Did you know that the cost of surgeries--both inpatient and outpatient--vary among hospitals and doctors? Even if you are insured, shopping around for the best price while still obtaining quality care can mean a lower coinsurance payment for you. Learn how to shop around for your next surgery in order to save thousands of dollars both in the United States and outside of the United States (medical tourism).
Things You Will Need
Information on the type of surgery you need
Time to shop around; you cannot shop around if you have an emergency
Step 1Begin by gathering information on the exact type of surgery that you will require. The more specific you are, the better equipped you will be when speaking with various hospitals and clinics.
Step 2Next, if you have health insurance, call your provider and ask what your copayment and coinsurance costs will be for this surgery or procedure (those without health insurance can skip this step). For example, on my health insurance policy, I would have to pay $150 per day for an inpatient surgery (up to 5 days, and then afterwards there is no copayment), and I am responsible for 20% of the total bill while my insurance company will pay for 80% of the procedure.
Step 3Ask your doctor which clinic, hospital, or center they recommend for your procedure. Add this to a list. Type your procedure into google and find other local hospitals, centers, and clinics that perform this type of procedure. Get the contact number for their billing department, or financial counselor. If you cannot find this information on the internet, get a general number and ask to be put through to one of these contacts. You can further research this information by going to New Choice Health where you can comparison shop without having to call anyone.
If you feel comfortable, look outside of the United States as well for having your surgery or procedure. This is commonly referred to as medical tourism, and can result in substantially lowered costs for you. Check out sites like Healism.com and the Medical Tourism Association to get quotes from different countries for common procedures.
Step 5If all else fails, you can negotiate with your doctors. First of all, ask them to reduce their price for you if you are uninsured. Even if you are insured, you can ask them to lower your copayment. Offer to pay cash and you will most likely receive a discount. Work out a payment plan with the hospital, center, or clinic. When I shopped around for a hernia operation, the variance in prices was astounding. One center's estimated cost was $16,100 while another was $5,400! Both places were licensed with reputable professionals, offering the same service. It is definitely to your benefit to shop around and find the best deal and the best quality for what you need.
Tips & Warnings
Make sure to look at hospitals, clinics, and centers outside of the city as these typically have lower costs for procedures.
If you comparison shop and are insured, make sure the locations you call accept your health insurance.
If you need the procedure or surgery immediately, do not wait or comparison shop.
Many hospitals have applications you can fill out for emergency health insurance. If you find yourself in an emergency, once you are well enough, ask your doctor and nurses about this.