Putting Off Non-Threatening Surgery Until the End of the Year- Black Friday of Healthcare!
It's not uncommon for patients to tell us they delayed visiting with a surgeon because they just "knew" it would require a surgery they weren't prepared to pay for or recover from, when in fact surgery was not even the first or second line of recommended treatment to get them back to their normal quality of life. We actually hear quite a bit "hmm, wish I would've seen that specialist sooner."
Weighing Healthcare Costs
On the other hand, sometimes surgery is going to be recommended. We understand that in the real world of high deductible health plans - because that's where we live too - it's not always as simple as moving forward with surgery and you may have to make some tough decisions that feel unfair. We know the choice between paying your out of pocket deductible costs can force you to choose between prioritizing the non-urgent or non-life threatening health issue you hadn't planned for and maybe the family vacation you did have planned or sometimes how you will continue to make ends meet.
During surgical consultations people are asking more and more often what the risks might be with delaying a surgical procedure or even how long they could safely put it off. We understand they're looking to find the right balance... The safest choice for their health and best choice for managing their bank account. One strategy is to "get it all in" during the same deductible period, because insurance will pick up everything else after the out of pocket maximum has been met. If you can get a recommended elective or non-urgent procedure in when your deductible has been met, hopefully it will be easier for you to strike that balance. So guess what we see starting to ramp up over the next few months as everyone has paid in full for their "all you can eat" healthcare buffet?!
It's the frenzy of folks calling who have met their deductible and want to "get it in" under this year's policy period! The majority of us now have a high deductible insurance plan and since we are partial to organizing our lives around an annual calendar, most of our policies start over January 1. This isn't the case for everyone, but it is for the vast majority of people.
This "get it in by the end of the year" phenomenon as people collectively creep toward meeting their annual deductible throughout the calendar year has turned the holiday season into the "Black Friday" of healthcare. It started off small, but as high deductibles have become the new norm, the last several months of the year are an ever increasing flurry of folks rushing to get their elective procedures completed by year end. It is not uncommon for people to ask if their elective surgery can be squeezed in on Christmas Eve or even Christmas Day when they find the spots for elective surgery for the entire month of December have already been booked! (By the way, those days are typically reserved for urgent/emergent surgery that can't wait until tomorrow.)
Just like you know you don't want to wait until 10:00a.m. to head out shopping on Black Friday, you don't want to wait until November to schedule a surgical consultation for an elective or non-urgent procedure you want to get in by the end of the year. If you know you've met or will be close to meeting your deductible for the year, we will do our best to help you come Thanksgiving, but NOW is truly the time to schedule those appointments you may have been putting off.
Planning to make the most of your high deductible health plan from year to year is one of the best overall strategies for managing your out of pocket health care expense over time. In a perfect world we would promptly address all of our health care issues as they arise and that is certainly what we would recommend. In fact, partnering with an expert who is prepared to help guide you can also end up saving you a lot of money and discomfort in the long-run. Even if the decision you make is to delay a surgical procedure, our team of surgeons still want to partner with you to ensure you receive a proper diagnosis, individualized education, and the risks and benefits of expediting or delaying surgery if recommended. We look forward to partnering with you!
Blog Written by:
Administrator/Director of Nursing
CSA Surgical Center