Maximize your HSA e-Newsletter
Vol. 15, Issue 9
Is Surgery Really Necessary? If So, How do you Find the Right Surgeon?
We’ve all been told at one point or another that we should “follow the doctor’s orders.” That’s all well and fine in most situations. If you fall and break a bone, the doc will know exactly how to set it, and you probably won’t be wasting too much time at night wondering whether or not they were right about that decision.
Some procedures, on the other hand, are a little more troublesome to pin down. Take neck pain as an example. There can be dozens of possible causes for neck pain, and no real way for the doctor to locate the source. They may try their best, but sooner or later they are going to recommend a surgery or procedure that is ultimately unnecessary.
In fact, it is estimated that over $210 billion is wasted each year on surgeries that never needed to happen in the first place. How much of that do you think came out of your pocket?
How to Know if Surgery is Really Necessary
We’re not trying to say that your doctor is trying to lead you astray. But with the hundreds of patients they are likely seeing weekly, you can’t count on them to be right 100% of the time. Fortunately there are some easy ways to help make sure you aren’t throwing cash out the window.
Inform Yourself About Your Healthcare Options
The real low-hanging fruit here is to simply spend some time researching your options. Learn the name of the procedure, and find out as much as you can about it. Ask your primary doctor lots of questions and insist that they spare no detail. The more you know, the more you can save. And we’re not just talking about money.
Don’t be Bullied by Your Doctor
In the chance that you do get a care professional who is a bit too overconfident in their diagnosis abilities, it is important to stand firm. They might try and convince you that they’re right, and that seeking other opinions is a waste of time. Don’t fall for it! Hold your ground and insist that you receive the necessary information about the procedure and associated costs.
Remember: keeping yourself informed is the best way to make sure that you are not overpaying for your medical care.
Always Seek a Second Opinion
Let’s face it: doctors can be intimidating. The last thing we want to do with the person in charge of our health care is disappoint them by telling them that we are seeking another opinion.
Here’s the kicker: your doctor isn’t in charge of your health care. You are. Getting a second opinion is a necessary step in determining whether or not you will actually need to go through with the recommended procedure.
In addition, doctors are not fazed by the idea of second opinions. In fact, the most trustworthy doctors out there are the ones that actually recommend that you get a second opinion. And in the age of tele-health and video consults, it is often possible to get that second opinion without even leaving your home.
Go Out-Of-Area for your Second Opinion
Some studies have found that many of the most common medical procedures are performed the same way and have the same associated costs across specific areas. What this means is that going across town for another opinion might not do you much good. Look for doctors that are farther away to see how things are being done in a different neck of the woods.
Insist on Having the “Price Conservation”
When a doctor tells you that they think you need a particular surgery, the very first thing that pops into your head is, “How much is this going to cost?”
And yet, we rarely feel confident enough to pose this question to the doctor. Don’t be afraid to have the talk about price (before the procedure). Find out what your provider is charging as well as what you will be on the hook for out of pocket. It will go a long way in helping you get an idea of what a fair price might be.
Make Sure Your Surgeon is In-Network (Or Look Into Healthcare Sharing Programs)
If you are in the process of talking to multiple healthcare specialists about a procedure that you might need in the near future, chances are that you’re going to find one you like that isn’t in your plan’s network.
If this is the case, it is possible to see any doctor that you’d like with certain healthcare sharing programs. Finding out about these programs, as well as comparing your current plan to other options, is as easy as reaching out to your Personal Benefits Manager.
Call today for a fast and easy consultation.
To your health and wealth,
Wiley P. Long III
President – HSA for America
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