Kiplinger shares ways that everyone can save on healthcare costs.

No matter how you get your insurance — through your employer, from a state exchange, from an agent or directly from an insurance company — you’re paying a bigger share of your health-care costs than you used to. Higher premiums are only part of the picture. Deductibles are rising, provider networks are shrinking, and insurers have been switching from fixed-dollar co-payments to coinsurance, based on a percentage of the cost of care.

Your out-of-pocket costs could rise significantly unless you learn some key strategies to become a better health care shopper. The following moves can help you save hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

Here is the third recommended way you can save money: SAVE AT STAND-ALONE RADIOLOGY CENTERS.

Different facilities charge vastly different prices for x-rays and tests. The average outpatient hospital cost for MRIs and CAT scans is $1,384 to $1,668, according to an expert, but the average radiology center costs $445 to $725. And there can be a huge range between the highest and lowest cost in your area. For example, among all facilities within 25 miles of New York, the cost of a knee MRI ranges from $238 at a free-standing radiology facility to $2,191 at a local hospital, says Victoria Bogatyrenko, vice-president for innovation at United Healthcare. Most insurers have tools to help you compare the costs of x-rays and tests at different types of facilities in your area.

Independently-owned, or stand-alone, imaging centers such as DIS will save you money by providing costs and charges substantially less than hospitals and their imaging center affiliates. Look at the disparity above for a different state. The difference — and your savings — can be huge!

Before scheduling your next imaging exam at a hospital based center, we encourage you to consult with your insurer about coverage, and to ask the hospital what you can expect to pay out-of-pocket, based on their contracted rate with your insurance provider and the deductible and co-insurance of your plan.

Then, call us at 504-459-3220 to find out what you can expect to pay out-of-pocket as a point of comparison. Why pay more? The choice will be clear:

Say YES and spend LESS at DIS.

Click here to review all thirty-one ways.