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Patient Update: Geoff On Heart Surgery Cost & Health Insurance

Posted by Adam Pick on May 1st, 2008

One set of recurring questions I receive from patients and caregivers relate to the costs of heart valve surgery and bypass operations. The questions typically go something like, “How much does a heart surgery cost?” or “How much does open heart surgery cost in the USA versus India?” or “How much will my insurance cover – including all the hospital costs, surgeon fees and anesthesia fees?”

This morning, I received an interesting email Geoff (pictured below with his fiancee). In preparing for his mitral valve replacement surgery, Jeff researched these topics and learned some interesting information. That said, I thought you might like to read the note Geoff sent me.

Geoff Beale And His Fiancee


Hi Adam,

I enjoyed reading your book and receiving the daily blog from you. The ideas, tips and patient stories provided have been very informative.

I wanted to give you an update on my condition and some insight that may help others when dealing with insurance companies. My surgery is scheduled for Tuesday, May 6th. The cardiac surgery is going to be performed at Duke by Dr. Glower. It is going to be a minimally invasive mitral valve repair/replacement. I’m hoping for a mitral valve repair but Dr. Glower said to be prepared for the heart valve replacement (just in case).

Dr. Donald Glower - Heart Surgeon at Duke
Dr. Donald Glower

Now for the best part… The insurance company called today and my pathetic insurance company is only going to pay a whopping $18k! I believe the billings are expected to be as high $120k plus. I am hoping that the contracted discount rates come through in a big way!

Please tell your readers to pay close attention to their policies. The line on mine that says “Miscellaneous applies to everything in the hospital except room and board and the surgeons fee”. It was only $15k. That’s a heck of a miscellaneous column! Good luck to all the readers out there. Thanks for sharing all your stories and insights!

Thanks for sharing Geoff!

If you would like to learn more about the costs of heart surgery, click the following links about heart valve replacement costs and heart valve repair costs.

Keep on tickin!

Adam Pick
Written by Adam Pick A dad, a husband and a patient, Adam Pick founded this website in 2006 to educate you about heart valve surgery from diagnosis to recovery.
You can get the latest updates about heart valve surgery from Adam at his Facebook, and Twitter pages. Click here to email him.


Leslie says on May 1st, 2008 at 2:48 pm

Geoff, good luck to you with your mitral valve repair. Glad to hear it will be minimally invasive – sometimes that means they still do a sternotomy, only a shorter incision. Will your doctor be using the robot? If so your incision will be in your right rib cage area.
I know how you feel about replacement v. repair and hope you will have the repair. When I came out of surgery I wanted my husband to flash the “1″ and then the “2″ sign with his fingers. That would mean 1, I had a repair, and 2, they were able to use the robot. I was glad to see both, but couldn’t say anything due to the darned ventilator. As for COSTS of MR repair surgery, yes, expensive isn’t it! My Blue Cross has a 30% deductible up to maximum of $6000 in any year. My surgery was approved as necessary, not elective, so I am busy paying off the $6000. I was lucky with my policy. You are right…everyone should check their coverage carefully and get it IN WRITING from their provider before surgery.
Best wishes to you Geoff!


Geoff says on May 1st, 2008 at 5:41 pm

Hi Leslie,

Thanks for your comment. Dr Glower said the incision will be on my right side. How long was the ventilator in and how well medicated do they keep you until it is out :-) ( I like to talk). Thanks



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