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the best time of the year to have surgery

The Best Time of Year for Surgery According to Finance Experts

So what if you are thinking about having a medical procedure (and aren’t currently being rushed to the hospital)? For procedures like ACL surgery, in vitro fertilization, cosmetic implants and any number of other major and minor surgeries you can pretty much choose when you want to do it. So what’s the best time of year to get surgery? The answer could save you thousands of dollars in out of pocket medical expenses.

Most people end up scheduling it based on their doctor’s availability or their level of discomfort (or pain) threshold, which might limit how long they’re willing to wait. Many more patients simply try to schedule their surgical procedures before their annual deductible resets to zero. (If you’re not sure what we’re talking about here, see the sidebar at right).

This last part, your deductible resetting, typically makes November and December a very busy time of year for practices. This is because once you have paid your out of pocket maximum, your insurance covers the rest of your bills – so a lot of people wait all year to see if they’ll get close to that limit before scheduling a delayed procedure.

However, a growing number of money-savvy patients are flipping this logic on its head…

“If you schedule your most expensive procedure at the beginning of the year, you basically get the rest of your medical care free for the duration of that calendar year”

– Elaina Serotte, Certified Financial Planner, CDFA and principal at Golub Group

Huh?

I didn’t get what you just said about deductibles.

Your insurance plan probably has a few components to it that make up the final amount you’ll have to pay for medical procedures.

Deductibles? Read More
CoInsurance? Read More
OOP Maximum? Read More

To understand in more detail how this works, read this article:
The Difference Between Your Deductible vs Out Of Pocket Maximum

If you’re a person who’s been living with chronic pain and have been putting off a procedure, you may be better off booking your appointment now, in the beginning of the year, rather than later. If you were able to get your most expensive procedure in the first part of the year, you’d likely reach your deductible – and potentially even hit your out-of-pocket maximum for the year – with most of the year left before your plan will reset. This would effectively mean that for the entire rest of the year, any other procedure you needed (or wanted, if it’s covered) would be covered completely by your insurance. See the section below about payment plans to see how to make this option affordable.

“There’s no doubt about it,” says Elaina Serotte, a certified financial planner who manages wealth for several of the San Francisco bay area’s entrepreneurs and executives, “in terms of getting the most value out of your insurance plan, this is the secret they don’t want you to know.”

Each year, 64% of Americans delay needed medical care because they are afraid of the cost. This has been an unexpected side-effect of the rise of High-Deductible Health Plans (HDHPs), which now make up over 1/3 of all health care plans by employed people. In fact, a recent study by the US Treasury Dept found that 48% of Americans would find it difficult to cover an unexpected expense of even $400. So the key is to find a way to not have to pay a massive out of pocket expense all at once, but still get as much value from your insurance plan as possible.

Medical Loan Payment Plans can Make it Affordable

The obvious problem with this plan is that you’d have to pay thousands of dollars out of pocket immediately before the rest of the year becomes “free”. Up until now, this strategy has only been accessible to those with the wealth to pay their out of pocket costs in a lump sum, since credit cards typically have high interest rates – that balloon even higher with a single missed payment. Even healthcare credit cards have something called “deferred interest” which means they accrue high interest from day one and then charge you for it all at once after a promotional period.

This is where new financing products that didn’t exist before can help. Online lenders like Prosper and Avant as well as many others offer fixed-rate personal loans that can be used to turn medical bills into affordable monthly payments. Depending on the lender, you can often qualify for a better rate than you’d get from your credit card. And since it’s fixed rate, your APR won’t change even if you make a late payment. You can apply with each lender separately on their own site or use the free medical loan search engine from Parasail to see loan offers from all of the top online lenders at once so you can compare options.

About Parasail Health
Parasail Health helps patients focus on their treatment rather than worry about payment by providing affordable monthly payment plans for their out-of-pocket medical expensesWith a simple application and approval process, patients and families can review offers from several lenders at once, select a plan that works and get back to focusing on what matters.

Find out how Parasail can help you turn large out-of-pocket medial bills into affordable monthly payments