How Much Do Tubes in Ears Cost?
Tubes in the ears are the most common outpatient procedure performed on children in the U.S. Also referred to as a tympanostomy tube insertion, the surgery is performed on children who have had severe ear infections that have affected their sense of hearing. The procedure treats the middle ear fluid, which, when it persists, can result in ear infections and hearing loss.
How much does it cost?
- On average, without insurance, be prepared to pay around $2,000 to as much as $5,000 to get tubes placed in your child’s ears. Since it is deemed a medical procedure, your health insurance policy should cover it. Be sure to check with your insurance provider to see what is going to be covered. A hospital setting is going to be higher than an outpatient or physician office.
- Depending on your insurance coverage, you will either have to pay your deductible, a set amount you have to cover per year before the insurance will pick anything up, or your copay, which is a percentage of the total cost of the surgery.
- According to ThePediaBlog.com, the average cost of ear tube surgeries is about $2,700.
- According to Eardoc.info, the cost of placing tubes in the ears of children with recurring ear infections ranges from $2,000 to $3,000 for those without insurance. For patients with insurance, the copay can be between $5 and $50 and the average insurance deductible is $500 to $2,000.
- For those who do not have insurance or are thinking about switching health insurance policies, be sure to browse through hundreds of services such as eHealthInsurance.com.
What is going to be included?
- Ear tubes are small round plastic-type tubes that drain ear fluids and air accumulated in the middle ear. Called grommets (tympanostomy or ventilation tubes) these items allow air into the space behind the ear drum (middle ear), which minimizes the possibility of fluid build-up. These tubes are inserted into a tiny slit on the patient’s ear drum during a quick operation. When ear infection occurs, the resultant pus flows out through the grommet, easing the patient’s pain. Most tubes often stay in place for approximately 6 to 18 months and then fall off on their own.
What are the extra costs?
- In many cases, the patient may experience a low-grade temperature on surgery day. A non-aspirin pain reliever may be prescribed to manage the condition.
- When an ear infection occurs with the tubes in place, prescribed topical treatments can be used instead of oral antibiotics.
- Separate fees, such as the surgeon, hospital and anesthesiologist, could be billed separately.
Tips to know:
- There are approximately 670,000 children each year who have ear tubes inserted. At $2,700 cost for each procedure, the annually estimated expenditure is $1.4 billion a year.
- Ear tube insertion is often considered if fluid persists in the middle ear section in both ears for longer than 3 months at a time. The procedure is also advised in cases when there is fluid in both ears for three months and hearing is lessened. Also, if the child has well over the average number of ear infections for their age, tubes may be suggested.
- Children who have tubes inserted in their ears are advised to keep their ears dry. The use of earplugs and headbands are often recommended when showering or bathing, and they also need to avoid swimming.
- Ear tubes are a temporary solution used until the child’s Eustachian tubes develop to an adequate size to function naturally.
- After the surgery, the child will probably sleep a lot for the next 24 hours. There should be cotton placed in the ears to catch any drainage that may occur, and this cotton should be changed about once per hour.
How can I save money?
- If the patient is uninsured, look for a facility that offers a more affordable rate. Hospitals usually charge higher, so the next best option is often an ambulatory surgery center. This alternative often requires no facility fees. An ambulatory surgery center is a facility where surgical procedures that do not need hospital admission are conducted. The cost for patients and insurance companies to get the procedure done here is lower compared to many hospitals. Before choosing a facility, make steps to ensure that it is licensed to operate and is certified by Medicare.
- Ear infections can be treated through non-invasive methods. There are products today that can treat ear infections and ear pain as well as help in avoiding ear tube surgery. Some of these products cost about $60. Proper medical advice and guidance must first be obtained.
Advertising Disclosure: This content may include referral links. Please read our disclosure policy for more info.