Savvy consumers know to shop around, read reviews, and consider all the options. Whether you’re looking to save money, find the best warranty, or read customer feedback, it helps keep you in the know. And as we learned in school, knowledge is power.
This seems obvious when shopping for Christmas presents, a new car, or the latest technology. But when it comes to medical issues, many of us consider our doctor’s word to be law. We don’t ask questions about alternative treatment, medication side-effects, or surgical options. If you’ve been told surgery is in the cards, step back and consider your many self-directed options.
For those with standard medical insurance, it may feel odd to shop around within the approved network. But one report showed that “56 percent of Americans tried to find price information before receiving health care; 59 percent opted for a less expensive alternative when they compared prices.” Many people, however, simply go to the surgeon first indicated by their primary care physician.
Industry experts go on to say that “Another reason people may not be so eager to shop around when it comes to care: cheaper services may not be covered by the shopper’s insurance. And then there’s the nagging worry about whether the cheaper care is less effective than treatment at a more expensive facility—that old bugaboo about ‘you get what you pay for’ can discourage people from trying, as can the fear factor of risking treatment with a doctor or a facility the patient doesn’t know, compared with one that’s familiar.”
Taking charge is more than OK, it’s becoming the new normal. “Self-directed care services, often referred to as consumer-directed services, is a philosophy and practice that assumes that [patients] have the right and ability to assess their own needs, determine how and by whom those needs are met, and evaluate the quality of the services they receive,” explain patient advocates. Thanks to outpatient surgical centers like Longview’s Pacific Surgical Center (PSC), anyone in the market for orthopedic, urology, gastroenterology, podiatry, and general surgery can find award-winning care with clearly posted pricing and a friendly, knowledgeable staff.
At PSC, team members will work with your personal physician to determine the best overall course of treatment. They even have financial counselors available to explain costs and help prevent sticker shock. You could even find that paying cash is cheaper than the patient portion of billing your insurance.
One example can be seen with a fairly routine procedure: knee arthroscopy. At PSC, this costs less than $4000. In a hospital setting, such a procedure would typically run nearly $25,000. Even if you have excellent insurance coverage, your financial responsibility—after deductible, coinsurance, and copayments—could be well over PSC’s total outpatient charge.
Self-directed care also means getting to choose your physician. You can read about PSC’s medical team on their website and then request a specialist directly. Their doctors are board-certified, experienced, up-to-date on the latest techniques, and backed by dedicated nurses and support staff.
When you’re ready to take control, self-directed care is relatively easy. The experts at U.S. News and World Report have compiled a list of five simple steps to help you find the best deal:
- Know your network (for those billing insurance)
- Start with online tools (like the Healthcare Bluebook)
- Call the provider (get estimates in writing)
- Contact your insurer (how much of the estimate will they pay?)
- Remember, price isn’t your only concern (read reviews)
Then decide what’s right for you. When you’re ready, PSC can help with billing insurance or Medicare, set up financial counseling, and work with your personal doctor to get you on the road to recovery. As they promise: “We provide you with the highest level of personalized attention and we’re totally focused on your individual needs. We customize our surgical care to be the most effective and appropriate for you, and then deliver it with compassion and dedication to help ensure you get the very best surgical outcomes.”
A surgical diagnosis is always scary. But it doesn’t have to be overwhelming, physically or financially. At PSC, you’ll be home the same day thanks to minimally invasive procedures and in-house diagnostic and lab services. They strive to reduce paperwork, red-tape, unnecessary visits, and billing confusion.
Don’t put off a needed surgery that will restore mobility or pain-free days. Especially if the only thing holding you back is wanting to know all the viable options beforehand. Call 360-442-7900 today and take charge.