In a recent medical study, it was found that patients sometimes paid as much as 683% more for the same medical procedures, such as MRI’s and CT scans, in the same town depending on which doctor they choose according to a national study by Change: healthcare, a national healthcare group.
This means that patients who pay for a percentage of their healthcare instead of a co-pay may end up spending hundreds of dollars more for a certain procedure even though the facilities may only be a few minutes apart.
Change: healthcare looked at claims data from May 2010 to May 2011 for 82,000 employees of small businesses to determine price differences for several procedures: MRI’s, CT scans, ultrasounds and PET scans. For example, for a pelvic CT scan performed in one small southwest town, it was found a person could pay as little as $230 for the procedure to as much as $1,800. For a brain MRI in a town in the Northeast, a person could pay $1,540 – or $3,500.
The end result is that it is always important to ask questions about any procedures a patient is contemplating, not only for medical reasons but economic reasons also.