The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

Foot Surgery Tips for the Uninsured

Posted by on Thursday, January 16th, 2014

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It can be a nightmare scenario to find that you need foot surgery, but have no way of paying for it. A Bangor Daily News reader, described only as “Hobbled in Michigan,” wrote in with just such a tale. After suffering a Lisfranc fracture, the patient was initially promised that the hospital would perform the surgery, even though the patient was uninsured. However, during the surgery consultation, the medical office informed the patient they could not operate without insurance.

lisfranc fracture
A lisfranc fracture is not something that will “heal itself,” so uninsured patients will need to cover the cost of surgery out of pocket. Image Source: SBNation.com

Anyone in this situation would be left wondering, “Now what?!” Luckily, there are several options for the uninsured to consider.

Low Cost Clinics

Low-cost or “sliding scale” clinics can help patients in need. Websites like Free Medical SearchNeedyMeds and the Health Resources and Services Administration list directories of such clinics, which don’t perform the surgeries themselves, but rather help patients find surgeons who can. Although it does require some time to sift through all of the resources and contact clinics with questions, it can certainly pay off to find some assistance.

Hospital Patient Assistance Programs

More than half of the nation’s hospitals have some sort of Patient Assistance program for low-income individuals who can’t afford emergency care. The application will ask for details about your income and employment. Usually a modest “pay-what-you-can” or small monthly bill can be set up to allow you to pay off the debt in a reasonable manner. ABC News tells the story of a patient who used assistance from her nonprofit hospital to transform a $25,000 bill into a $7,000 bill, which she will pay down $100 a month, interest free.

Medicaid

The Medicaid program is expanding in the New Year as part of the Affordable Care Act. While the program typically acted as a safety net for the poorest of the poor, most states are opening it to “homeless people, former inmates, low-paid workers, recent college graduates, retirees not yet old enough for Medicare and people… who are between jobs,” says the Washington PostEven states that aren’t listed as expanding the program are still updating eligibility requirements, so savings and retirement account assets don’t count toward a patient’s income.

Shop Around For Foot Surgery

Health care prices are all over the map in America, so it really pays to spend some time shopping around. Consumer Reports said that one father was quoted $15,000 to $25,000 for his son’s foot surgery, but a smaller outpatient clinic did the procedure with the same surgeon for $1,515! 

New Yorkers Can Call Us

According to the Fair Health Consumer Cost Lookup, repairing a broken foot bone in Manhattan would cost a patient $1,200 out-of-pocket. We understand that’s a lot of money! Like hospitals, The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine in Manhattan and White Plains works with uninsured patients to find an affordable solution.

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If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.