No one wants to hear their doctor tell them they are going to need additional medical procedures, especially if they are uninsured. Talk about a day-ruiner. When asked how much they thought a procedure like an MRI would cost them, most patients guessed around $4,000. That guess isn’t far off at some care providers, but we’re here to tell you that there are affordable options.
- You’ll Find High Quality Options at Widely Different Prices
Your health is one of the most important things, so no one wants to skimp on cost when their care is in question. The good news is that in healthcare, cost isn’t always reflective of quality. This does complicate the consumer process, but if you know to shop around for more affordable options and take control of your care, you can save up to 80% on your procedures. It’s important to look at both price and quality scores though, when making a decision about where to go for your care. You might find that imaging center A down the street offers MRIs for $400, while your hospital outpatient center downtown offers their MRI scans for over $1500; despite the fact that they have similar imaging equipment and quality scores.
Let’s say your general practitioner recommends that you get an X-Ray of your ankle to determine if you broke it or simply sprained it. Your physician sends you next door to the hospital-owned imaging center, where they tell you your x-ray is going to cost about $200 out-of-pocket. They also inform you that there will likely be another bill headed your way a little while later for the radiologist’s “reading fee.”
When it’s all said and done, that x-ray could cost you as much as $350, just to confirm that you did in fact just sprain your ankle. Walking and talking at the same time can be hard sometimes, but who knew it could be that expensive!
2. You won’t have to wait as long for an appointment
Often times, smaller imaging centers are more flexible. They are able to provide more personalized service since it’s in an independently-owned setting and might be able to squeeze you into their schedule after hours. Hospitals don’t necessarily have to be flexible with their patients, so price shopping might lead you not only to save money but to save time too!
3. You can negotiate rates
With smaller imaging centers or private practices, they have more control over their self-pay rates and are able to offer more discounts if you ask to negotiate. Keep in mind, they can’t negotiate rates with insurance since they are already predetermined. Larger institutions don’t have as much wiggle room when it comes to prices!