When it comes to scheduling an elective medical procedure, such as fixing the herniated disc in your back, sometimes the biggest challenge is deciding when to do it. As the end of the year approaches, like most people, you probably expect it to be filled with the flurry of holiday activities and special times with friends and family. So you may be surprised to learn that many doctors experience a surge in elective surgery cases during this time. Why is this? Turns out, there are some compelling reasons why now is a great time to have surgery.
1. You’ve met your insurance deductible.
Money is often a concern when scheduling an elective surgery, and you may be tempted to push it off if you’re worried you’ll have to pay a lot out of pocket or you have a high insurance deductible to meet. But near the year’s end, there’s a good chance that because of other medical costs your deductible has already been covered, or at least partially paid off. Even though it’s a busy few months, it’s a good idea to consider having your surgery now, before your insurance resets in January.
2. You already have time scheduled off work.
Most people have a limited number of vacation and personal days, but many workplaces allow for extra days off around the holidays. By taking advantage of this, you can save your precious vacation time while still allowing yourself to recover in the comfort of your own home.
3. You’ll have more assistance from your family and friends.
By the same token, you are more likely to have family and friends who also have time off work or are at home for the holidays. While you are recovering, it’s great to have extra hands on deck to assist you or help with things around the house.
4. Your doctor has told you there are still openings in the schedule.
Knowing that the end of the year tends to be a busy time for elective procedures, it’s important to realize that there are only a limited number of cases that can be scheduled. If you’ve decided that this is the right time to have surgery, you may want to book it now, while there are still spaces available.
5. You understand that medical loan payment plans are an option.
If you have a high-deductible health insurance plan or if you are still in a position where you don’t have the means to pay your medical expenses all at once, it’s important to realize that there are other options to consider. A growing number of financing alternatives exist that allow you to take a fixed-rate loan that you can pay back in smaller monthly payments. You can also talk directly with your medical provider to see if they offer any type of payment plan for your surgery. You might find that by spreading out the cost over time, you can manage it with relative ease.
6. You are tired of living with pain and want to get back to your normal activities.
Living with chronic pain or an ongoing injury can take its toll. And even if a medical procedure is elective, you may reach a point where you just want to start feeling better and enjoying your life as best you can. This should be a signal to you that it’s time to take action.
The decision to have surgery is an individual one, and it’s not something to be taken lightly. But as we near the final months of the year, consider these reasons to have surgery now. A face-to-face consultation with your doctor can help address any remaining questions or concerns so you can feel confident you’re making the right choice for you.
About the author
Grant D. Shifflett, MD Dr. Grant D. Shifflett is a fellowship-trained orthopedic spine surgeon. Handpicked by Dr. Robert S. Bray Jr. to join DISC Sports & Spine Center, Dr. Shifflett specializes in the application of minimally invasive and microsurgical techniques to the entire spectrum of cervical, thoracic and lumbar spinal conditions, from the simple to the most complex. Whether treating a patient with chronic pain or an acute injury, his ultimate goal is to restore function and quality of life with minimal tissue disruption. Read more articles by Grant D. Shifflett, MD.