When it comes to the cost for bunion surgery, the United States average is between $3,500 and $5,000 but some hospitals charge as much as $15,000 for bunion surgery. There are a few factors that can influence the overall price tag, however. One such factor is the type of surgery that you are having performed. There are different types of surgery that can be performed to alleviate the pain associated with a bunion. One surgery simply removes the lump of excess tissue on the tip of the bone that meets the base of the big toe. This is called an exostectomy. You could also opt for one of a few other surgeries that involve physically correcting the position of the misaligned bone: 1) arthrodesis, which involves shortening and repairing the tendons and ligaments that surround the misaligned bone so that they may keep the bone from moving back out of position, 2) osteotomy, which involves physically cutting and realigning the deformed joint, and 3) resection arthroplasty, which is a procedure involving the repair of the deformed joint.
The cost of your bunion surgery can also be influenced by the surgeon you intend to have perform the procedure and the medical venue at which the surgery will take place. A basic exostectomy can usually be performed in a well-equipped orthopedic clinic while most other bunion removal surgeries require a hospital’s surgical facility that offers a wider range of medical technology. A procedure performed in a clinic will typically be cheaper than outpatient surgery in a hospital, but that isn’t always the case. Your surgeon’s skill and reputation may translate into higher (or lower) procedure costs as can the country and city in which the surgery is to be performed.
In order to prevent receiving an unpleasant shock when opening your hospital/clinic bill, you should make it a point to consider the following pieces of advice before even consenting to the surgery.
Understand Your Needs
What kind of surgery do you need? What type of outcome are you looking to gain in the long run? If you suffer from a mild bunion then you may not need an expensive bone-aligning surgery in an upscale, world-renown orthopedic facility. Your wallet would be much better off if you stuck to a procedure that provided the treatment that you need rather than going beyond what is really necessary. On the other hand, if you suffer from a more severe condition, a simple bump removal procedure may end up costing you more money in the long run because severe bunions tend to run a greater risk of redevelopment unless the bone itself is corrected through realignment. You have to ask yourself if you are okay with choosing the cheaper option now and risking the possibility of undergoing another procedure in the future because of relapse.
You might also consider whether you need more than one orthopedic issue addressed. Because recovery after foot surgery can be difficult, often involving prolonged periods of bed rest and the inability to use the healing foot for quite some time, some surgeons recommend correcting as many issues with one surgery whenever possible. This will increase the cost of the procedure in comparison to a straightforward bunion removal, but it will cost less than having to schedule separate procedures for each issue that needs to be corrected. Other factors that can affect the overall cost include anesthesia and pre/post-operation care.
Research Costs in Nearby Areas
The cost of any kind of medical procedure can vary depending on the part of the country in which the procedure will be carried out. In the southern part of the United States, a typical bunion removal operation costs around $3,900. Average costs on the eastern and western coast tend to be around $4,600. These numbers are just averages, though. One thing to consider is the availability of treatment and competitiveness of cost. In rural areas, qualified orthopedic surgeons could get away with charging more for their services because there aren’t as many of them available. In bigger cities, with many more specialists to compete with, you might find a better deal on the surgeon’s fee and the facility fee because you have the competition of businesses working in your favor.
Know Your Insurance Coverage Front-to-Back
Whether or not you have insurance to help out with the costs of the operation will play a major role in your financial responsibility. Uninsured individuals can sometimes be given a special rate, particularly if they are required to pre-pay for the procedure or they intend to pay at the time the service is rendered. If you do have insurance then be sure to refresh your memory regarding your coverage. Most mid-level and up plans will help cover the costs of necessary orthopedic operations – meaning that the company will help cover costs if the insured person is currently physically suffering and/or experiencing a decreased quality of life as a result of the condition. How much your insurance company will cover is completely unique to the plan in which you are enrolled. If you don’t have any paperwork on hand that explains your coverage in detail, or if you’re having trouble understanding the breakdown of your coverage, call the customer service number on the back of your insurance card. Explain the type of operation that you intend to have, taking care to mention that it is an outpatient procedure and whether or not your chosen surgeon/facility is a member of your provider’s network. Don’t worry if you do not know the latter – the insurance representative should be able to look that information up for you.
Consider a Medical Credit Line
If you’re strapped for cash and you don’t have any insurance then you may be wondering if there is any other way that you can have the operation and enjoy a pain-free existence (at least where your feet are concerned). The good news is that there are many financial institutions that offer what is essentially a credit card that can be used for virtually any medical costs, including doctor’s visit fees, medical equipment, and operations. Care Credit and Access One are the most well-known companies in the United States to extend lines of credit to individuals who require help covering medical expenses. They are even prepared to work with people who have poor credit or are lacking in credit history.