The Surgery Center of Oklahoma is a multidisciplinary cash-pay surgery center. No middleman, no insurance. The prices for each surgery are listed on their website, and that’s what you’ll pay.
Not only that, they are thriving. The surgeons are top-notch, not just greedy physicians trying to cash in on the cash-pay market.
The business runs on thin margins, but there is a healthy profit-sharing aspect and a highly competitive salary for the surgeons involved.
Just imagine the learning in such a place where surgeons can pick each other’s brains and the entire business is aimed at keeping costs down and helping patients.
Paying Cash for Surgery
Paying cash for surgery isn’t new; quite a few people take trips to Thailand, Mexico, and Iran to have surgeries done by competent surgeons at fair prices.
However, in the US, it’s a different beast. Competition is steep, and the odds are stacked in favor of the large conglomerates fueled by tons of administrative burdens.
A hip replacement at Suregery Center of Oklahoma costs $17,500. Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? And it doesn’t include the hardware, but it will be provided at cost.
An ACL repair costs less than $8,000.
A 2-level lumbar fusion costs $50,000-90,000.
I know that some of these numbers sound really high, but an appendectomy is $8,000, and a breast mass excision is $4,000.
The Fear of the Unknown
Health insurance has been forced on consumers for many decades because of a lack of price transparency.
Now that you know your ACL repair will set you back at most $10k, you can prepare for something like that.
Certainly, this is for the informed consumer. The fear will remain in those who have low health literacy. For those individuals navigating the current health insurance market will remain tedious.
The Rise of the Cash-Pay Model
The reason that cash-pay surgery centers exist is that it’s costly dealing with insurance companies. And it’s not hard to convince someone to fly out to OK for surgery if it means they will get top-notch care at a drastic markdown.
Urgent cares, primary care clinics, and Rheumatologists are establishing cash-pay practices because health insurance is dysfunctional and access is limited.
Physicians are happier choosing their patients and patients have more options when they can pay cash.
Though many won’t understand this, the long-term cost of a cash-pay visit is far lower than using an insurance-based system. Not always, but generally speaking.
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