How will the Affordable Care Act impact our cosmetic procedures?

On January 1, 2014, millions of Americans will have new health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. While our services at St. Louis Cosmetic Surgery are cosmetic, and therefore not covered by insurance, our patients may still feel the effects on the healthcare industry.

When patients come in to our office to schedule a breast augmentation or a tummy tuck, the one thing we have under our control is the surgeon’s fee, the fee paid to our doctor for his time. However, the total cost of the surgery is made up of much more than the surgeon’s fee. Hospitals and surgery centers charge for use of their operating rooms, by the hour, and anesthesiologists are also billed separately. Because the hospitals and surgery centers deal with cases that are covered by insurance, their costs on January 1 are likely to rise, as they will receive less compensation for surgical and medical services from insurance. It’s possible that these cost increases will be passed down to the patient.

Medical devices such as breast implants may also incur new taxes under the Affordable Care Act, if the Medical Device Tax is not repealed. The cost of implants is another factor that we do not control; therefore the patient would bear the brunt of the increase.

We pride ourselves on patient education at St. Louis Cosmetic Surgery, so we wanted to make sure our patients were informed of what could happen. If anyone is on the fence, and debating about when to have a cosmetic procedure, it might be a good idea to schedule that procedure before December 31, to make sure the costs remain the same as they are now.

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