Individual Stellate Ganglion Block (SGB) treatments can be pricey to pay out-of-pocket. Even though SGB is a well-documented treatment that has been around for a century, many insurance companies have been reluctant to cover SGB injections, or cover them only to treat acute or chronic pain rather than PTSD. More recently, “long Covid” has joined the list of concerns that prompt some patients to seek SGB, though insurers also refuse to cover SGB for that purpose. 

Insurers may argue that there is a lack of published studies on SGB. Some studies have been done, and they are promising, but we understand insurers’ business model and that inherently it depends on not covering a great many treatments, regardless of how many thousands of patients those treatments may have helped already.

In any event, as long as you realize that the insurance coverage is shaky at best, you do have options.  If you are in the Seattle area, you can consult with Dr. Jason Attaman to find out whether SGB is right for you and where your insurance might factor in.

The True Cost of Stellate Ganglion Block Injections

You may be wondering how many shots a patient might need and how much they’d cost if paid for out-of-pocket.

Most people receive two shots within a few weeks of each other. The second injection boosts the effects of the first, but the first injection offers relief immediately. Though you may pursue follow-up SGB shots as often as you like, the effects of the 2-shot regimen are can last for years. 

The cost of two shots is roughly $2000 to $4000. As we mentioned, two shots represent a full course of treatment, which you are unlikely to need again for years. The upside is you’ll likely end panic attacks, flashbacks, and mood swings. You can be more present and focused in your life, as you were before PTSD hit.

Alternative Ways to Pay for SGB Treatment

While insurance companies don’t pay for SGBs, most Health Savings Plans and Flexible Spending Accounts will. In addition, Care Credit and other similar healthcare financing plans generally will defray the costs of SGBs.

Of course, many people also choose to use credit cards to spread out the payment, but of course credit cards have higher interest and don’t offer you the chance to use pre-tax dollars. 

In addition, if your PTSD is comorbid with another serious pain condition that insurance will cover, we can use the treatment to address your pain. If it happens to help PTSD as well, as a side benefit, then that is a bright spot.

End PTSD Today

Pain management doctors (like Dr. Attaman) continue the advocacy that may someday lead to widespread insurance coverage for SGB therapy that can help with PTSD and other conditions. In the meantime, all we can do is give you enough information to help you budget as needed, and give you the finest treatment if you turn to us for treatment.

If you’re in the Seattle area, you can contact Dr. Attaman’s office to schedule an appointment.

About the Author: Phil Rozek

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