Slice of Life Medical Journal
Local hospitals are experiencing an overload of extreme couponers making their way to the Emergency Room to cash in on discounts.
“We have at least 20 more patients a day than usual,” George Mackey, an Emergency Room doctor at Mercy West Hospital in Cleveland, said. “They come in with binders in hand and medical requests ready. It’s actually kind of annoying but you know, we’re professionals, we deal with nuts all the time, just not at this capacity.”
The couponers have been coming with coupons ranging from $50 off stitches to free kidney transplants.
“I brought in five $100 dollars off coupons for any injury which requires a cast,” Andrea Finley, an extreme couponer said. “With my insurance and the coupons, I had them cast my broken arm and my son’s and then I got $20 back.”
When asked how they received their injuries, Finley only had three words.
“With a hammer,” Finley said. “Those coupons were going to expire within the month. So I told my son Toby to get the hammer because we’re cashing in.”
Finley admitted it was painful but just like beauty, sometimes cash comes with pain.
“The worst part was waiting for ambulance to come,” Finley said. “But with my buy one get one free coupon for riding the ambulance, we paid half price.”
However even after Finley’s arm was tended to, she was not through yet.
“I told them I’m not leaving the hospital until they take out one of my kidneys,” Finley said. “There is a $10,000 off coupon for a kidney operation and with my insurance’s double coupon policy, I get $20,000 off. So I told them to take one out. I don’t need both to live.”
After this trip to the hospital, Finley will not be back for at least another six months.
“I will be spending my time eating all the junk food and candy I can find,” Finley said. “I have a gastric bypass surgery coupon I have to use up by the end of this year. Who knows, if I can get my hands on a few more, I might have enough for my whole family.”
Another extreme couponer Brian Jeffries came into Mercy West's ER with a gunshot wound to his left thigh.
“It was self-inflicted but worth it all since I’m getting $300 off the stitches and another $200 if they dig out the bullet,” Jeffries said.
Although the bullet was taken out without any other complications, Jeffries requested the doctors to place a breathing tube down his throat.
“I get $50 back with the ten breathing tube coupons I have collected,” Jeffries said. “Even if it takes all night, I will not leave until they shove that tube down my throat. I mean it’s $50 who wouldn’t take advantage of it?”
Jeffries remembers a time when a trip to the hospital would break the bank but now he can make frequent trips and get the bang for his buck.
“I use to make one trip a year to the hospital and it would take me all the next year to pay off the visit. Now I can make weekly trips and receive cash back,” Jeffries said. “It’s all about doing your research and knowing the prime season for injuries.”
Jeffries spends seven hours a day looking for medical coupons and has highlighted his calendar for monthly discounts at his local doctors and hospitals.
“Next week I’ll be traveling down the road to Saint Anthony’s Hospital. They’re offering discounted prostrate exams and I have a coupon for 75 percent off,” Jeffries said. “Guess who will be making another $10 next week?”
Mercy West and many other area hospitals are now considering adding an extra ward just for couponers.
“We figure we’ll just add on to our psych ward and place all our interns on duty in that area of the hospitals,” Mackey said. “I mean no real doctor actually wants to work on these patients and they’ll give the interns plenty of practice.”