Are cataracts clouding your vision?
That can be frustrating. Formed by the build-up of proteins in the eye lens, cataracts can make your vision hazy, blurry, and less colorful.
There’s only one definitive treatment for cataracts: surgery. Cataract surgery removes the cloudy lens and replaces it with an artificial one called an intraocular lens (IOL). The surgery, which has a 99% success rate, offers long term results.
While cataract surgery is available in many hospitals, the costs can be prohibitive. Without Medicare or private insurance, you can expect $3,000 to $43,090 for both eyes in out-of-pocket expenses.
Even with Medicare or private insurance, you may incur expenses in medication and hospitalization costs, copayments, and meeting your annual deductible.
Moreover, specific costs of your surgery will vary depending on the hospital, surgeon, type of lens, surgical technique, and any additional underlying eye issues.
Finding quality service at an affordable price can be quite difficult. While federal legislation requires hospitals to display prices for their procedures, hospitals don’t make it easy for patients. Many hospitals have been found to hide their pricing data from Google search results.
We’ve made the process easier for you. We have analyzed pricing data from different hospitals across Alabama to help you find affordable, quality care.
Table of Contents
- How Are Cataract Surgery Costs Calculated?
- Princeton Baptist Medical Center, Birmingham
- Andalusia Health, Andalusia
- East Alabama Medical Center, Opelika
- Grandview Medical Center, Birmingham
- Coosa Valley Medical Center, Sylacauga
- Huntsville Hospital System, Huntsville
- Regional Medical Center of Central Alabama, Greenville
- Madison Hospital, Madison
- Elmore Community Hospital, Wetumpka
- Medical West, Bessemer
- Noland Hospital, Tuscaloosa
- North Mississippi Medical Center, Hamilton
- Walker Baptist Medical Center, Jasper
- St. Vincent’s East, Birmingham
- Springhill Medical Center, Mobile
- Average Cataract Removal Cost in Alabama Hospitals
- What Is Cataract Removal?
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Find Quality, Affordable Cataract Surgery in Alabama
How Are Cataract Surgery Costs Calculated?
Although it sounds complex, cataract surgery is a straightforward procedure that takes about 30 to 45 minutes.
It is an outpatient surgery that is done under local anaesthetic. You should be able to go home the same day.
The good news is that Medicare covers basic cataract surgery if it’s medically necessary. The bad news, however, is that it only covers 80% of the expenses related to the surgery. That includes:
- Preoperative and postoperative exams
- Removal of the cataract
- Implantation of the new lens
- A pair of eyeglasses or contacts
It’s not likely that you will need hospitalization for cataract surgery, but in case you do, Medicare will cover that too.
However, Medicare doesn’t cover advanced cataract surgery. Here is a brief look at what it will not pay for:
- Premium toric IOLS
- Premium presbyopia-correcting IOLs
- Laser cataract surgery
These advanced services and procedures can double or even triple your out-of-pocket expenses.
Medicare only covers one pair of glasses or contact lenses after your surgery. It won’t pay for updated frames, extra contact lenses, or other items associated with treatment such as eye drops.
Remember, you will still have to pay the 20% that Medicare doesn’t pay on the standard surgery, as well as all deductibles and medications.
Bear in mind that while some hospitals provide only the cost of the surgery, others factor in additional costs—which can be confusing.
Additionally, while the federal government and states set reimbursement rates for the Medicare and Medicaid programs, there’s generally no price regulation in the private insurance market.
To help you avoid surprises in your bill, we’ve carefully researched hundreds of hospitals in Alabama to uncover the costs of cataract surgery. Subsequently, we can provide you with the lowest and highest range in terms of cost.
Before we get started, let’s discuss some of the factors that determine the cost of your cataract surgery.
The Price Negotiated by Your Insurance Provider
Generally, prices for services and products in hospitals are negotiated by health insurance companies and healthcare providers. This means that different insurance providers may have different prices for the same procedure.
These negotiated prices were typically not available to the public. That meant that patients often didn’t know how much they’d be charged until after they were presented with the bill.
Fortunately, as of January 1, 2021, The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires healthcare providers to make their rates available to consumers. The prices should be indicated on an online tool in a machine-readable format.
Type of Lens Used
The cost of your surgery will also depend on the type of lens you opt for.
There are different cataract lenses available in hospitals. The decision about which one to go for should be based on what’s most important for you and what you can afford.
During the consultation, your doctor will discuss your options regarding intraocular lenses.
Here are three common types of lenses:
- Standard lenses (monofocal): They correct a single range of vision. For instance, if you are either nearsighted or farsighted, monofocal lenses can correct that problem. For any additional issues, you will have to wear glasses or contact lenses.
- Toric Lenses: Unlike monofocal lenses, toric lenses can be used for patients who have astigmatism. They’re designed to correct near, intermediate, or farsightedness.
- Presbyopic-Correcting: They can be used to correct two or more vision problems.
The Surgical Technique Used
There are two kinds of techniques used for traditional cataract surgery:
- Phacoemulsification (phaco): The surgeon makes a small incision on the side of the cornea. They then insert a tiny probe that emits ultrasound waves to soften the clouded lens before removing it by suction. This is the most common cataract surgery.
- Extracapsular surgery: With this technique, the surgeon makes a longer incision on the side of the cornea. They then extract the cloudy core of the lens in one piece before suctioning the rest away.
You can also opt for laser-assisted cataract surgery (LACS). In this technique, the doctor uses a computer-guided laser to make a small incision in the cornea and break up the diseased lens.
Now, let’s get to the good stuff! How much does cataract surgery cost in various hospitals across Alabama?
Princeton Baptist Medical Center, Birmingham
To have cataracts removed at Princeton Baptist Medical Center in Birmingham, Alabama, be ready to spend anything from $5,968.25 for standard procedures to $22,586.38 for more complex surgeries.
Formerly known as Birmingham Infirmary, it’s a Level III trauma designation, 505-bed facility in Jefferson county. The hospital offers a full range of services including emergency response, cardiology, orthopedics, rehabilitation, psychiatric care, a comprehensive sleep center, and a bariatrics center.
Reach out to the facility for further pricing details via (833) 850-5052.
Andalusia Health, Andalusia
The cost for cataract removal at the Andalusia Health care facility in Andalusia, Alabama ranges between $2,495.30 for a basic procedure and $3,742.96 at the upper end, depending on the specific surgery.
Andalusia Health is an 83-bed hospital in the county of Covington and has a Level III trauma designation. The facility, which offers a wide range of medical services, has served South Alabama since 1966. It provides diagnostic, surgical, therapeutic, and emergency services.
For more detailed pricing information, contact the facility via their website.
East Alabama Medical Center, Opelika
East Alabama Medical Center is a 339-bed Level III hospital in Lee county. The facility was known as Lee County Hospital when it was opened in 1952. The EAMC organization also includes EAMC-Lanier Hospital in Valley. Between the two hospitals, EAMC is the county’s second-largest employer.
For more detailed pricing information, contact EAMC via their website or this phone number: (334) 528-7228.
Grandview Medical Center, Birmingham
Getting cataract surgery from Grandview Medical Center in Birmingham, Alabama will cost you between $15,081.70 for a standard procedure and $43,090.57 for more advanced procedures. The costs are determined by the kind of surgery and additional services.
Grandview Medical Center is a 402-bed facility in Jefferson county. It’s a tertiary care hospital with a Level III trauma designation. The hospital is conveniently located on Highway 280 and offers diverse specialities from cardiology to robotic-assisted surgery.
Contact the hospital for surgery pricing details via their website. You can also call (205) 971-1236 and speak to their friendly receptionists.
Coosa Valley Medical Center, Sylacauga
The facility, which has a Level III trauma designation, has a 222-bed capacity. It’s located in Talladega county. Coosa Valley Medical Center holds the prestigious position of being the only non-military hospital in the United States that was built and opened during WWII.
When it first opened its doors in 1945, it was known as Sylacauga Hospital. Its name was changed to Coosa Valley Medical Center later in 1963.
Reach CVMC for pricing confirmation at (256) 401-4017.
Huntsville Hospital System, Huntsville
Also known as Huntsville Hospital, the Huntsville Hospital System in Madison county is a 912-bed, public, not-for-profit hospital organization. It has a Level I trauma center.
A tram connects Huntsville Hospital Main, Huntsville Hospital for Women and Children, and Franklin Medical Tower.
Reach the hospital for pricing confirmation via (256) 801-6280.
Regional Medical Center of Central Alabama, Greenville
Previously known as L.V Stabler Memorial Hospital, the facility’s name was changed to Regional Medical Center of Central Alabama in 2019. It’s a 72-bed facility in Butler county with a Level III trauma designation. It offers inpatient, outpatient, medical and surgical care
For more information on surgery pricing, contact the hospital online or through this phone number: (334) 382-2671.
Madison Hospital, Madison
Madison Hospital is a 90-bed facility located in Madison county that’s owned by the Huntsville Hospital System. As a not-for-profit healthcare provider, all revenue from the hospital is reinvested to provide advanced services and equipment.
Contact the hospital for more pricing details on (256) 801-6280.
Elmore Community Hospital, Wetumpka
Elmore Community Hospital, which is located in Elmore county, is a 33-bed hospital. It’s a general medical and surgical facility that doesn’t have a trauma designation. The hospital is made up of various departments including surgery, radiology, medical records, and the ECH laboratory.
For more details on the hospital’s pricing for cataract surgery, contact them via their website or this phone number: (334) 567-4311.
Medical West, Bessemer
Formerly known as Bessemer Carraway, the hospital is an affiliate of the UAB Health System. It’s a 231-bed facility that offers emergency care, medical imaging, orthopedics, women’s services, rehabilitation, and more.
Get a price estimate for your surgery on the hospital’s website.
Noland Hospital, Tuscaloosa
Cataract removal at Noland Hospital in Tuscaloosa, Alabama costs $10,267.43.
Noland Hospital is a 38-bed facility in Tuscaloosa county. It’s part of a system of Noland speciality hospitals that has other facilities in Anniston, Birmingham, Dothan, and Montgomery. If you are looking for an intimate setting, you will like Noland Hospital.
For pricing details, reach Noland Hospital Tuscaloosa via (251) 575-3111.
North Mississippi Medical Center – Hamilton
Located in Marion county, it’s a 49-bed acute care hospital. Their staff has specialists in family practice, internal medicine, pediatrics, radiology, and surgery. The surgery department utilizes two operating suites and offers a wide array of services including ophthalmological, ENT, and general surgery.
Reach the hospital for further pricing information via (662) 377-4211.
Walker Baptist Medical Center, Jasper
The facility has a 259-bed capacity and is located in Walker county. It offers a complete range of clinical services, including general surgery (that includes robotics), orthopedics, ophthalmology, urology, advanced imaging, emergency services, and a pain center.
The hospital is part of Brookwood Baptist Health network that encompasses four other hospital campuses—Brookwood Baptist Medical Center in Birmingham, Princeton Baptist Medical Center in Birmingham, Shelby Baptist Medical Center in Alabaster, and Citizens Baptist Medical Center in Talladega.
For more information on surgical prices, contact the hospital via (833) 850-5052.
St. Vincent’s East, Birmingham
St. Vincent’s East is a 349-bed Level III facility located in Jefferson county. Previously known as Medical Center East, it’s one of five facilities that make up St. Vincent’s Health System. The hospitals are all part of Ascension Health, the largest non-profit and Catholic-owned health organization in the country.
Contact the hospital for detailed pricing information via (833) 999-1089.
Springhill Medical Center, Mobile
Springhill Medical Center is a 209-bed Level III facility located in Mobile county. Having been founded in 1975, the hospital offers full surgical capabilities including open-heart and robotic surgery. It also has complete diagnostic capabilities, a heart center, sleep medicine center, cancer center, and an orthopedic surgery center among others.
For more information on how the facility prices cataract surgery, contact them via (251) 461-2067.
Now that you have a good idea of what your surgery will cost, let’s talk about what the procedure entails and what to expect during and after the operation.
Average Cataract Removal Cost in Alabama Hospitals
The table lists all hospitals in Alabama that offer cataract surgery, arranged from lowest to highest average cost.
|Hospital||Minimum Cost||Maximum Cost||Average Cost|
|Northwest Medical Center||$1,377.95||$1,377.95||$1,378|
|Elmore Community Hospital||$1,643.00||$1,833.65||$1,738|
|Monroe County Hospital||$1,767.00||$1,767.00||$1,767|
|Infirmary LTAC Hospital||$3,097||$3,097||$3,097|
|Mobile Infirmary Medical Center||$3,097||$3,097||$3,097|
|North Baldwin Infirmary||$3,097||$3,097||$3,097|
|Encompass Health Lakeshore Rehabilitation Hospital||$2,575||$3,720||$3,148|
|St. Vincent’s St. Clair||$2,267||$4,122||$3,195|
|Mizell Memorial Hospital||$3,389.42||$3,389.42||$3,389|
|East Alabama Medical Center||$1,661.22||$5,491||$3,576|
|East Alabama Medical Center — Lanier||$1,661.22||$5,491||$3,576|
|DCH Regional Medical Center||$3,986.50||$3,986.50||$3,987|
|Springhill Medical Center||$4,133.89||$4,133.89||$4,134|
|Brookwood Baptist Medical Center||$3,944.29||$5,259.05||$4,602|
|Marshall Medical Center North||$5,286.81||$5,286.81||$5,287|
|Marshall Medical Center South||$5,286.81||$5,286.81||$5,287|
|Coosa Valley Medical Center||$2,697.21||$8,990.71||$5,844|
|Decatur Morgan Hospital||$5,947||$5,947||$5,947|
|Decatur Morgan Hospital — Parkway Campus||$5,947||$5,947||$5,947|
|Red Bay Hospital||$5,947||$5,947||$5,947|
|North Mississippi Medical Center — Hamilton||$4,450.99||$10,351.15||$7,401|
|Helen Keller Hospital||$7,415||$7,415||$7,415|
|Huntsville Hospital System||$7,415||$7,415||$7,415|
|St. Vincent’s Chilton||$5,690||$10,345||$8,018|
|Walker Baptist Medical Center||$2,231.63||$15,285.71||$8,759|
|L.V. Stabler Memorial Hospital||$9,291.03||$9,291.03||$9,291|
|Noland Hospital Tuscaloosa||$10,267.43||$10,267.43||$10,267|
|St. Vincent’s East||$8,484||$15,425||$11,955|
|Princeton Baptist Medical Center||$5,968.25||$22,586.38||$14,277|
|St. Vincent’s Blount||$10,513||$19,114||$14,814|
|Grandview Medical Center||$15,081.70||$43,090.57||$29,086|
What Is Cataract Removal?
Cataract removal is a procedure to remove a diseased eye lens and replace it with an artificial one. It’s a 30 to 45-minute outpatient procedure and in most cases, it doesn’t require an overnight hospital stay.
Cataract removal is usually performed under local anaesthesia, which is administered via eye drops or a shot. The surgery is performed by an ophthalmologist – a medical doctor specializing in eye diseases and surgery.
The doctor makes a small incision in the eye to remove the clouded lens. Removal of the lens can be done through several techniques:
- Extracapsular extraction
- Laser surgery
After removing the clouded lens, the doctor inserts an intraocular lens (IOL) in its place. Just like a healthy lens, the artificial one helps your eye focus light for clearer vision. The doctor will either close the incision with small stitches or seal it through a sutureless method.
Who Needs Cataract Surgery?
Although cataracts can develop at any age, they are uncommon before age 40. Most people don’t experience symptoms until many years after cataracts start to form.
Cataracts affect more than 24.4 million Americans aged 40 and older—which translates to one in six people in that age range. By age 80, more than 50% of Americans have cataracts.
During a routine eye exam, your ophthalmologist will notice if you are developing cataracts, even if you’re not experiencing any symptoms yet. However, you will probably be the first to notice changes in your vision that may require cataract surgery.
Surgery is advisable if you have significant vision loss. However, if you have other unrelated eye diseases, your doctor might advise against the procedure.
Is Cataract Removal Safe?
Cataract removal is one of the safest and most successful surgical procedures—with a 99% success rate.
That said, you should always discuss the risks of any surgical procedure with your doctor. In rare cases, cataract surgery can have side effects such as:
- Infection (endophthalmitis)
- Changes in eye pressure (glaucoma)
- Retinal detachment
- Vision loss
In some cases, years or months after surgery, the artificial lens may also become cloudy—leading to blurred vision. This is known as posterior capsular opacification or developing secondary cataracts. If that happens, you might require another surgery to remove and replace the lens.
Healing After Cataract Surgery
It takes approximately 8 weeks for your eyes to fully heal after cataract surgery. However, you can go about your daily activities as soon as a day after the procedure.
To aid your recovery, ophthalmologists recommend you avoid vigorous activity and shield your eyes from possible irritants or trauma.
Surgery is usually performed on one eye at a time. If you require cataract surgery on both eyes, doctors recommend waiting for at least 1-2 weeks between each operation. The approach gives time for the first eye to heal and its vision to stabilize before the second eye is operated on.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Much Does it Cost to Get Cataract Surgery in Alabama?
Cataract removal surgery in Alabama costs anything from $3,000 to $43,090. The costs vary depending on factors such as the hospital, type of lens, the technique used, and your insurance provider.
Does Medicare Pay For Cataract Removal?
Yes. Medicare will pay for the procedure as long as the doctor agrees that it’s medically necessary and you’re 65 or older. Medicare will cover 80% of the costs of a basic cataract-removal surgery.
Which Is the Best Lens Replacement for Cataract Surgery?
The best lens for your cataract surgery depends on your needs. With a monofocal lens, you might have to wear glasses after the surgery to correct other vision issues. If you have astigmatism, toric lenses are a great option. If you are farsighted, a presbyopia-correcting lens may be best.
What Is the Most Common Side Effect of Cataract Surgery?
Swelling of the cornea is one of the most common complications after cataract removal. The swelling is expected to reduce after the first 24 hours. The day after the procedure, your vision may also be blurrier than it was before. Don’t worry; your sight should improve in a few days.
Is Laser Cataract Surgery Better Than Regular Cataract Surgery?
Both laser-guided and traditional cataract surgeries are safe, quick, relatively painless and effective. However, laser-guided surgery shortens both your surgical and recovery time.
Find Quality, Affordable Cataract Surgery in Alabama
Pricing transparency rules are supposed to make it easier for patients to shop for affordable care. Unfortunately, many hospitals across the country aren’t fully compliant with this legislation.
A July 2022 study by PatientRightsAdvocate.org found that 94% of hospitals across the United States are still noncompliant with price transparency rules.
Stakeholders in the hospital industry have also fought the price transparency efforts, with some even filing a lawsuit to block the rules. They argued that the rules were unclear and burdensome.
While patients can search price information on hospital websites, navigating those sites to find the data you seek can be confusing, frustrating, and exhausting. Not only do many hospitals hide pricing data from Google results, but they also often provide it in the form of lengthy difficult-to-read spreadsheets.
If you are considering getting cataract surgery in Alabama, we’ve got your back. With the information we’ve provided, shopping for quality and affordable cataract surgery in Alabama will be much easier.