Costs & Insurance
Understanding and Comparing Gamma Knife Costs
We are glad to work with you to explain the financial details of your treatment at MidMichigan Medical Center-Midland. We can also work with your insurance company or help arrange payment plans, as needed. Here are some tips you might find helpful as you work through the financial arrangements regarding your treatment.
Costs to Consider
As you are considering costs or comparing options, it is important to understand the different expenses involved with your treatment:
- Neurosurgeon and Radiation Oncologist fees ("physician components")
- MRI Scan
- MRI interpretation by a Radiologist
- Hospital fees for planning and treatment ("technical component")
- Pharmacy costs (if you are given prescriptions to be filled at home)
- Travel expenses
We know this can be confusing, so MidMichigan is committed to helping you understand and deal with the financial elements of your treatment. The following sections provide help based on your payment approach.
Although every plan is different, Gamma Knife® surgery is generally covered by most insurance plans. It is not experimental, and larger insurance companies are experienced in covering Gamma Knife as a cost-effective form of stereotactic radiosurgery. Our staff will talk to your insurance company as needed. Keep these items in mind:
- Hospital bill - Your hospital bill (sometimes called the "technical component" of your treatment) may include several parts, such as a "planning" and a "treatment" charge.
- Physician fees - Charges by your physicians are billed separately and not included in your hospital bill. You should expect one bill for the neurosurgeon and another for the radiation oncologist. Depending on your insurance, physician fees may have different co-pay or deductibles than the hospital portion.
- MRI scan - on the day of your treatment, you will have an MRI scan (or sometimes, a CT scan) with a head frame in place. This is billed separately by another MidMichigan affiliate. The charge for a radiologist to read ("interpret") this scan is already included in the MRI bill; thus, when you are treated at MidMichigan you will not get a separate physician bill for this part of the service. Again, deductibles or co-pays may apply.
- Co-pays and Deductibles - Since all health plans are different, your insurance company is the best source for information about your specific coverage and out-of-pocket expenses.
- Case complexity - The cost of the technical component of your treatment will vary depending on its complexity. Like many centers, we classify cases as simple, intermediate or complex.
- Outpatient stay - Generally, Gamma Knife treatment is an outpatient procedure. However sometimes patients will have more serious medical conditions that will require an over-night stay the night before the procedure.
- Overnight stays - In a few cases, patients will need to stay overnight for observation after their procedure. In this case, you would likely still be considered an outpatient for billing purposes. However, a patient required to stay overnight before a procedure is generally considered an inpatient.
Self-Pay or International Patients
If you are an international or self-pay patient, we understand that getting full, comparable information regarding treatment components and pricing is important to you. Our Gamma Knife coordinator will be glad to speak with you personally about how to compare costs accurately so you can find the location best suited to your treatment. Make sure to ask us about:
- Bundled Price - We offer "bundled" pricing for self-pay patients. Since insurance companies are not involved, we are able to simplify our billing.
- What is Included - The bundled cost will include the hospital and physician components; the MRI (or CT) scan and its interpretation; and your local lodging and shuttle transportation through our Hospitality Service described below.
Lodging, Food & Transportation
- Hospitality Service - You will generally arrive the day before your procedure to complete a medical history and physical examination, meet your physician and complete any other preliminary work. The Medical Center offers lodging with the Baymont Inn & Suites for our out-of-town patients and their family. This enables our patients to stay in town at a reasonable cost and avoid lengthy and tiring trips. More information is available on our hospitality service page.
Our patients generally plan on one or two nights' stay - the day before the surgery and, if needed, the night after the surgery. While these modest costs may be tax deductible, they are not covered by insurance. Talk with your tax advisor for more information.
- Meals - MidMichigan will provide meals for you and cafeteria coupons for your family while you are with us in the hospital. Our staff is known for making excellent restaurant recommendations for the remainder of your stay in Midland. As with lodging, your meal expenses may be tax deductible.
- Easy Airport Access - MBS International Airport is located about 20 minutes from the Medical Center. It is served by United and Northwest airlines. Private planes may also consider Jack Barstow Airport in Midland. If you are planning to fly to Midland, ask us about options for car rentals or transportation assistance. Transportation expenses may also be tax deductible.
- If you live a distance from the Medical Center, but can't afford the cost of air transportation, ask our Gamma Knife Coordinator about volunteer organizations that may be able to provide air transportation assistance.
- Maps and Driving Directions - Ask our Gamma Knife Coordinator for a map of Midland and the Medical Center campus.
Your Next Step
Contact our Gamma Knife Coordinator with your questions, or to request a review of your scans to see if Gamma Knife surgery might be right for you. Phone toll free (866) MI-GAMMA (644-2662) or contact us by fax, e-mail or postal mail.
Gamma Knife® is a registered trademark of Elekta Group.