks to discount services like Groupon, Living Social and Wimgo Deals, I have tried new restaurants, attended events I didn’t know about — and wasted $20 on something I thought I would be really into.
For some folks, though — i.e. the 693,000 uninsured Oklahomans — these discount websites can mean access to health care services that they might not normally have access to.
This thought crossed my mind after I saw today’s Wingo Deal for a heart scan for $17. (Disclaimer: The same company that owns The Oklahoman also owns Wimgo)
There are some hospitals in Oklahoma City that offer heart scans for $50. The Wimgo Deal claims the services you get for $17 are worth $495.
Contact lenses and dental implants have also been featured discounts. I went without eye insurance for about a year. I wear contacts and glasses, and I ended up using a coupon in the back of a phone book to get new contact lenses.
An Associated Press story about this same topic quotes a small business owner who canceled his health insurance plan because of high premiums:
NEW YORK — The last time Mark Stella went to the dentist he didn’t need an insurance card. Instead, he pulled out a Groupon.
Stella, a small business owner, canceled his health insurance plan more than three years ago when his premium rose to more than $400 a month. He considered himself healthy and decided that he was wasting money on something that he rarely used.
So when a deal popped up on daily deals site Groupon for a teeth cleaning, exam and an X-ray at a nearby dentist, Stella, 55, bought the deal — which the company calls a “Groupon” — for himself and another for his daughter. He paid $39 for each, $151 below what the dentist normally charges.
This discussion obviously leads to a larger conversation about the price of health care in America. The Washington Post has an interesting interactive graphic on its website that compares U.S. health care costs to what people pay in France, Germany, Spain and Switzerland and also in Argentina, Canada, Chile and India. You should take a look at it — and let me know if you have used any of these discount sites for something health related.