The number of uninsured Americans may be high, but their ability to save money on medical procedures has never been easier. For years, insurers have been raising rates on coverage claiming that the cost of medical care is spiraling out of control. All states are required to build health insurance exchanges – virtual marketplaces where consumers can find affordable insurance coverage – but these programs are still two years from being enacted in most states. For those without insurance, a new way to obtain medical care at a low price is gaining popularity.
Daily deal sites like Groupon and Living Social have begun adding coupons for medical procedures to their daily offerings. In Columbus, Ohio, for instance, Groupon was offering a discount for laser pain treatments and spinal-decompression. These procedures can easily cost more than $600. With Gourpon’s deal, however, it cost a scant $50. These are unprecedented savings in a market that has become infamous for outrageous prices. Consumers in need of medical treatment may find it troublesome to wait for a good deal to come around, however.
Consumers may find these sites a viable way to get the treatment they need, but it is still not a good replacement for insurance coverage. Groupon and Living Social do not offer deals for things like heart surgery or trips to the emergency room. In case of disaster, insurance continues to be the best way to offset the costs of medical care.