Would you be upset if you received a medical bill for what most would consider to be an outrageous amount of money for a simple test? That’s what one person experienced with a charge of nearly $12,500 for lab work!
This story, published by National Public Radio in December 2020, illustrates the continuing issue in healthcare: exorbitant fees charged by medical centers and health systems for testing that is no where near the value of the fee. There is no better time to make a New Year’s resolution for your personal and financial well-being than now. Just ask one simple question:
“How much does this test cost?”
Taking an active role in your health and communicating with your doctor is critical to getting good healthcare. That includes discussions around cost. Here are some tips on preparing for discussions with your doctor about price.
- Get educated. Before you go to your appointment, become familiar with your health plan. Find out about your co-pay, deductible and what procedures are covered.
- Take your insurance information with you. Bring your insurance cards and information with you to your appointment and mention any changes to your insurance since the last time you visited.
- Let your doctor know that cost is important to you (and so is your healthcare). Chances are that your doctor isn’t thinking about the cost of the procedure, so it’s up to you to let your doctor know if you’re insurance plan doesn’t cover his recommendation.
- Ask about your options for free preventative care. Health plans are required to pay 100% for your annual physical and other age and gender appropriate preventive screenings (e.g. a screening mammogram). Check with your HR department or your doctor about what care is available to you.
- Avoid high-priced hospitals for MRIs and other imaging procedures. Independent, standalone facilities, such as DIS, can provide identical imaging services for a fraction of the cost at a hospital. Ask about pricing options BEFORE your test if possible.
- Identify your closest urgent care clinic. Rather than going to the ER which can cost thousands, when you can’t get in to see your primary care doctor, an urgent care clinic can be very affordable for non-emergency care after hours and on weekends. Look for your local options like ‘Minute Clinic’ for these situations.
- Discuss choices and alternatives. Make sure you understand what your treatment involves and what it will or will not do. If your doctor suggests a treatment that you know is going to be expensive, ask if there are other treatments that might work or if less expensive choices are available. The doctor can work with you to develop a treatment plan that meets your needs.
- Don’t hesitate to ask about cost. If costs are too expensive, the doctor may be able to suggest less expensive alternatives. If the doctor does not know the cost, ask the office staff or scheduler, or shop around yourself. Then call your doctor and ask for their advisement on the lower-cost treatment.
It’s okay to ask!
When it comes to your healthcare and costs, you always have a choice. Diagnostic Imaging Services (DIS) facilities can be thousands less per scan when compared to area hospitals and medical centers for the same procedure! With locations covering both sides of Lake Pontchartrain and the Mississippi River, getting the highest-quality MRI, CT, ultrasound or other type of exam is convenient and yet may cost much less.
With a New Year can come new ways of doing things. One that can have a huge payoff is becoming proactive in your healthcare spending. DIS makes every effort to provide a good faith estimate of any amount that would be your responsibility to pay for a test. Yes, it came be somewhat complicated, especially navigating through the maze of prices and health insurance coverage options. But, many find the time and effort well worth it when they discover the potential savings by choosing Diagnostic Imaging Services.
New Year. New Choice. Choose independent and save. Choose DIS: doctor trusted and patient preferred.
Call 504-883-5999 or 985-641-2390 to schedule a visit One of our experienced associates will be happy to assist you. Or, click here to send us an email requesting assistance.