Everyone loves a good bargain. Whether we’re shopping for groceries, clothing or household appliances, saving a few dollars makes us feel thrifty and accomplished. But when shopping for medical care, we tend to adopt a very different attitude. Higher cost is often associated with greater quality, and we gladly accept the higher price because we want the best care possible. You never want to sacrifice quality for cost when it comes to your health, but the good news is you don’t have to.
The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) recently conducted a study entitled "How Consumers Are Saving with the Shift to Outpatient Care.” This study examined four common procedures which can safely be performed in an inpatient or outpatient setting – hysterectomy, lumbar/spine surgery, angioplasty, and gallbladder removal. Blue Cross Blue Shield estimates that these four procedures cost companies, members and employers approximately $11 billion in 2014 alone.
The study found that patients who opted for outpatient procedures saved an average of:
- $320 for lumbar/spine surgery
- $483 for hysterectomy
- $924 for gallbladder removal
- $1,062 for angioplasty
These savings also reduced total average costs for consumers, payers and employers. Average savings amounted to:
- $4,505 per hysterectomy
- $8,475 per lumbar/spine surgery
- $11,262 per gallbladder removal
- $17,530 per angioplasty
Due to minimally invasive techniques, shorter recovery periods and less pain, outpatient procedures deliver similar if not better outcomes than inpatient surgery. Outpatient hysterectomy in particular has been associated with fewer 30-day complications, reduced risk of perioperative morbidity and fewer medical complications than inpatient surgery (Source: Blue Cross Blue Shield).
If you have questions or concerns about whether you are eligible to have your next medical procedure performed in an outpatient facility, talk to your doctor. You may be able to enjoy a more comfortable treatment experience with shorter wait times, faster recovery and maximum savings!