What is a bundled surgery price?

A bundled surgery price is a fixed or set price for a bundled of charges paid by a consumer or 3rd-party payer. At the most basic level, the price generally includes the facility fee, surgeon fee, a consultation with the surgeon before your procedure, anesthesia fees, supplied implants or hardware costs and an after surgery visit by the surgeon to go over aftercare and follow up you'll need.

Bundled price surgery is not something new. It is a common strategy for many outpatient and some inpatient surgery providers and has been available since the mid- 1970s. Once internet advertising made it easier for a consumer to discover and compare prices online, an increasing number of surgeons, hospitals and day surgery centers began advertising bundled surgery prices.  In the last few years, Medicare, the public insurance program in the USA began testing price transparency and bundled price surgery procedures, the number of surgeons and hospitals and surgery centers increased further. What makes it difficult to find the prices online is the tedium of searching the internet site by site and then asking each place for details. That’s the part that SurgeryShopper.com solves for you. One website. One call. One reliable answer.

As a shopper, when you read about bundled surgery prices, you should always take a mental note of what is listed and what’s missing that may be relevant to your particular situation.  One excellent way to do this is to create a list of what’s important to you (or the person for whom you are shopping) that includes the essentials you care about the most.

To do this, create several columns down a sheet of paper positioned horizontally or use a spreadsheet tool.  On the vertical axis (left side, going down) write down the items listed above in the introduction to this article. Then, add the options. These include things such as:

Travel costs

  • Airfare  (be sure you include seat selection charges, baggage charges, upgrades if you need more leg room, 
  • Hotel (Your surgeon may want you to arrive up to 3 business days prior to surgery and remain for at least 2 days after and in some cases, a few extra days before they will certify you as “fit-to-travel” by air or by car.
  • Ground transportation (shuttles, car rentals, taxi, ride sharing all figure in)
  • Travel meals and refreshments, food at your destination and travel meals on the way home
  • Child care, pet or house sitting expenses if you must travel to have your procedure
  • Any touristic activities you may feel up to (admission fees, tour packages, etc.)
  • Visa and immigration costs if you travel outside the USA; passport costs and photography expenses, mailing and overnight service fees, processing fees, and more.
  • The professional services of a case manager, facilitator, travel agent, and destination coordinator or concierge to ensure that your travel and accommodation are all appropriate to meet your medical needs while at the destination.
  • Interpreter fees, if required.
Care costs
  • You may need to spend one or more nights as an inpatient before you can join your companion at the hotel;
  • Medical equipment expenses (oxygen, a recliner, IV therapy setup, rented wheelchair, rented scooter, rented crutches, a walker, support garments, etc.) to make your hotel stay comparable with what would be supplied (at extra cost) at a hospital during your stay;
  • “Home health” care nursing costs if you require the services of a nursing attendant, physical therapist, or a private duty nurse for a few overnight shifts at the hotel;
  • Aftercare by your surgeon at the place where you’ve just had surgery or aftercare by a local hometown physician when you return back to your usual residence. Some bundled price surgery quotes include up to 90-days of follow up care in person or by phone, but not all of them do this if the patient travels a distance of 3 or more hours by car in each direction. If the aftercare for the remainder of the 90-days is not included, get estimates of all aftercare costs, (e.g. doctor visits and any x-rays, lab tests, physical therapy services, home nursing care and even bandage change supplies and casting materials)
  • Implant and supply costs used in your surgery – not all quotes include the hardware and implants or prosthetic items. A knee, hip, shoulder or spine replacement part could add a nasty $2500-$6000 or more unexpected surprise to your bill where the quote from another supplier may include that cost in the bundle. Always ask!
  • Pathology expenses – for a board-certified pathologist to examine any tissue (bone, skin, fat, cartilage, polyps, gallstones, kidney stones, etc.), taken out of your body during your procedure. This tissue must be examined and reported back to the surgeon, and there will always be a bill for this service.
  • Diagnostic testing before your procedure (x-rays, lab tests, MRI, CT scans, and other imaging tests) to set or confirm the diagnosis before surgery. 
Finance and credit costs
  • Charges for interest on your credit card or finance charges to your bank or other private lending source if you don’t have cash in hand to pay in full at the time of service.
  • If you’ll be required to put a down payment using savings, cash, or a credit card or HSA or HRA from your employer.
Feedback scores and ratings
  • Check various social media online directories such as Yelp, Google, and other ratings sites you trust. What are the scores of the places you’ve shortlisted? Read through the comments and create a compiled feedback score of your own across all salient ratings. (Some people just rant about something unrelated to the service, quality or safety and you may want to toss those ratings if you decide they are irrelevant. If there are relevant negative sentiments, did the facility respond appropriately? or not at all?)
Infection rates and other complications
  • Ask about infection rates. The national averages are easily found online. Compare this to the percentages posted for each facility.

You are now ready to “‘shop” for surgery bundles online and by phone. Across the columns on your worksheet, make a new column for each facility or provider you learn about. Head up the column with their name, location, contact details,  and any notes. 

When shopping for travel arrangements, if you are flying to any destination and having any joint or back surgery or abdominal surgery or a body contouring procedure, ask the provider(s) if it is okay to travel in smaller regional aircraft. You may do better with a fly-drive combination and use full-size aircraft. The reason for this is simple, the smaller the aircraft, the more difficult it is to move to your seat or to the toilet and back. 

If you are having knee, hip, or shoulder replacement surgery, be sure to note the altitude of the destination city. Anything above 4,000 feet above sea level and your risk for blood clots that could travel to your lungs and risk your life increases by 40% over the first 30 days after surgery. This was recently reported at the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeon conference in 2019. You can easily find information about this online.  Just search “hip surgery above 4000 feet pulmonary embolism risk” or “knee surgery above 4000 feet pulmonary embolism risk” or “shoulder surgery above 4000 feet pulmonary embolism risk” to learn more.

When you call SurgeryShopper.com’s concierge team, all this research has been done and is part of our value-added service. We research far more than just the price. You can spend hours tediously researching each of these options or you can simply call (800) 209.7263, toll free, and ask us about the procedure you need and where you live and where you are willing to travel, how many people will travel with you, if you have insurance or need financing, and we sort out the rest and present you with your options. Our concierge services include all your travel planning and care coordination for one flat fee. We save you hours if not days of research time.

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