4 Reasons Why Procedure Fees Vary Across Laser Eye Clinics

If you’re considering laser eye surgery, you may have done the following:

  • Looked up the pros and cons online
  • Asked the advice of a health professional (or two)
  • Investigated popular clinics close to you to get a ballpark idea of prices

After all, taking the plunge into such life-changing surgery is not a decision to be taken lightly.

However, most people are startled when they realise that fees vary widely, and rightly so; we tend to naturally assume that a particular medical procedure costs a fixed amount, no matter the provider. Thus, many find it difficult to understand why there can be such a wide discrepancy between clinics.

To help explain why there can be such a difference in prices for the same procedure, here are the three most important things you must investigate before deciding upon a surgeon – and centre – for your treatment:

1. Does your health insurance contribute?

It may astonish some to realise that laser eye surgery is not automatically covered by one’s health insurance, even if the plan includes vision insurance. This is because the government classifies it as an elective procedure, hence the reason why Medicare rebates are not available for it either (unless you also qualify for cataract surgery).

Sometimes, a clinic may quote a lower price that reflects the total “out-of-pocket” expenses, which includes a projected reimbursement on behalf of your health insurance provider. In this case, it is wise to read the fine print at each clinic so that you have a clear understanding of how much they charge for the treatment, and what the cost covers.

2. Which equipment will be used?

Consider yourself warned: some clinics advertise extraordinarily large discounts for laser eye surgery. Although their offers appear attractive, not many of them will provide exactly the same procedure. In fact, there are several different methods and types of equipment that can be used in order to carry out the same treatment. To cut down on the cost for consumers, there are clinics that may use slightly older equipment or only partially use a laser when performing the surgery. Check to make sure that your surgeon, and your clinic, is planning to use the most modern techniques and technology to complete your treatment.

3. What about pre-operative, or post-operative care?

The total price of laser eye surgery often includes the cost of pre-operative consultations and post-operative appointments. However some clinics may purposely reduce the number and frequency of these additional meetings in order to provide a lower cost. Or, they may charge you for every visit afterwards. Finally, they may charge extra for any further attention required. Make sure you investigate the amount of ongoing care included with the procedure. As with any surgery, you must ensure that you have the full support of the clinic and its staff, whenever you need it.

4. Surgeon’s Expertise

Needless to say, a fresh clinic or newly qualified surgeon may well need to charge less to boost numbers in a freshly established practice. You should ask if the surgeon specializes in refractive surgery or just performs procedures occasionally in an otherwise busy general eye practice.

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