Followup - Humana's hearing aid prices

HearWHAC hearwhac at
Mon Sep 15 14:01:54 EST 1997

Jeffrey Sirianni wrote:

> I once signed on with a medical supplement plan (via my credit card)
> that offered
> discounts on eyeglasses.  <snip a whole bunch of good stuff>  Needless
> to say I didn't sign up for another year
> on that plan which ran me $40 a year.....

Blue Cross/Blue Shield once did that sort of thing in Iowa. (They may
still do.) My Mother was purchasing her prescription drugs from a
Walgreens that was located about two blocks from her home. They were not
listed in the BC/BS plan, so she went to a pharmacy that was listed.
Even with the "20%" discount, her prescriptions were going to cost her
more money under the "BC/BS sponsored" plan! I know one hearing aid
dispenser who participated in the BC/BS plan who unbundled his prices
for BC/BS members only and their hearing aids ended up costing about the
same as his regular price. (One of his employees who did the paper work
for him later worked for me.)

If you advertise a 20% discount on hearing aids to members of certain
groups or organizations, wouldn't it be unethical to not extend that
discount off of your usual and customary price (the one you charge
everybody else)?

Unfortunately, anybody who is any good at math at all can show you the
huge leverage involved in your gross profit when you reduce the gross
price of your product as little as 10%! You are most likely operating at
a loss and may not even realize it. This is the kind of math that is
taught in business graduate school programs.

I heard my Father say many times that the only time a dispenser sells
hearing aids at discount prices is when they first come into the
business and just before they exit it. There's a lot of truth in that.

Paul Woodard ;-)

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