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Receiveed a bill before even having surgery

I received a bill in the mail today from my surgeon, To my surprise I need to pay him a deposit before I have my surgery. They have estimated what the insurance will pay and the deductibles and credit for my wife being a employee in surgery at the hospital. They are requesting that I pay the deposit before my surgery in full. The deposit is $1836.99.

So my question is why am I getting a bill for a deposit before surgery? Is this some new practice that doctors are doing now? For one they didn't even fill the insurance to know what they are going to pay but doing an estimation of what they will pay. Also I have two health insurance policies that I am covered under and they only have one listed. I don't want to pay until after surgery for one, two I don't want to have to pay and then wait for a refund if I am over charged, three if I am overcharged I don't think I would get a refund for the difference in the first place.

This seems odd and fishy to me.

Anyone have an experience like this before??


  • Thats a new one. I understand that Doctors need to be paid for their services, but this sure seems like he is more interested in money than his patients. If it were me I think I would be looking for a new Doctor, the last thing I want to be is just a number to my Doctor. I won't wait more than 30 minutes for an appointment at a doctors office for the same reason.

    I had two different insurance policies with my first surgery, my out of pocket expense was just a hundred dollars.If you go with this Doctor I would call him and let him know that the insurance information / estimate is wrong, as you have two different insurance policies.

    I wish you the best on whatever you decide.

  • My surgeon has required a deposit before each of my surgeries, but one. My first one was in 2008, so its nothing new for me. Its usually the portion that insurance will not pay. My first fusion deposit was 2500.00. My second fusion was completely covered since I had met my out of pocket maximum.
    Discectomies 05/08 and 04/11, fusions L4-5 Feb 9,2012 and L3-L4 June 28,2012, Staph infection washout 3/2/2012, Bulged L5-S1. SCS trial on January 17th, 2014, which was a success! Permanent SCS on February 20th.
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  • MetalneckMetalneck The Island of Misfit toysPosts: 1,789
    edited 11/09/2012 - 1:49 AM
    will look at the allowed amount for your procedures, calaculate your portion, and send you and estimaite in advance. Unless its their policy that it is paid before the procedure is scheduled .... I would ignore it or contact the office and remind them that if its a PPO type plan - they are only allowed to collect copays, co-insurance, and deductables after the claim has been processed.

    It depends on the type of insurance and how the contract reads as to the timing of any payments from you. If you are still in touch with an H.R. department at work, they should know for sure how the contract reads.

    Best to you and yours,

  • I was required to pay a deposit to the hospital, not the surgeon. I'm not surprised since what are they going to do after the surgery if you say you can't pay - reposess your back? That doesn't make it any easier for us approaching surgery. There's so much to do and worry about already.
    4 level ACDF C4-C7 5-2-11, laminectomy & discectomy L4-L5 1/26/12, ALIF L4-5, L5-S1 12/10/12.
  • I Had to pay upfront for the portion that was going to be my responsibility. Both to the hospital and the surgeon. Got money back from the surgeon on the first surgery but the amount was a good deal less for the second one.

    This doesn't both me at all with all the no/slow pays out there.

    You don't like it do go elsewhere. I would bring to there attention that your second insurance policy should pick up the balance.
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  • They sure don't waste any time with billing do they. I was home from surgery and on the 3 rd day I got a call from the hospital billing dept letting me know that my hospital bill was 225,000.00 and my copay was a mere 225.00. I am happy about that but then I realized that bill doesn't include the doctor bill, or anesthesia or radiology whew! It's gonna be way up there.
  • LA_runner_chickLLA_runner_chick Posts: 91
    edited 11/09/2012 - 11:38 AM
    I think this is standard procedure. Besides the fact that these are very expensive procedure and the hospital people need to know about payment, they also submit bills to your insurance company first to find out the specifics for what the insurance will cover -- e.g., how many days in the hospital, what kind cages/screws/implants, all that kind of stuff. After the hospital gets all that information, your bill is probably automatically generated
  • I learn something new every day "pre pay" I still don't like the idea of it. I guess my two fusion surgeries were out of the norm in that regard, I wasn't required to pay up front either time, with different Doctors.
  • That sounds so bizarre, although it sounds like it is happening to some. I had surgery on October 26th and have not yet received any invoices from anyone as yet. I am in Northern CA. I did receive a letter from my insurance company saying they have received bills submitted and they are reviewing them. That's it. That's what I expected.

    I would feel very strange receiving invoices for "work" that has not yet been completed either. Strange in my book, too.
    10/26/2012 ACDF C3/4 C4/5 surgery
    No pain; no pain meds - thank goodness!
    04/01/2013 - 5 months + 1 week - FUSED
    Doing some physical therapy for even better range of motion
  • My 2nd surgery tried this. They said I needed to give them a credit card or deposit.
    I told them no.
    They said, I still needed to arrive early before surgery to discuss.

    I contacted my insurance rep beforehand and they said absolutely no. The hospital and surgeon were to follow the rules and submit the invoice to the insurance, insurance would settle and they could bill me the rest. There is NO need for this if you have insurance and the surgery is pre-approved in the US.
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