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If the doctor’s offer seems too good to be true, it probably is

By Dr Alfred Murage | February 11th 2021

Are you familiar with the phrase ‘buy one get one free’? This is a common marketing gimmick that entices consumers to purchase stuff that they didn’t really need in the first place.

True, you’ll sometimes find an offer that turns out to be a good bargain, but that’s uncommon. You should always think twice before spending your money on offers that appear too good at face value.

Healthcare isn’t spared of marketing gimmicks either. Whenever there are business downturns, healthcare service providers go into a promotional frenzy, with all sorts of offers meant to catch your custom.

You may find ads for free consults, discounted rates for various tests, special rates for general health screening, and much, much more. The implication is you are getting valuable healthcare at a bargain, or even for free. Well, that’s not always the case.

Some healthcare promotional offers are well meaning. It might be a specific cancer month, as normally designated by the World Health Organisation (WHO). If you find offers to update your cancer screening, and you are due for an update, go ahead and take up such offers.

And get others to come along too. Such opportunities can be beneficial to the overall health of individuals and communities. The effort might end up being time well spent, with some savings to boot if the discounted rates were substantial.

But there are other healthcare promotional offers that won’t end up benefitting your health in any way. You will commonly find ads for ill-focused healthcare endeavours that are mostly unnecessary. A typical example is non-targeted general health screening, aimed at picking out ‘something’, all at unbelievable discounts.

You’ll find yourself bombarded with all sorts of tests, and reviews, and what nots. Your discounted bills will add up, and you won’t be any healthier than when you took up the offer.

At the end of the day, all that was wasted efforts on your part, but profits for the healthcare provider who promoted the offer to you. If you find yourself enticed by a healthcare offer, think twice before spending your time, and even some of your money, pursuing the offer. Check what the offer is all about. Is it a healthcare service that you actually need?

Or is it an attempt to catch your attention, and waste your time doing something completely worthless? Is there a hidden cost?

There might be a true discount for an aspect of the offer, which then leads to additional well-crafted interventions that end up costing you loads.

Who knows, you might even end up with some complications, or even drop dead, all in the pursuit of a seemingly sweet healthcare deal.

Dr Alfred Murage is a Consultant Gynecologist and Fertility Specialist
am[email protected]

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