I should have addressed this before I waxed poetic about my stimulator. . . . The device and surgery are expensive and upkeep, like changing the battery, means more money spent over time. I know patients who have spent between $40,000 and $60,000 for the trial and implant combined. Some people pay out-of-pocket, some people are able to use insurance, and others join clinical trials, so they don’t have to pay anything.
A lot of people on forums have said that their insurance companies are pretty cooperative. If a company won’t cover the procedure specifically, many will still pay surgery and doctors’ fees. I’ve been told that a hospital prefers to have insurance cover the device so they know that they won’t get stuck with the bill when the battery is changed or if you have problems with the device that require surgery.
Tax breaks can cover quite a bit. If you spend more than 7.5% of your income in a given year on medical expenses, you qualify for a deduction on your federal return. You may also qualify for a state deduction.
One way I justified the cost is that if it helped me so much that I was able to work, my additional salary would cover the initial outlay. This hasn’t been the case yet, but I did get some pleasant surprises in tax breaks and insurance payments. Even if your insurance company is incredibly generous, it’s a lot of money for a “solution” with many unknowns.