Enhance Health

How Much Does Surgery Cost Without Insurance?

Although you may take the very best care of your health, there’s always the chance that you may develop a serious medical condition. Even if not, accidents can happen. And you may one day need to have surgery, which can be very expensive.

It doesn’t have to be a very complicated surgery, either. Even minor procedures can be costly. If you don’t have health insurance, you might be ill-prepared for these unexpected expenses. 

How much does surgery cost without insurance? And can you afford to risk your health in this way?

In this guide, we examined the costs of surgical procedures without insurance, and what drives those medical bills so high. We also compiled tips for saving money for such life events.

The Cost Of Surgery Without Insurance

You could end up paying up to $170,000 for a surgical procedure with no insurance. Needless to say, few people have that sort of money just lying around. This is why having surgery without insurance is just not an option for most people.

Unfortunately, it is usually the more urgent surgeries that are the most expensive. The more invasive and complex the surgery is, the more it will cost. This depends on several factors which will get to in a moment. But first, let’s look at typical average costs for different common surgeries.

Average Costs For Different Types Of Surgeries

It is impossible to give the exact cost of every surgery, as there can be a wide variation in prices. But these are the average costs that you might incur in the US for common surgical procedures that have no complications or extenuating medical circumstances.

LASIK Eye Surgery

LASIK Eye Surgery is the most common laser refractive surgery procedure to correct vision problems. It can be performed as an outpatient procedure and that makes it very convenient for people who need to get back to their daily routine as quickly as possible.

LASIK eye surgery is certainly a more affordable procedure than major surgeries. It will cost about $4600 on average, for both eyes. But this is still a lot of money if you don’t have any form of health insurance to help with the expense.


If you suffer from severe uterine fibroids or other uterine problems or have cancer in this area, you may be scheduled for a hysterectomy. This is a surgical procedure to remove all or a part of the uterus. 

But the cost of a hysterectomy without insurance can be much higher than you think. A hysterectomy will cost on average $15,400 without insurance.

Gastric Bypass Surgery

If you are obese and it is affecting your health, your doctor may schedule you for a gastric bypass. Gastric bypass surgery is sometimes the only option for cutting the risk of potentially life-threatening weight-related health conditions. 

The cost of gastric bypass surgery without insurance is about $24,300 on average but can be vastly different from one medical facility to another.


Coronary artery disease is a very serious condition. You may need to have a surgical procedure called an angioplasty. This is a minimally invasive procedure used to widen the coronary artery (or arteries) that is blocked. You could pay about $28,200 for an angioplasty.

Knee Replacement

Knee problems are very common, especially in seniors. But how much does knee surgery cost without insurance? Worn-out knee joints can be replaced but at a great cost. A knee replacement procedure will set you back about $35,000.


If you have a heart condition, you might have had to have a pacemaker installed. This controls the electrical actions of the heart. 

A pacemaker or heart-assist implant can cost up to $96,000 and even more. This will depend on the type of pacemaker, the location of your hospital, and the duration of your stay.

However, if this ever needs to be replaced or removed, it will incur even further high costs. Removing a pacemaker or defibrillator out-of-pocket costs on average $52,000 or more.

Back Surgery

How much does back surgery cost without insurance? Extreme scoliosis or another spinal issue can be debilitating and also expensive. 

If your doctor determines that a spinal fusion is necessary to stabilize your spine, you’ll need a lot of money to pay for it. Expect to pay about $110,000 for a spinal fusion.

Heart Bypass Surgery

Heart bypass surgery sometimes has to be performed as an emergency procedure. This will catch you unprepared.

But even if you have a scheduled heart bypass, you’ll need to spend several days in the hospital. Out-of-pocket expenses for heart bypass surgery are approximately $123,000.

7 Factors That Affect The Cost Of Surgery

Stressed about how to pay for surgery without insurance? The truth is, even with insurance, most health plans will cover only medically necessary surgeries. 

Cosmetic procedures are usually not covered by insurance companies. Although, surgeries that appear to be cosmetic procedures, if they are deemed necessary for medical reasons, may be covered. 

Reconstructive surgeries such as a mastectomy, for example, would be covered by health insurance. 

But if you don’t have health insurance, even medically necessary surgeries will have to be paid for out of pocket. And as you can see, the costs for different surgical procedures vary considerably. The type of surgery that you need is not the only factor. 

There are many reasons why your surgery becomes much more expensive than you expected. Let’s take a closer look now at the main factors driving those costs.

Location Of Medical Facility

The location of the hospital/medical facility where you have your procedure can have a direct bearing on the cost you’ll pay. The type of hospital, its facilities, and the care offered can all affect the end costs. Certain surgeries will also be more expensive in some cities or states than others. 

Outpatient Procedure Versus Inpatient Care

Another big factor driving the price is whether your procedure can be performed as an outpatient or as inpatient care. Outpatient procedures are typically faster, less invasive, and require less staff. This doesn’t always mean that outpatient procedures are cheap. But they are more affordable, in general, than inpatient surgeries where you need to stay in the hospital overnight.

Pre-Op Procedures

Before you have your surgery, you’ll probably have to have various blood tests, ultrasounds, MRI scans, or x-rays. You will generally have to spend the night in the hospital before a major procedure to be prepped for surgery. This all costs money that is in addition to the cost of the actual surgery itself.

Medications/Anti-Rejection Medication/Anaesthesia 

Don’t forget about all the drugs used during or just before the operation, including anesthesia drugs. Then there are also medications prescribed for post-operative care, such as specialized drugs like anti-rejection medications. These are used for organ transplant procedures and certain heart operations.

Difficulty Of Procedure/Duration

Some medical procedures are far more specialized and will take more skill as well as a longer time to complete.  This affects the number and type of staff needed to attend, the operating theater requirements, and the time you’ll need to book the operating theater. 

Post-Operative Care

Post-operative care can also be expensive. You’ll need to spend a few days in the hospital after most types of surgery. So, you’ll incur costs for the room plus the care you receive.

Pre and post-operative care will not necessarily be as expensive as the surgery, but it also depends on how many days you have to stay in the hospital and what sort of diagnostic and follow-up tests they may have to do.

Unexpected Complications

Even the most basic of surgeries can lead to unexpected complications. These include reactions to anesthesia, uncontrolled bleeding, or the discovery of previously undetected medical issues. This would then require further medical intervention, which could drive your bill much higher than first anticipated.

Tips For Saving Money On Surgery Without Insurance

Nearly 30 million Americans have no health insurance. Luckily, there are several ways to deal with the high cost of medical procedures and surgeries. While they may not relieve you of this financial burden, they can make it lighter. 

Here are some of the best ways to prepare for upcoming surgery without insurance.

Start A Dedicated Savings Plan

If you have enough time before your surgery, you can start a savings plan dedicated to your surgery costs. If you already have a savings account with money set aside, this will help towards your medical expenses. And if you don’t have savings, this is a great time to start.

Ask your bank about savings options with the highest interest rate earnings. Set aside a sum of money each month, and add to it whenever you can. For example, if you get a bonus or extra commission, you can add this to your surgery savings fund.

Start A Crowdfunding Campaign

Start a crowdfunding campaign. This is relatively easy to do and you can appeal for assistance from helpful people towards your medical costs. Your social media accounts are the best platform for starting such a campaign.

Many other people across the world have turned to medical crowdfunding for help. Good samaritans can send funds to you directly via a payment platform. Explain what the surgery is, what it’s needed for, and how much it will cost. Also, list other expenses relating to the surgery like the cost of postoperative care. 

Ask Your Medical Facility About A Payment Plan

Many hospitals and other medical facilities offer payment plans to private patients with no health insurance. If you are concerned about meeting the costs of your surgery, this is probably the best place to start.

You also have the right to ask the hospital upfront for an itemized statement of medical expenses. Please be aware, however, that medical emergencies and complications can always arise during any type of surgery. It is impossible for any hospital to accurately predict how this will affect your final bill.

Research Alternative Facilities Or Out Of State Options

Surgical costs differ drastically from state to state. It might be in your best interests to go out of state for your surgery. It could save you lots of money, particularly for more expensive and complex surgeries.

Don’t forget that different states have different facilities and medical professionals. The types of surgeries and procedures you need may be best addressed in some more than others. Speak to your doctor about the best options for your particular case.

Enquire About Generic Medications

Virtually every medical drug has a cheaper generic form. These drugs are often much cheaper than the conventional ones being prescribed. 

But generics may not always be suitable for your condition. Discuss this issue with your doctor. Ask which generic medications are available to you and if they will provide the same level of care.

How To Get Affordable Health Insurance

By now, you must realize the difficulties you will face when having surgery without health insurance. If you or a loved one needs surgery, or you think that a medical condition may lead to that in the future. Take action now. Living without health insurance will lead to financial difficulty in the long term.

And there is no need to take that risk. Check to see if you are eligible for Obamacare or Medicaid. Your surgery will be covered immediately as soon as you are covered. 

Medicaid is a form of healthcare insurance that provides health coverage to millions of American citizens, including low-income families, pregnant women, seniors, and people with physical disabilities. Medicaid is funded jointly by US states and the federal government. However, eligibility rules may differ from state to state.

Don’t worry if you don’t understand the jargon that is part and parcel of health insurance. We’re here to help. Our capable consultants here at Enhancehealth.com are standing by to help you with any queries you have about health plans. We’ll assist you in selecting health insurance that’s suitable for your needs and affordable too.

If you have limited financial means, don’t worry about affordability. There are health plans for lower-income households. And even employed people can have access to health insurance via the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare). Together, we’ll find the solution for your medical care needs.

Surgery Without Insurance Frequently Asked Questions

Can I have surgery without health insurance coverage?

Yes, you can, but it’s risky to do so. The possible expenses you will incur are high. And some states have a mandate and a penalty if you don’t have health insurance. It’s better to get yourself on an affordable healthcare plan as soon as possible. 

Can I delay surgery until I have health insurance?

This is something that you would need to discuss with your primary caregiver. If your surgery is not life-threatening and can be delayed, this may be your best option. If however, your surgery can’t wait, look into other possible sources of assistance like medical crowdfunding.

Can surgeries be made less expensive by cutting costs on certain items?

Not really, no. While you can ask for less expensive or generic drugs or a payment plan at the hospital, it’s ill-advised to cut corners on surgical procedures. No reputable hospital would do so, anyway. Rather investigate if your surgery can be done cheaper out of state.


Surgery without insurance can be a very expensive and traumatic experience. So don’t risk your physical or your financial health. Health insurance will give you peace of mind, and help you to deal with those unforeseen surgical expenses. 

Plans are available for lower-income and even no-income households. Contact us today for help with selecting the best healthcare plan for you and your family.

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