Non-urgent or elective surgeries and procedures may sound like something that is optional, however, that does not mean that they are not important and often lifesaving.
What makes these surgeries non-urgent is that they are not life-threatening emergencies and they can be scheduled, planned in advance, and price-shopped. People who are considering non-urgent surgery, have a wide range of choices, and Sedera makes it easier for you as a Member to gather the information you need to ensure you are receiving great care at a great price.
How can I know if it is necessary?
As you are making decisions about non-urgent surgery, talk to your doctor, and don’t be shy about asking questions to understand why the surgery is needed and what your options are. You might ask:
- Why do I need this procedure?
- Are there other treatment options, and is this procedure the best option for me?
- What do you expect my outcome to be if I elect not to have this procedure?
- What are the risks, benefits, and possible complications for this procedure?
- What are the risks, benefits, and possible complications from not having the procedure?
Should I get a second opinion?
It is wise for all patients to seek a second opinion before accepting any significant diagnosis concerning a treatment plan—and it is especially important for cash pay patients who are part of a Medical Cost Sharing Community like Sedera. Dr. John Hunt, Sedera’s Chief Medical Officer asserts that the “second opinion is a more definitive opinion because there is no financial conflict of interest.” Consider this, according to new research from the Mayo Clinic, as many as 88 percent of patients who seek a second opinion end up with a more refined, or even different diagnosis.
Dr. Hunt adds,
”Very importantly, don’t simply book your non-urgent surgery with the first surgeon you see at the facility he or she suggests. Instead, that first doctor is just a first opinion. Get the second more definitive and unbiased opinion before committing yourself to a surgeon, procedure, or facility. You are worth it.”
Where do I get a second opinion?
Because there’s a high likelihood that a second opinion could change the recommended treatment, Sedera offers Members free access to expert second opinion services through 2nd.MD. In fact, we think second opinions are so important that we require patients to get a second opinion for non-urgent surgeries to be eligible for full cost sharing. If a Member chooses to proceed without a second opinion consult, they reduce the amount that’s eligible for sharing by 50%. If you are a Sedera Member considering a non-urgent surgery, please feel free to connect with the Member Services team to get the most out of your second opinion.
It is also worth mentioning that once a Sedera Member has a surgery recommendation from a doctor, Sedera Member Services can also help compare nearby facilities for medical procedures, diagnostic imaging, and surgery, to help the Member is getting the best care and the lowest costs.
How can I save money?
Dr. Hunt recommends that after you have received your second opinion, that you “shop around for the best surgeon and facility at the best price. There is no correlation between price and quality in medical care. Indeed, cheaper care on average tends to be slightly higher quality care.” This may feel new and even uncomfortable at first, but with a little research, you will be surprised how much you can save as a cash pay patient.
The Free Market Medical Association is one of many resources available to help you shop for best quality at best prices. It has a search function where you can find cash pay friendly surgery centers near you, often with fair and transparent pricing. Don’t be afraid to call first- ask about the fees and total cost of the procedure you are planning for.
And again, if you are a Sedera Member, we are happy to walk you through this process and make sure you feel empowered with the right information.
What can I expect before and after surgery?
If you decide to proceed with a non-urgent surgery, preparing beforehand can help improve your outcome and give you peace of mind. If it is an optional non-urgent surgery, the pre- and post-surgery requirements may even weigh into your decision to have the procedure. To prepare, you might ask your doctor:
- What can I expect before the procedure?
- Will I need to do any special preparation, like tests or a change in my routine medications?
- Does someone need to be with me at the facility, or can I do this on my own?
- What can I expect for my recovery in terms of treatment, medication, diet, and home care?
- Will I be hospitalized? If so for how long?
- Will I have downtime from work and life? How long?
Want to know more about planning for non-urgent surgery? Check out our complete resource guide.