Can Second Opinions Really Save Money?

September 1, 2023 by MORE Health Staff

As a company specializing in Expert Medical Opinions, we are often asked, “Can Second Opinions Really Save Money?” Yes, they can. And here’s why. 

Second opinions help avoid unnecessary surgeries and treatments

Having a leading physician specialist review your case can help determine if a recommended surgery or treatment is necessary or if there is an alternative. Many people don’t realize that 20% of all surgeries performed each year in the U.S. are deemed unnecessary.
Take the case of one of our patients with epilepsy; for privacy, we’ll call her Sue. Sue’s neurologist recommended Gamma Knife surgery when her seizures came on more frequently. Concerned by the assessment, she initiated her MORE Health Second Opinion Benefit. A leading specialist in our provider network virtually reviewed Sue’s case.

The expert concluded that Gamma Knife surgery would be a critical mistake for her type of epilepsy, posing significant health risks without any corresponding benefits. The specialist determined the appropriate medication for Sue’s epilepsy, and guess what? She hasn’t had a seizure since. Sue avoided a risky surgery, and on top of that, she saved money and saved her Employer up to $46,293. Now, that’s what we call a win-win scenario.
Getting a second opinion is not just a good idea but crucial for the best possible health outcome.


Second opinions can identify a misdiagnosis

Marc Shuman, M.D., a leading hematologist and President of Medical Programs at MORE Health, says, “The first thing I ask patients diagnosed with cancer who have not been treated yet is ‘How certain is your physician of the diagnosis?’ Because everything starts from there. If you don’t have the correct diagnosis, you don’t have the right treatment.”

Imagine you are diagnosed with cancer and go through treatment, only to find out the treatment didn’t work. Sadly, we’ve worked with patients in that situation. An expert second opinion confirmed that their previous treatment didn’t work because the diagnosis was incorrect.

The patients we’ve seen are not alone. In fact, a study by Mayo Clinic found that 88% of patients who sought a second opinion received a changed or altered diagnosis. If that’s not a compelling enough reason to seek a second opinion for serious illness, consider this: Of all surgeries performed, stents, bypass surgeries, and spinal surgeries have the highest rates of misdiagnosis. You may be alarmed to discover that 40% of stents, 60% of bypass surgeries, and 55% of spinal surgeries are misdiagnosed.

Identifying the correct diagnosis can help prevent unnecessary tests, treatments, or surgeries. In addition, by providing the right diagnosis and treatment at the right time, patients and companies can save money on healthcare costs.

Second Opinions may reveal alternative treatment options

Sometimes a second opinion can provide alternative treatment plans that uncover less expensive treatment options; what’s more, they’re often better for the patient’s health too.

For example, one of our patients, we’ll call him Jeff, initiated a second opinion after his local cardiologist told him he needed a stent. Jeff was grateful he got a second opinion. The specialist who reviewed the case determined that stress reduction tactics—not surgery—would positively affect Jeff’s cardiovascular health. After a prescribed vacation, Jeff’s symptoms disappeared. He returned to work without undergoing an expensive, invasive, and completely unnecessary procedure, saving his employer $61,184 in healthcare costs.

People tend to think that a second opinion will bring about more tests and exams and cost more money, though it’s quite the opposite. Getting a second opinion gives individuals the patient advocacy they need to make the best decisions for their health and finances. Expert opinions also help fully-insured employers reduce their cost of claims, and self-insured groups combat rising healthcare costs.

About MORE Health®

MORE Health is a global digital health company known for giving individuals access to the best medical minds in the world when facing a serious illness or diagnosis. Recognized as a leader in cross-border telemedicine, MORE Health delivers virtual Expert Medical Opinions from world-leading specialists by pairing technology and world-class service. This service is available to groups of any size in the U.S. and abroad as an employee benefit or on an individual self-pay basis. Since 2013, MORE Health has helped patients on six continents and continues its mission to provide patient advocacy to clients and members worldwide when they need it most.

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