Groupon Cashing In On America’s Health Care Crisis

Groupon Cashing In On America’s Health Care Crisis

>>As we know, private insurance is difficult
to deal with, and many Americans either don’t have private insurance, or they’re dealing
with a private insurer that refuses to authorize treatments that they need. So, capitalism works in funny ways. Now we have Groupon offering discounts and
coupons for various medical procedures. This was reported recently in the, so the
Kaiser Family Foundation publishes some news articles. They published something on this as well. And so, I want to show you a quick screenshot. It kind of gives you an idea of what some
of these groupons look like. And in this case, it’s for an x-ray. And the journalist, Kaiser Health news reported
this, Laurin Weber wrote this piece and she writes, Crown Valley Imaging in Mission Viejo,
California has been selling Groupon deals for services including heart scans, and full
body CT scans since February of 2017. Despite what Crown Valley’s president Sami
Beydoun called out the aggressive financial practices. According to him, Groupon dictates the price
for its deals based on the competition in the area, and then takes a substantial cut. So, okay, I mean, I don’t really have anything
to say about Groupon’s business practices, but I do have a lot to say about the fact
that people are relying on coupons in order to get some of the screenings that they need. By the way, I just want to note, for all the
people on the right who want to defund Planned Parenthood, when I was younger and did not
have health insurance, I went to Planned Parenthood when I found a lump in my breast. And they saw me for free. And there are people who rely on Planned Parenthood
for way more than reproductive health. So, just something to keep in mind-
>>Men and women as well. Men are welcome at Planned Parenthood, and
you can go get an STD screening, no matter who you are at Planned Parenthood.>>Yeah, Brittany Swanson who works in the
front office at OutPatient Imaging in the Buckhead neighborhood of Atlanta, said she
has seen hundreds of customers come through the center with Groupons for mammograms, body
scans and other screenings. And this is something that’s becoming more
and more widespread. It’s just something that people are turning
to because that’s what healthcare is in America.>>We need Medicare for all, that’s the bottom
line.>>Yes.>>We need universal, I just performed in
Canada this past weekend and Canadians are better laughers. You know why? Cuz they’re not worried about what happens
to them if they get hit by a truck.>>That’s right.>>Because they have health care.>>How much freer you live when you can actually
take care of your health and body and your loved ones. And just live your life and not have to worry
about getting sick or getting hurt. and it’s years ago I remember seeing Groupons for plastic
surgery, and all these other procedures, and I kind of laughed it off thinking do you really
want to spend that money? You might end up with an implant on the side
of your head, or something weird like that. And now seeing this, the fact that people
are getting mammograms using Groupons. They’re getting actual health procedures that
are necessary. It just speaks to how broken our system is. And I think it’s great that people can access
this, but it should not be this way.>>And it’s not just about the discount that
you get through the Groupons. I mean obviously, there’s a marketing aspect
to this, maybe someone has a private practice and wants to get some more patients through
the door. But there’s also one other point that I wanted
to make about how these procedures and these screenings are priced. There is no set price, right? So, you can go to one doctor’s office and
a mammogram can cost you, I don’t know I’m just going to thrown a number out there, $500. Then, you go with different doctor’s office
and they charge $2,000. You have no idea, and there’s no transparency
upfront. I mean, I remember getting so many surprise
bills. When I had a health scare and I thought all
right I paid my deductible, right? High deductible was paid out of pocket, there’s
no way I’m gonna have to pay more. And then, a month later I get a bill for $419
from the lab, right.>>Yes.>>So, these are the types of non transparent,
opaque issues that we deal with when we go see a doctor. So, when you have a Groupon that tells you
all right, you’re gonna get a mammogram for $99. There is a little bit of peace of mind knowing
I’m just gonna pay that $99, and I don’t have to deal with the rest.>>By the way whenever I use a Groupon at
a restaurant, I always get side eye from the waiter.>>Me too.>>And so, what’s gonna happen if I use a
Groupon for an actual health scare, is the doctor gonna be, you’re a cheap bastard. I’m gonna phone in this procedure.>>It is weird that that happens, because
the restaurant, and in this case, the doctor’s offices make these deals with Groupon.>>Exactly.>>They don’t like it.>>So it’s like, what do you expect? And something that a lot of people may not
know, but you kind of have the option to it. Some of these providers will actually negotiate
with you. If you can pay cash.>>And not go through insurance.>>Insurance, yeah. And so, that’s something you want to discuss
too, that’s an option because insurance providers, it’s a lot of paper work on their behalf,
and they have to wait months and months. So if you can pay right then and there, there’s
some negotiation there, so there are options, but again, it should not be this way.>>Definitely, and also don’t be afraid to
ask your doctor how much things cost before they actually start running tests and labs. If they’re being wishy washy on it, then that’s
a huge red flag. But I’ve just kinda learned to just right
up front say, hey, I need to know how much this cost before you do it. Because you don’t wanna be hit with all these
surprise bills. It’s just, I don’t know, it’s devastating. This is what we’re dealing with in one of
the richest countries in the world.

7 thoughts on “Groupon Cashing In On America’s Health Care Crisis

  1. Waiter is probably giving you the side eye because so many people don't tip based on the full price of the meal as they should, but on the discounted price.

  2. Ana Kasparian….About your suggestion that patients should start asking doctors "how much" a certain procedure/medication/etc is, and doctors who won't provide the prices are dodgy…. 

    I am a retired RN. Here are the problems with what you (and many "free market libertarians" suggest)
    1.) Direct patient care providers (for the most part) have NO IDEA how much things cost. Insisting that they tell the patients they are treating how much each pill, procedure, medical equipment, specialist consults, IV tubing, enema, syringe, etc before the care is administered would essentially grind this hypothetical hospital unit to a halt. Care providers would spend 90% of their time trying to chase down accurate pricing information to pass onto the patient

    2.) In many cases, patients may be unconscious, grievously injured and/or on the edge of death. How are they supposed to inquire about pricing? Should doctors stop administering life saving treatment and start making phone calls to find out how much everything will cost? Only to then pass on this information to an unconscious patient who has significantly deteriorated while the doctor was "price checking"? Say the patient is still conscious and they don't like the price the doctor quoted for the 4 pints of blood that is the only thing standing between the patient and death? What then? If the patient says they can't afford it, would the providers have to let the person die?

    3.) Pricing in hospitals is NEVER consistent….prices change depending on which insurance the patient has (or doesn't have), which company supplies equipment/meds, etc, who the doctor is, what unit the patient is in, the patient's "status" (re: outpatient, observation, outpatient in a bed,
    inpatient, rooming in…..etc etc etc), the severity of the patient's condition, etc etc etc

    These are just the tip of the iceberg re: why asking doctors/nurses/providers about how much things cost is a bad idea.

    There are other possibilities re: price transparency that can achieve the goal of price control:
    In Japan, the government sets the price for every procedure, pill, equipment charge, nursing care, etc etc. This information is readily accessible to EVERY person who uses Japan's healthcare system. Let's say, for example, you need an arm x-ray. The procedure will cost the SAME in every single medical facility within Japan.

    They could also "bundle" the price of care (but that can even get tricky because every person is unique and has unique needs.

    Again….tip of the iceberg

  3. Yeah. Our system is broken. I'm fairly certain that I broke my arm in a fall down some stairs several months ago, but I didn't go to the E.R. or to the doctor. I just couldn't afford it. I was still paying off an expensive E.R., hospital stay, and surgery from about 4 months prior to that and I didn't want any more medical bills. I wasn't 100% sure that I broke my arm, so I decided to wait and see if it started to heal on its own. Stupid? Maybe. Probably. Months later, my arm is mostly healed, and it didn't cost me everything I had in savings. All it cost me was a little bit of range of motion and strength. I wish I lived in a country in which I was more afraid of a (potentially) broken arm than of crippling medical debt.

    Is there a Groupon for arm X-rays?

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