Anesthesia is used to block pain, relax you or control how awake you are. It is used during surgery or other complex procedures. You may need anesthesia even if you’re not in an operating room. An anesthesiologist may manage pain during an acute sickness or a condition like cancer. He or she might also treat you when you give birth or for outpatient tests like endoscopies.
Suppose you’re planning a procedure that calls for anesthesia. Then, it’s important to know how these services work. That’s because they are often billed and paid separately from your procedure. Anesthesia providers may not be connected with your hospital or your doctor’s practice. That can leave you with high out-of-pocket costs.
Anesthesia is often provided by an anesthesiologist. But, a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) or anesthesiologist assistant (AA) can also administer anesthesia.
- Understanding anesthesia costs. The price of anesthesia is based on several things. They include the difficulty of the procedure, the time it took and “modifying factors” like the patient’s health. The formula for anesthesia charges also includes a dollar value that depends on your location.
Avoiding high out-of-pocket costs. Before your procedure, make sure to find out:
- Whether the anesthesiologist who will provide your care is in your plan’s network;
- How much she or he will charge; and
- How much your plan will cover.
If the anesthesiologist is not in your network, you can ask for a provider who is.
Most people think of the anesthesiologist as the person who puts them to sleep before surgery and wakes them up when it’s over. That’s true, but they actually do much more. During and after your surgery, the anesthesiologist makes sure you are comfortable, that your breathing, heart rate and blood pressure are steady, and that you aren’t feeling any pain.