The word “surgery” is frightening for many reasons. Beyond the fear of pain and the unknown, the cost is also on people’s minds. Your wallet should never come before your health. As long as you plan properly and do your research, the expense of any surgery can be managed.
Foot surgery comes with many different costs. Loss of work and hospital fees alone can scare some away from having surgery. Before deciding against it, it is important to understand your condition and the options available.
What is Bunion Surgery?
Bunion Surgery is a procedure that corrects the foot deformity that occurs when the big toe joint protrudes and the big toe angles inward toward the other toes. Historically, the surgery is very painful and takes months to heal. A new surgery called minimally invasive bunion surgery offers almost no pain and a fast recovery.
If you’ve noticed a bump on your main big toe joint (see Fig 1), and your big toe is forced against the others, you probably have a bunion. For most people, they are uncomfortable at best. They can be extremely painful and life-limiting.
Bunions do not go away naturally. In fact, they become worse over time. They can cause serious issues with your feet, legs, and back.
Bunion surgery, also called a “bunionectomy”, is necessary once a bunion becomes painful and starts affecting your quality of life.
When the procedure is minimally invasive, it costs considerably less, as there is no need to pay for a hospital stay or the medications to put you under. In fact, clients actually walk out of minimally invasive bunion removal surgery.
What Determines the Cost of Bunion Surgery?
Insurance and location will affect the cost of most surgeries. The hospitals and doctors you have access to are the first things that will impact the cost of your surgery. Same goes for the neighborhood you live in. People who reside in metropolitan areas always have more options.
Your insurance company negotiates the network rate with your doctor and hospital. That means that these two parties will have a large influence over the cost of your bunion surgery. This is not to say a person doesn’t have options. People should be open to getting a second and third opinion. An insurance company will always offer you more than one doctor.
The type of procedure required and what happens during the operation, are other factors that go into the cost of bunion surgery. Traditional methods require hospitalization. If an emergency occurs during the surgery, there will be additional costs. Avoid Traditional Bunion Surgery
Lastly, personal health can play a role in the cost of bunion surgery. Certain health problems can make traditional bunion surgery harder. But, minimally invasive procedures might be less expensive. In addition, you won’t have to miss much work.
Insurance will probably cover part or all of the surgery, because the majority of bunion surgeries are not cosmetic. A bunion that is causing pain or changing the way you walk, is considered medically necessary. If it is small and causes no pain, insurance may not cover the procedure. The type of insurance and plan you have will affect the cost of your bunion surgery.
Your co-pay, co-insurance, and deductible all affect your bottom line. If you choose a surgeon that is out-of-network, it can also lead to exorbitant costs. Your insurance company wants you to go to the people they struck a deal with, but that doesn’t mean you have to. Your health should always be the most important factor in any medical decision.
Medicare and Medicaid generally cover foot care. This is because 35% of people over the age of 65 suffer from some form of a bunion. As long as it’s medically necessary, most insurers will cover the procedure with proof of pain/discomfort from a doctor.
The Best Care for Your Money
You are not tied to a certain surgery because of your insurance company. An individual has a responsibility to seek out the best care possible for what they can afford.
Even when insurance covers a portion of the cost, people are still likely to pay something out of pocket. Here are a few ways in which you can make sure you’re getting the most for your money:
- Research and compare local surgeons. Call and get an estimate.
- Ask your insurance company about all costs upfront. That includes co-pays, deductibles, and co-insurance.
- Take advantage of a Flexible Spending Account (FSA), Health Savings Account (HSA), or Health Reimbursement Account (HRA) to cover any additional expenses.
An individual can always speak with their doctor as well. Doctors are compassionate people and will be willing to work with you to help reduce costs if you are paying out of pocket.
You should not avoid bunion surgery because you fear the cost. The longer you wait, the worse it will get and it will be more expensive to fix. It’s up to patients do their research before a procedure.
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Common Questions About Bunion Surgery Costs
It depends. If the bunion is causing pain and interfering with your normal life, it is considered a medical condition and it is usually covered by health insurance. If the bunion surgery is done for purely cosmetic reasons, it is not considered a medical condition and health insurance will usually not cover it.
Conventional open-foot bunion surgery comes with high hidden costs of weeks or months of missed work and wear and tear on those who have to take care of you throughout the weeks and months of recovery. Minimally invasive bunion surgery avoids these hidden costs completely because you don’t have to miss work and you are never immobilized so no one has to take care of you.
Conventional open-foot bunion surgery requires you to be put to sleep. During minimally invasive bunion surgery, a local anesthetic is used on the foot and you remain awake and aware throughout the procedure.