A pacemaker is a device that is battery–operated and implanted in the chest, whether externally or internally, to send electrical impulses to the heart when needed. It is to help stimulate and regulate heart rhythm in order to circulate adequate blood throughout the entire body.
If you are a candidate to have one anytime soon, you need to know how much does a pacemaker cost?
The Cost of Pacemakers
The pacemaker cost can be covered by Medicare or any other private care insurance. For those who are not covered by any medical insurance, the average cost is between $20,000 and $82,000 for uncomplicated pacemaker implants, depending on the type they are going to get. But this could well go up to nearly $100,000 in more complex cases.
For those who are covered by Medicare, you can expect to pay just around $2,600 for an out–of–pocket cost. That already includes coinsurance and some deductibles.
As for those with private insurance, out-of-pocket expenses of around $2,000 to $4,400 should be expected and the rest will be covered by their plans.
Even with an insurance plan, the average fee for pacemaker surgery varies significantly. Some patients prefer to be outpatients, depending on their doctor’s approval.
They can go home so long as they can take care of their surgery as carefully as possible until it heals. For patients who have decided on an extended hospital stay, they may be able to get additional charges of about $20,000–$65,000, or more.
As for Wisconsin Pricepoint, the pacemaker cost, including a six–day hospital stay, is around $24,000.
You may also be required to make office visits every quarter to check if your pacemaker is working fine. The typical cost would be around $200 each time.
The pacemaker battery is expected to last for seven to eight years. However, if it starts wearing down much earlier or if it is nearing its limit already, the pacemaker battery replacement cost would be around $5,000. The good thing is that if you have Medicare Part B, 80% of the cost will be covered.
Factors Affecting Cost of Pacemakers
Just like any medical procedure, a lot of things are involved in pacemaker implant surgery. To better prepare for the medical expenses ahead, please take note of the following different factors that comprise the overall cost:
- Type of pacemaker
There are basically three types of pacemakers, namely: single-chamber, dual-chamber, and biventricular pacemakers. The single chamber is the one wherein one lead is attached to either the upper or the lower chamber of the heart. The dual chamber, on the other hand, is the one that has two leads that are attached to each heart chamber.
The biventricular pacemaker is the one that is used when you have to undergo cardiac resynchronization therapy. Whatever type your cardiologist or surgeon decides that you need will make a big difference in the total bill.
Doctors and surgeons charge fees based on their expertise and reputation. However, if you have been with your cardiologist for years, you might get a good discount for the procedure.
- Hospital stay
Placing a pacemaker is actually considered minor surgery. However, there are cases where a patient will be compelled to stay at the hospital longer than usual.
The location could also play a big factor in pricing. For example, in Columbus, Ohio, the total cost for a pacemaker implant that includes the surgery and anesthesia and a hospital stay for five days is around $20,000.
On the other hand, in Wisconsin, the average cost of a pacemaker is around $28,000.
A lot of hospitals can cater to cardiac surgery, such as pacemaker placement. The exact facility where you and your surgeon agreed upon will have a huge impact on the cost you have to pay for the pacemaker.
Having insurance coverage will be a breath of fresh air when health emergencies such as this arise. As previously mentioned, health insurance covers this procedure, and your out-of-pocket expenses would depend on your co-insurance and deductibles.
In case you don’t have medical coverage, hospitals are providing huge discounts to cash payers. In California, the Healthcare System of Washington Hospital provides a 35% percent off to uninsured patients, and they also provide financial assistance to qualified ones.
It is also important to know what exactly goes through a pacemaker implant surgery. Knowing what to expect can at least give you an idea of whether undergoing the surgery would be worth it.
Pacemaker implants generally are not like having an open surgery, except in certain cases. This is why you will usually see outpatient cases with regard to this operation.
Before a person goes through surgery, they will be given a medication that will help make them comfortable and sleepy. Once the patient has already laid down on the operating table, a nurse will have to start an IV line in the patient’s vein.
In order to prevent infection from the pacemaker insertion later on, an antibiotic will be given through the same IV incision. The doctor will have to make a small incision in the upper chest to a measure of about two inches.
Then, one or two insulated wires will go through the patient’s skin, through the vein, and into the heart. Once the pacemaker is in, it will be programmed, and the doctor will close the incision. The pacemaker will be tested to see if it does its job perfectly to suit your medical needs.
The patient will then either stay overnight or a few more days at the hospital, or be discharged with specific instructions on how to care for the implant. At first, the patient’s movement will be limited, and there will be a light bulge under the skin.
Since every patient will experience different after–effects from the surgery, it is always advisable for them to speak with their doctor regularly post-operation.
Those who are looking for the best pacemaker that suits their needs can get a referral through the Pacemaker Club. It is one of the great resources for patients needing a pacemaker or who are receivinig it. Its website also has tips, discussion boards, and physician finders that will surely be beneficial to patients.
The pacemaker could last for ten years with the patient only needing a once–a–year checkup, unless otherwise required more often by your cardiologist.