When You Purchase Healthcare Deals on Groupon, Groupon keeps about 50% of the Cost of the Coupon. Could You Buy Direct for Less? Probably.
Groupon, MDSave and other marketing companies are selling discount-priced vouchers on bundled medical treatments and services throughout the USA. But their aggressive financial practices mire the real prices in the marketplace.
Groupon dictates the price for its deals based on the competition in the area — and then takes a substantial cut (about 50%) as a marketing fee. Groupon describes its value proposition as being a way to offer a marketplace of local services that brings affordable dental, chiropractic and eye care, among other procedures and treatments, to its more than 46 million customers daily and helps thousands of medical professional[s] advertise and grow their practices. But if a medical practice or ancillary provider can afford to have the price dictated and absorb a 50% discount, then it stands to reason that perhaps the provider could afford to sell direct-to-consumer for far less than the cost of the coupons.
One Atlanta imaging center is offering a heart CT scan for $26, a 96% discount and it sold more than 5000 of these for a total of about $130,000 of which Groupon took $65,000.
Dr Maria Todd, our Chief Transformation Officer and the personality behind AskMariaTodd™ explains that its one thing when people express amounts in percentages. to say Groupon takes 50% is enigmatic and not transparent. Say it in dollars. Groupon took $65,000 for marketing advice to an imaging center who sold 5000 heart CT scans complete with a consultation to review results at $26 apiece. The provider made $65,000 in revenue in $13 increments. That’s brilliant, but does it indicate a problem in the marketplace? Is that transparent to the buyer? What was the cost per scan+consultation if they could afford to sell them at $13 apiece for the past 7 years?
When a grocery store prices loss leaders to attract people into the store, they do so with the intention that you will buy other things. When an imaging IDTF sells a heart CT scan for $13 with a consultation, they are not really going to get other retail purchases as a side effect of coming to their independent diagnostic testing facility. Plus the curious who buy these scans are getting unnecessary radiation doses and tests their primary care or other physician did not order.
Another imaging center is offering $99 mammogram coupons. If a problem is found, these imaging centers tell the patient to go to the hospital for further evaluation. In many cases, the hospitals repeat the scan out of an “abundance of caution” because they don’t trust or recognize the radiologist and argue that the quality of the scan many be less than accurate, costing the patient the price of the repeat study.
“What’s missing in the retail-ization of healthcare is a shopping tool that can be used by consumers with job-based insurance where they can find places to purchase healthcare outside their local community and decide if they are willing to travel the distance to purchase care and services at lower prices.” SurgeryShopper.com was born from this necessity that was (and still is) missing. It continues to add providers’ transparent prices for surgery procedures to its database. It does not compare prices between providers in the USA and prices outside the USA because the two offers and situations are significantly different in many ways. To compare a hip replacement procedure between St George, Utah and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma is not the same as comparing a hip replacement surgery in Turkey or Thailand or Tunisia with a hip replacement surgery in Tallahassee or Tupelo or Temple, Texas.
SurgeryShopper’s provider network growth is rate limited by its quality criteria. That’s because it conducts site inspections of the facilities it admits for participation by qualified site inspectors with the training and experience to know what to look for and how to review clinical operations. They also conducts a review of the hotels or affiliated accommodations and the local area around both the ASC or hospital and hotel, as well as the airports, the type of aircraft used, flights frequency, and more. Many of its so-called competitors grow by email and sales webinar recruitment.