Groupon for health care (and LivingSocial and LifeBooker)

Filed Under: Costs, Patients, Providers

We knew that Groupon, the group buying service, had ventured into the world of medical care.

What surprised us was that the emergency care service offered here by a New York City clinic costs $70… with medications, X-rays and lab tests not included.

The value is $150, Groupon tells us, and it’s a 53 percent discount — but it’s no longer available. Groupon says 32 people bought. If you know of anyone who did, e-mail us! info [at] clearhealthcosts [dot] com.

The Groupon group buying experience, of course, uses a membership model to bring offers of discounted experiences to groups of customers. It seems more common in discounted restaurant meals and the like, from both large and small businesses, provided a certain number of people sign up to buy.

Health-care providers, of course, are interested in reaching new customers. Customers without insurance — presumably they are the people who are buying medical services on Groupon, LivingSocial, ScoutMob, LifeBooker and so on — are also heavy users of group buying sites. So, group buying of health care: a match made in heaven.

Cash up front is a good thing for these providers, and it can be good for the purchasers as well. Dental care, discounted eye exams and the like, may be much needed and greatly appreciated at $59 instead of the insured price of $300 or so.

Also we notice that LifeBooker, which emphasizes health, beauty and waxing or fitness, has started to offer gynecological exams along with its other offers. They come by infrequently, but they’re there. (LifeBooker is currently only in New York and Los Angeles). Among the other offers: a $3 morning workout, a $12 pass to the Russian and Turkish baths, $12 Beer Garden Tuesdays, $99 laser hair removal and $4,250 breast augmentation (that’s 50 percent off) — in addition to the HCG weight loss injection plan (bottom), which we are definitely avoiding.

What’s interesting: it’s not just discretionary stuff (teeth whitening, breast augmentation, waxing) but real medical treatment (emergency care, gynecological exams).

Do you have experience with group buys on medical or related services? Write us: info [at] clearhealthcosts [dot] com.