Once considered to be a cutting-edge, high-risk procedure, heart bypass surgery is now performed routinely in the United States and many other developed countries. The procedure is designed to mitigate the potentially life-threatening effects of blockages in the coronary arteries that provide oxygen and nutrients to the pumping muscles of the heart. When these arteries become seriously blocked, blood flow through part of the heart can cease. This may result in a heart attack.
Heart attacks related to coronary heart disease are among the most common causes of death and disability for older Americans. Fortunately, many such heart attacks can be prevented or forestalled with proactive heart bypass surgeries. In other cases, heart bypass surgeries that are performed on patients who recently suffered heart attacks may help to prevent future attacks.
There are several different types of bypass surgery: single, double, triple and quadruple. These designations indicate the number of blocked coronary blood vessels that a given procedure will bypass. Once regarded as virtually impossible, quadruple bypass surgeries are now quite common. In fact, prominent figures like Bill Clinton have undergone quadruple bypass surgeries with relatively few complications. For a complex surgery, the procedure has a surprisingly high success rate. However, this surgery can't treat the underlying causes of coronary heart disease. Many individuals who receive heart bypass surgeries remain fundamentally unhealthy and may suffer heart attacks, strokes or other acute medical problems related to heart disease.
If you or one of your loved ones is planning on undergoing heart bypass surgery, you should prepare yourself to pay a substantial fee for the procedure. Even if you have a solid insurance plan, it's likely that you'll have to pay the full value of your deductible towards the procedure. If your health insurance policy requires you to pay certain coinsurance costs for serious procedures, your out-of-pocket liability will be several times the amount of your deductible.
Without any sort of health insurance coverage, your out-of-pocket expenses for a simple heart bypass surgery are likely to exceed $70,000. Surgeries that require large numbers of individual bypasses may cost upwards of $100,000. These quoted fees typically don't include doctor's and surgeon's fees. These add-ons can increase the cost of a complicated surgery by $5,000 or more. Likewise, a surgery that becomes complicated or requires an additional post-operative stay can quickly exceed its budgeted cost. If you or your loved one suffers medical complications during your surgery, the final cost of the procedure may be as much as $200,000.