Covered by health insurance? You might still be paying €4,000!

I was shocked to read today on the Bariatric Banter Facebook group that bariatric patients of some hospitals are being charged up-front fees of €4,000 or more – and that’s for people who are fully covered for the surgery by their health insurance!

The fees being charged by hospitals such as the Bons Secours and Blackrock Clinic, and are supposed to cover the cost of 2 years of follow-up after-care. But instead of charging people for these appointments as they happen, these hospitals demand full payment ahead of surgery.

This image captured by a bariatric patient of the Bons Secours in Cork shows the charges:

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In this case, the €4k fee is to cover the cost of dealing with complications and potential emergency corrective surgery – but these are things that many patients may not need.

They do say that some of the money can be reclaimed through a patient’s health insurance – presumably when receipts are issued for outpatient consultant and dietician visits. But even so, four thousand seems very expensive.

I had my surgery in St Vincent’s Private, and they charge people for each after-care appointment as it happens. So far I’ve had one follow-up with the surgeon at 6 weeks, and a session with the dietician at 3 months. I’ve also got a second dietician session organised in a couple of weeks for my 6 month. And I get to pay of each of those separately – and claim back 50% of the cost from my health insurance. But I can’t see the cumulative cost of all the follow-ups coming any where near €4,000!

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