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The Most Surgical Time of the Year

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Panama City, Fla. — Steve McNeil saved $3000 dollars by moving his surgery up one week. His doctor had originally slated his operation to start at the beginning of next year, but McNeil told him he’d already paid off his deductible for this year. If the surgery took place a week before the New Year, he wouldn’t have to pay a new deductible on January 1st.

“It didn’t seem like it was a new reaction, it sounded like he’d heard it before,” McNeil said of his doctor’s response to the requested date change. “I didn’t even have to explain it; as soon as I said it he understood that was a lot of money to come up with.”

According to surgeons at Bay Medical Center, more and more people are choosing to go under the knife during the holidays. Due to higher deductibles and the availability of holiday vacation days, it’s easier and more cost-effective to end the year in the operating room. Dr. Glenn Summers, a general surgeon at Bay Medical Center, said they get requests all the time to move surgeries to the end of the year, and they try to accommodate them whenever possible.

“It becomes a busy time, when folks have to juggle their decision making in order to make the best choices for the whole year,” Summers said. “It’s becoming an expected thing, especially as folks have had to deal with bigger deductibles, and insurance is more expensive and harder to get.”

Perhaps due to the holiday boom, Summers said January and February are often a little less crowded. But he said the emergency room is never dark, and pneumonia and the flu cases tend to pick up during those months.

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