NEW YORK — The last time Mark Stella went to the dentist he didn’t need an insurance card. Instead, he pulled out a Groupon.

Stella, a small business owner, canceled his health insurance plan more than three years ago when his premium rose to more than $400 a month.

So when a deal popped up on daily deals site Groupon for a teeth cleaning, exam and an X-ray at a nearby dentist, Stella, 55, bought the deal for himself and another for his daughter. He paid $39 for each, $151 below what the dentist normally charges.

Daily deal sites, best known for offering discounts at restaurants and spas, are increasingly going into more serious territory selling discounted health care in the form of coupons for dental work, eye exams and even medical checkups.

Obama delays request for debt limit increase

HONOLULU — President Barack Obama is delaying his request for another $1.2 trillion increase in the nation’s debt limit at the request of congressional leaders.

It’s basically because of a technicality.

The White House had been ready to ask for the increase Friday because the government is within $100 billion of exhausting its current borrowing authority. Congress would then have 15 days to reject the request, though Obama would veto any objections in order to ensure that the government does not default on its obligations.

But with Congress not due to return to Washington until mid-January, lawmakers asked Obama to delay his request so they would be in session during the 15-day window period allowed for objections.

Treasurys end as one of best investments

NEW YORK — Treasurys outdid almost all other investments in 2011, despite a historic downgrade of the U.S. government’s debt rating in the summer.

Investors flocked to the safety of U.S. Treasurys after being alarmed by worries that Greece or other European nations would default on their debt. As the euro zone debt crisis intensified, U.S. debt was the safest place to park cash for large investors.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year note fell to 1.67 percent in September, the lowest on record.

The 10-year note started the year at 3.35 percent and closed the year Friday at 1.88 percent.

The 30-year bond yield finished 2011 at 2.89 percent, after starting the year at 4.5 percent.

Compiled from wire reports

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