Cataract diag - let the upsell begin!

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Daisy Dog
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Cataract diag - let the upsell begin!

Post by Daisy Dog » Tue Dec 13, 2011 7:56 am

I was diagnosed with cataracts and got a recommendation from a highly respected retina specialist in Ft Myers FL who my husband has been seeing. As I walked into the cataract doc's (palatial) offices I was dismayed to find they had a Botox department - (not that I'm against Botox,,but puhleez, when I'm having eye surgery I want someone dedicated to that.) Anyway, the doctor examined me and determined I needed cataract surgery (I heartily concurred!) and told me my options. He said Medicare would only pay for the basic surgery but I could opt (and pay for!) the lens called Crystal Lens. He explained how my vision would be almost perfect although I might need readers, but maybe not.

Then he ushered me out and I was greeted by two women who took me into a little office and went over my "options." It turns out that the Crystal Lens deal is only $5900 per eye! And then I could get a discount on Botox too.

I had no idea if $5900 was appropriate for that type of surgery so I searched the net. I couldn't find any posts as recent as 2011 but all the earlier posts went from a couple of thousand to around $3000 per eye.

Has anyone had this surgery and if so what did it cost? (And how did your Botox work out...ha ha.)

Daisy Dog

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HardKnocker
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Re: Cataract diag - let the upsell begin!

Post by HardKnocker » Tue Dec 13, 2011 8:00 am

I'd find another doctor. This guy sounds like a shark.

And his prices are too high.
“Gold gets dug out of the ground, then we melt it down, dig another hole, bury it again and pay people to stand around guarding it. It has no utility.”--Warren Buffett

dhodson
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Re: Cataract diag - let the upsell begin!

Post by dhodson » Tue Dec 13, 2011 8:30 am

If you really want the potential for vision better than just cataract removal then its something to look into but those types of procedures are typically something where you should see 2 or 3 physicians before proceeding. It is an area of medicine where there seems to be something new every other day but that doesnt mean you want something new. By seeing the other 2 folks, you will get an idea what your other options are out there besides just this procedure for vision beyond just cataract removal. If you would be happy with just cataract removal then dont spend the time or money. It can be very difficult to know how much "Better vision" will be worth to you. For my father, he was fairly satisfied but he was wearing coke bottles. For others i know, its fine but each procedure has its potential negatives. Most areas of medicine you actually dont need a second opinion before proceeding (unless u have doubts about the person you saw) but this is an area where i think its worth doing that.

Performing botox isnt very complicated so i wouldnt get too worried about the office doing that. Its common in many busy practices since it makes money and is relatively an easy procedure to perform.

As a point of reference, i am a physician but i do not specialize in eye problems.

rotorhead
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Re: Cataract diag - let the upsell begin!

Post by rotorhead » Tue Dec 13, 2011 9:23 am

Find another cataract surgeon right away! The science of cataract surgery is very well developed now; and there are lots of good cataract surgeons in FL. Don't be in a hurry, and check them out. Talk to their patients.

And don't do both eyes at the same time. I had cataract surgery on both eyes (intraocular implant); first one in 1998 and second in 2001. Cost for each one was about $3,000; ins paid $2,500, and I paid the rest.

Since the surgery I am 20/20 on one side, and 20/30 on the other; although I still need 2x reading glasses for the close up stuff. I get them at CVS for $15.00. The beauty is it will always be that way now.

I also had emergency retinal surgery in 2006; but that's another story - that one was scary; but a happy ending.

Brody
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Re: Cataract diag - let the upsell begin!

Post by Brody » Tue Dec 13, 2011 9:57 am

My dad is 76 and just had it done. For the first time since he was 13, he doesn't need glasses for seeing far.
I am the poster formerly known as Oneanddone.

hidesert
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Re: Cataract diag - let the upsell begin!

Post by hidesert » Tue Dec 13, 2011 11:15 am

I had lens replacement done in 2006 as elective surgery when I was 58. My cataract wasn't yet bad enough to qualify for insurance reimbursement but I mainly wanted my near-sightedness corrected. It cost me a total of $4800 to have both eyes done. I set up my Flexible Spending plan at work to set aside this money so it was pre-tax. Be sure you completely understand the lens options. There are tradeoffs to the multifocal lenses. I elected the single vision type in both eyes to have the best distant vision. Bear in mind that one loses all focusing ability with this type and reading glasses are necessary. I am extremely pleased with my choice and the result. My vision is 20/20 in one eye and 20/15 in the other. I was fortunate in having a good eye doc. Not all are as skilled. This is one of the most common surgeries for older adults under Medicare.

Daisy Dog
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Re: Cataract diag - let the upsell begin!

Post by Daisy Dog » Tue Dec 13, 2011 5:31 pm

Thanks for the comments everyone. I guess I'll have to go through another visit to an eye doctor and ick, I'm so tired of it. First I went to the optometrist up north, then came to FL and went to the referring physician down here and then to the $$$$ doc. It's unanimous that I have a really bad cataract in my left eye but only the third doctor is a cataract surgeon.

I could never feel good about going to the pricey doctor. My gut tells me his fees are quite out of line. I think my next step is to call his office and at least let them know how I feel.

Then (big sigh) I'll start the process all over.

Thanks.

Daisy Dog

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Watty
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Re: Cataract diag - let the upsell begin!

Post by Watty » Tue Dec 13, 2011 5:51 pm

Whenever I have ignored my gut feel about someone I am doing business with have regretted it.

Find another eye doctor.

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gatorking
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Re: Cataract diag - let the upsell begin!

Post by gatorking » Tue Dec 13, 2011 6:25 pm


lws6772
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Re: Cataract diag - let the upsell begin!

Post by lws6772 » Tue Dec 13, 2011 6:42 pm

I had both eyes done in 2009 for $1300(total cost), with traditional IOLs(intraocular lens) by the best doc I could find in my area. Excellent results!
Rule 1. Never lose money. Rule 2. Never forget Rule 1.

rupalb9
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Re: Cataract diag - let the upsell begin!

Post by rupalb9 » Tue Dec 13, 2011 8:24 pm

I am in Silicon Valley.
I had both eyes operated upon for cataracts recently by http://www.changcataract.com/
A relative who is an ophthalmologist suggested that I go to him because he is very well known as an expert and innovator.
My eyes were operated upon 2 weeks apart. I chose simple lenses and now need (cheap) reading glasses.
--- Costs for 2 eyes ---
Surgery Center: Billed $10,400. Insurance paid: $4,640. My co-pay: $516.
Anesthesiologists: Billed: $1,080. Insurance paid: $922. My co-pay: $103.
Surgeon billed: $6,000. Insurance paid: $1,650. My co-pay: $184.
Up-sell: The surgeon recommended that I get astigmatism removed during surgery for $350 per eye. I decided to get that done. Not covered by insurance. I paid: $700.
---
My grand total: $1,533.
---
Rupert

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LonePrairie
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Re: Cataract diag - let the upsell begin!

Post by LonePrairie » Tue Dec 13, 2011 8:50 pm

If you were in Northern California I would recommend the excellent eye surgeon who removed my cataract in 2009. There was no upselling; in fact, the reverse. If I were you, I'd find another doctor.

Medicare was primary and my group insurance paid the rest, so I paid only a copay on some very expensive eye drops.

An eye exam last week showed that I still have 20/20 vision. I wear drugstore +1.50 glasses to use the computer and read.

Good luck to you. If the cataract is so bad that it's affecting your vision, I think you'll be glad to have had the surgery. I should have had mine done sooner.

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magellan
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Re: Cataract diag - let the upsell begin!

Post by magellan » Tue Dec 13, 2011 9:01 pm

I had one eye done this year with a basic distance lens and it worked out great. I use a contact in my other eye that has a half power correction. Now, with both eyes, I get decent vision for near and far without glasses. When the cataract in my other eye is ready, I'm not sure if I'll have it fully corrected for distance or if I'll make the monovision permanent. I'm leaning toward monovision, but I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.

I considered the premium lens and I spent hours researching it online. Apparently only around 8% of patients go for a presbyopia correcting lens. I would have done it in a heartbeat, but the technology seemed just a bit immature for my taste.

BTW, as far as the actual procedure - I've had worse visits to the dentist. Aside from being home-bound for a day or so it was a walk in the park, especially considering the payoff. I had light sensitivity for a couple of days and wore glasses for eye protection for the first few days after surgery. The biggest headache was probably the complicated eye-drop schedule in the days before and after the procedure.

Jim

dpc
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Re: Cataract diag - let the upsell begin!

Post by dpc » Wed Dec 14, 2011 12:14 pm

I had both eyes operated upon for cataracts recently by http://www.changcataract.com/
FWIW, there is some great info on this website on cataracts and cataract surgery. Thanks for the link.
"Worrying is like paying interest on a debt that you might never owe" -- Will Rogers

Mitchell777
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Re: Cataract diag - let the upsell begin!

Post by Mitchell777 » Wed Dec 14, 2011 12:42 pm

I am not suggesting the Dr you saw was not excellent, or that the referral was not made with the best of intentions. Note that retinal surgeons get their business from referrals. The Dr's that sometimes send them the most referrels are cataract surgeons that have the most post-surgery complications (retinal tears and detachments are the most common serious complication especially for patients that are near-sighted). Although it may be a hassle seek out 2 or 3 cataract surgeons and see them. Retinal surgeons are a great source for referrals. They know the Dr's with the most complications. What I always do is ask my doctor for the best referral and tell him It will be confidential just between us (I've found they are sometimes hesitant to refer me to someone other than the Dr that may have sent me to them). Lastly, the East Coast of USA has a few of the best Eye Institutes in the world. Wills, Johns Hopkins, and Bascom Palmer(in Miami). I'd drive over to Miami if you are concerned about finding a good Dr.
Very best of luck

leonard
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Re: Cataract diag - let the upsell begin!

Post by leonard » Wed Dec 14, 2011 2:32 pm

Find comps and then negotiate. You are actually in a fairly strong negotiating position, since the doctor not only stands to lose your business but your husbands as well.

Also, the extravagant spending on a fancy office implies the prices are running too high anyway.

Nothing to lose by trying.
Leonard | | Market Timing: Do you seriously think you can predict the future? What else do the voices tell you? | | If employees weren't taking jobs with bad 401k's, bad 401k's wouldn't exist.

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Munir
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Re: Cataract diag - let the upsell begin!

Post by Munir » Wed Dec 14, 2011 2:34 pm

I had both eyes done (three weeks apart) last month. Medicare and Medigap paid everything. Mono-ocular implants. I did pay $70 extra per eye for high definition lenses (my choice). No facility fee (surgery center), surgeon fee, or anesthesia fee (local drops + IV sedation). I asked for generic eye drops so part D Medicare plan covered them as generic medications. Having my permanent eye refraction next week but up till now am very happy with results.

Munir (retired M.D.)
Last edited by Munir on Wed Dec 14, 2011 6:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Tony
Posts: 217
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Crystal Lens

Post by Tony » Wed Dec 14, 2011 3:00 pm

Daisy Dog wrote:I was diagnosed with cataracts and got a recommendation from a highly respected retina specialist in Ft Myers FL who my husband has been seeing. As I walked into the cataract doc's (palatial) offices I was dismayed to find they had a Botox department - (not that I'm against Botox,,but puhleez, when I'm having eye surgery I want someone dedicated to that.) Anyway, the doctor examined me and determined I needed cataract surgery (I heartily concurred!) and told me my options. He said Medicare would only pay for the basic surgery but I could opt (and pay for!) the lens called Crystal Lens. He explained how my vision would be almost perfect although I might need readers, but maybe not.

Then he ushered me out and I was greeted by two women who took me into a little office and went over my "options." It turns out that the Crystal Lens deal is only $5900 per eye! And then I could get a discount on Botox too.

I had no idea if $5900 was appropriate for that type of surgery so I searched the net. I couldn't find any posts as recent as 2011 but all the earlier posts went from a couple of thousand to around $3000 per eye.

Has anyone had this surgery and if so what did it cost? (And how did your Botox work out...ha ha.)

Daisy Dog
Hi Daisy,

I had cataract surgery on both eyes a year ago and got the Crystal Lenses. I think it cost about $23-2500 per eye (on top of what Medicare picked up). Arount $6-700 of the $23-2500 was for the outpatient surgery department of the hospital. Then there was the cost of the lens. I could check these figures if you want to PM me. I figure I'm coming out way ahead in the long run, because I don't have to get new lenses and frames every so often - frames seem to be getting outrageously expensive.

I was told I might not have to use glasses at all, and in fact I don't. I'm really pleased. I notice that my vision isn't quite as good as my spouse's corrected vision, but it's excellent anyway - I think around 20/20.

The doc said that not everyone is an appropriate patient for Crystal Lens. The younger and healthier you are, the better.

The opthalmologist I went to was highly recommended by my own Family Physician, who herself is well-respected in the community (head of medical staff of the local hospital). He had many diplomas from top universities.
The care both before and after surgery was excellent. There were about 3 weeks between the two eye surgeries. I think I had a total of 11 appointments with the doc in all. I did what research I could about Crystal Lenses, but it was hard to tell. I was mainly convinced to go ahead by the fact that the doc had performed many cataract operations using them for several years and that the lenses themselves were now into their 5th generation.

I'd recommend Crystal Lenses, but don't go ahead until you're completely confident that the doctor can do it right. How many has s/he put in? The prices you were quoted are outrageous!

Good luck and best wishes.
Tony

PaulW
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Re: Cataract diag - let the upsell begin!

Post by PaulW » Wed Dec 14, 2011 3:16 pm

In 2007, I received a lens with the name ReSTOR. As I recall, my physician said that he could not tell until beginning the surgery if this lens would be suitable for me. He told me that it would take several months to adapt to it and that I would also need to learn the proper distance for reading. Adequate light was also important. I have been very pleased and do not need any glasses for reading (my age is 67). As I recall, the additional cost was $2,000 and was not covered by insurance.

Since that time I have ask him why this lens is not used on more people. He said that only about 1 in 8 is a good candidate for the use of this lens.

As this was 4 years ago, I'm sure there are many newer products and proceedures but I am very happy with what I have.

Paul

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MoreCowbell
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Re: Cataract diag - let the upsell begin!

Post by MoreCowbell » Wed Dec 14, 2011 5:14 pm

Hi Daisy,

I'd like to second Mitchell777 above, and suggest that you take the 2-1/2 hour drive to Bascom Palmer in Miami.

I'm an ophthalmologist myself, and many of my colleagues consider BP the top department in the country.

Surely, you could find an excellent ophthalmologist in Ft. Meyers, but if you don't know who to ask this would be a good place to start.
Dan

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