Save money by paying cash at Pacific Surgical Center
We love the thought of ‘New Year, new you’ but sometimes January arrives with a harrumph. The weather isn’t great, our bank account has the post-holiday blues, and getting back into the swing of things—work and exercise top the list—takes time. If you find yourself heading to the doctor, take note that your insurance deductible will likely have re-set as well. But thanks to options like Pacific Surgical Center (PSC), paying cash often saves money all around.
HealthCare.gov explains that our deductible is “The amount you pay for covered health care services before your insurance plan starts to pay. With a $2,000 deductible, for example, you pay the first $2,000 of covered services yourself… Family plans often have both an individual deductible, which applies to each person, and a family deductible, which applies to all family members. Generally, plans with lower monthly premiums have higher deductibles. Plans with higher monthly premiums usually have lower deductibles.”
This means that illness or injury early in the year can cost more up-front. And if you scheduled surgery, typically done weeks in advance, within this period, it’s not unusual to pay the entire deducible at once as part of the cost.
Thankfully, outpatient surgery centers like PSC offer clearly posted transparency pricing so you can shop around, and low costs whether you bill insurance or pay cash. Always get an estimate from your insurance company and you’ll see how PSC’s cash prices are often lower overall than the patient responsibility portion.
Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? You’re not alone if this makes you shake your head in confusion. Consumer Reports recently published a paper showing this in action. “According to experts Consumer Reports talked to and a review of pricing options offered by dozens of healthcare providers, more doctors, hospital networks, and treatment centers are touting big discounts for patients who pay cash up-front and forgo using their insurance.”
And they looked into why. “That this is possible seems contrary to what many of us have come to understand about how health insurance is supposed to work. We think using it always saves us money, partly because we assume our insurer negotiates the best rates for health services, and partly because we expect our insurer to pick up the tab for whatever cost remains, or at least much of it. In many cases, that is still true—but not always, especially for the growing number of people in high-deductible plans who must spend thousands of dollars on health services before insurance even starts to kick in to cover some of the cost.”
Patients aren’t the only ones who benefit from cash pricing. “Cutting out the insurer as the middleman can significantly reduce the provider’s administrative and billing costs. And healthcare providers who get cash up-front don’t have to chase down the money later, either from a patient or the insurance company.”
Within their study, the lower cost of paying cash was staggering. A woman seeking an echocardiogram was quoted $766 as her portion after insurance but only $400 for the same procedure if paying cash. A study done by the Los Angeles Times was even more shocking. A patient was billed $2,758 for two ultrasounds yet the cash price was only $521.
Their overall results were clear: “The need for greater price transparency has grown amid rising insurance deductibles, which have more than tripled in the last decade. It’s now crucial for patients to shop around for the best deals… All healthcare entities should provide clear pricing information to patients ahead of treatment. If auto mechanics can do it, so can doctors.”
If you need outpatient surgery don’t let cost keep you from moving forward. Trying to live, work, and play while in pain or with limited mobility is no fun at all. Ask your primary care doctor if outpatient surgery works for you and then give PSC staffers a call at 360-442-7900. Their team of financial counselors can walk you through the costs and provide a written estimate of charges. That way you’ll know what’s around the bend with no chance of post-surgical sticker shock.
As the New Year settles in, it’s a good time to take stock. Then make January a productive month of checking things off your to-do list, accomplishing small goals, and prepping for those exciting days when the sunshine and balmy weather return. Because despite how it feels now, they will come back and you’ll want to greet them feeling 100% thanks to Pacific Surgical Center.