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Fixed Price Surgery; A Viable Option

Sep 13, 2008
While private medical care is becoming increasingly popular with the public the incentive to take out health insurance is not always there. For those who are not convinced that insurance is the way to go there is another way; that is through 'self paying' and more specifically fixed price surgery. Fundamentally this means the patient pays for the treatment in advance either by cash, credit card or cheque. For many this is also preferable as in some cases obtaining insurance can be troublesome, particularly if the treatment is for a pre-existing condition. It can be expensive however, especially if your problem is not simple and may require a course of treatments rather than just one.

If the waiting times for your type of surgery are excessively long then going private can be an advisable course of action to follow. An example would be hip replacement surgery, where paying a fixed price would in many cases be preferable to waiting for treatment on the NHS. At this stage it is important to research fixed price surgery options and deals with local private institutions. In some cases the payment can be spread over a time, although credit and interest may apply.

The first step of the fixed price surgery process is to visit your GP. In some cases they may give a referral letter, although you may have to pay for such a letter. It is possible to forgo this if you can research and find a specialist in your area that will be able to provide treatment. After this it is normally procedure to see a private consultant, in some cases this consultation can cost as much as two hundred pounds, typically payable on the day. At this stage the consultant will access your requirements and put together a fixed price surgery programme that suits; the fee will normally include doctor's fees and the operation costs. If you are happy with this price go ahead with the treatment and pay on your arrival to the hospital.

Fixed priced surgery schemes are provided by many companies and private medical institutions. In most cases it will be possible to undertake surgery although some operations may not be available to patients of any age. Once the patient has paid the price that includes all costs of nursing care, staying in the hospital and any drugs that may be needed they are good to go ahead with the surgery. The importance of the price being fixed is large, medical treatment can incur complications and by having one set price the cost of any complications can be sidestepped.

For those who feel that paying for this surgery up front will not be a possibility there are a number of companies who will finance the treatment on a loan basis. This is much like any loan and will require patients to pay over an elongated period of time. For quotes it is usually the case that patients will have to visit a hospital in order to receive an accurate estimate of the costs. It is possible however to use the internet to compare prices of various operations in a number of different private medical centres.

Hopefully this information has given those considering fixed priced surgery a better understanding of the process involved. As health insurance is not always an option this form of treatment is an important secondary method of receiving surgery. With differing ways to pay for operations this is a viable option for many who need surgery but cannot wait for treatment.
About the Author
Medical expert Thomas Pretty looks into why fixed price surgery can be deemed a viable alternative to insurance.
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