Pay Now
Client Login

When employees require surgery, the costs to employers can be immense—not only the direct medical bills but also lost productivity from time off work. However, a growing number of employers are realizing that many recommended surgeries may be unnecessary. By offering employees access to second opinion consultations through virtual health partners, employers can enjoy significant savings per avoided surgery while improving worker health outcomes.

The High Costs of Surgery

According to data, the average cost of common surgeries ranges from over $18,000 for a knee arthroscopy to over $110,000 for a spinal fusion. Even “minor” procedures like a tonsillectomy can cost from $3,500 to nearly $9,000.

For employers who pay a portion of employee medical bills, these costs quickly add up. A company with just 100 workers could easily spend $500,000 a year on surgeries alone.

Additionally, employees undergoing surgery require considerable time off work to recover. The average recovery time for an orthopedic procedure is 12 weeks, but it can be longer for a more complicated procedure. At a median weekly salary of $1,100, that results in $13,200 in lost wages per surgery – not counting the costs of hiring temps or paying overtime.

How Second Opinions Prevent Unneeded Surgeries

According to experts, up to 30% of medical services in the U.S. may be unnecessary. This includes procedures like spinal fusions, hysterectomies, prostate removals, and knee arthroscopies.

By providing employees access to second opinion consultations, employers give workers the chance to ensure surgery is truly the best option. Top specialists review the employee’s records and provide an expert perspective on whether alternative treatments like physical therapy or medication could be effective.

According to one major second opinion provider, over 70% of patients who consult with their specialists are given a diagnosis change or recommended alteration to their treatment plan. For musculoskeletal issues, in particular, the average savings from avoided surgery is $36,000 per patient.

The Benefits of Second Opinion Programs

Offering a second opinion program through a virtual health partner provides advantages both for employees and employers.

For employees, key benefits include:

  • Convenient access to top specialists without travel
  • Faster answers, with appointments in days instead of months
  • Improved treatment plans and medical outcomes
  • Avoiding unnecessary surgeries and associated risks
  • Reduced time off work for recovery.

For employers, benefits include:

  • Significant savings for each avoided surgery
  • Lower insurance premiums as unnecessary costs are reduced
  • Less spent on hiring temporary workers or paying overtime
  • Improved productivity as workers recover quicker
  • Boosted worker morale and retention.

Best Practices for Implementation

Implementing a second opinion program requires partnering with a respected virtual health provider. The best solutions offer access to multiple top U.S. hospitals and health systems, along with an efficient intake process to collect medical records.

Key best practices include:

  • Promoting the program in new hire packets, e-newsletters, and other employee communications
  • Training benefits administrators and HR staff on how to refer interested employees
  • Streamlining intake procedures to make the process simple for workers
  • Following up with employees after the consultation to document outcomes
  • Tracking program ROI through costs avoided.

For employers facing rising healthcare expenses, second opinions represent an innovative way to reduce costs while also improving worker health. By avoiding unnecessary surgeries, companies can save thousands productive workers.

For more employee benefits resources, contact INSURICA today.

Copyright © 2023 Smarts Publishing. This is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel or an insurance professional for appropriate advice. 

About the Author


Share This Story

Stay Updated

Subscribe to the INSURICA blog and receive the latest news direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to the blog

Related Blogs

Preventing Burnout in Working Parents Helps Employers

May 3rd, 2024|Blog, Employee Benefits|

For companies aiming to elevate productivity, engagement, and loyalty in the workforce, prioritizing support for working parents may be a wise investment. Experts agree the stress of balancing professional and family obligations exacts a significant toll, frequently culminating in burnout — and businesses bear the brunt of the consequences.

Using Employee Feedback to Optimize Benefits Packages

May 2nd, 2024|Blog, Employee Benefits, Trending|

As employers look to reduce spending, many are slashing essential worker benefits like 401(k) plans, health insurance, and tuition assistance. However, experts warn against indiscriminately axing the costliest perks employees rely on. They say a better strategy is identifying underutilized offerings to cut and reallocating those dollars toward in-demand benefits.

The Game-Changing Benefit You’ve Been Overlooking: SECURE 2.0’s Student Loan Matching

May 1st, 2024|Blog, Employee Benefits|

A key provision in the SECURE 2.0 Act that took effect January 1 could be a game-changer for employers looking to assist workers with student debt while also bolstering retirement savings.

Go to Top