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Apr 09, 2014

Who doesn’t love the thrill of saving money? Getting deals is like a professional sport to many Americans and Groupon has proven that we love discounts on just about anything: massages, carpet cleaning, guitar lessons, hot air balloon rides, vacations, etc., etc. 

But, what about healthcare? Gone are the days when our insurance plans cover every need in our family – even with good insurance coverage, some things just slip through the cracks. However, most Americans don’t think about getting discounts on health care stuff. 

There are some REAL savings to be had with a health discount card – a good one will pay for itself many times over with the savings you’ll get. 

In an earlier article, I answered 10 in-depth questions about health discount cards. Below, I’ll answer 3 basic questions about discount cards and then give a few real-life examples….

How does a discount card work?

Think about a Costco membership. If I’m a discount card member, the participating providers agree to give me a discount on procedures or products like dental/vision exams, root canal, braces, contacts, glasses, prescriptions, lab work, MRIs, diabetic supplies, etc. These discounts are ONLY given to you because you have a discount card. This is different from a coupon because you can use it as many times as needed.  

Why do discount cards exist?

These discount cards are another form of marketing. Every day, health providers advertise to get you in their door. Instead of paying for more advertising, these providers agree to be part of a network and give a discount because of the huge member-base and consistent sales volume being sent their way. So, like a Costco membership, they pass along significant savings to their members rather than paying more advertising dollars.

What kind of discount can I expect?

The discount will often be stated as a range, such as “20-60% savings”. As you’re considering a discount card, it’s important to know the average discount. If a discount card claims “5-50% savings” but the average is 15% off, that’s much less valuable than a card whose average of 35% off. Many networks may not want to give you this number, but it’s necessary to consider when making a decision. The better discount cards are able to negotiate average discounts of 30% or better. Depending on what services are included you should be able to find a solid discount plan for under $15 a month for your family. There are many free discount card options, but as with anything, you get what you pay for. 

Click here to learn more about how dental/vision discounts work. 

Click here to learn more about how prescription discounts work.

How does it really work?

 1) Dental

Connie broke a molar and was shocked her first estimate would be $5,500. She used her discount card to get a second opinion at a different dentist who gave a much more conservative diagnosis. Even then, the cost without the card was $3,520. When she gave the receptionist her discount card, Connie learned that the new price was $1,487. As a result of having and using her health discount card, she saved $2,033.

2) Vision

Jackie needed new glasses for her mom. She went to Walmart, back to Sears, and then to Target and got the best price there using her discount card – she saved $110. She notes that the discount she received with her discount card was better than her AAA and health insurance member discounts.

3) Prescriptions

John has excellent insurance through his employer. However, he has a higher deductible medical plan which means every January he has to pay 100% of his family’s prescription costs out of pocket until he hit his $5,000 deductible. He has a maintenance medication that costs $320 for a 90-day prescription through his insurance. With his discount card, he gets the exact same drug for a fraction of the cost: $31.60 for a 90-day supply. He notes that he can search his local pharmacies to ensure he’s getting the lowest price available. One pharmacy had his drug for $69 while the pharmacy across the street offered it for $31.60. He says he couldn’t afford to take this medication if he was restricted to only using his insurance card – his discount card makes it possible to maintain his health.

Now, the only question is: what will you do with all that money you save? 

It’s your turn. Do you have a health discount card? Did you find it useful or not? Did you save money or not?


Heidi has a passion for helping busy families control their healthcare dime, time and peace of mind! She writes articles to do just that, while keeping it fun and simple for her readers! She also speaks on healthcare issues and is the owner of

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Tanya Boyd
Tanya Boyd
President of Tanya Boyd & Associates

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