The headline is a statement made in an article posted in the Southwest Citizen’s Guide on patient comparison shopping for imaging services. Often, the follow-up question most will ask is “Why?”
Common reasons include:
- Hospitals often negotiate with insurers for higher reimbursement rates on their imaging services.
- Hospitals claim they need higher reimbursements due to their large overhead and to compensate for accepting lower charges in other areas, such as indigent care.
However, people do not need to be beholden to having to go to a hospital for a common imaging exam such as a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) or Computed Tomography (CT) exam. The article states “Patients should be encouraged to be proactive and make their own choices when deciding where to get their imaging exam.”
Capitol Imaging Services could not agree more.
Many people do not realize that there are actually two parts to any imaging exam. The first part is called the technical component. It’s the actual test itself such as an MRI scan or an ultrasound exam. The second is the professional component. This is the service by the medical professional — in imaging that is the radiologist — who reads and interprets the images acquired during a test and issues a report on their findings to the referring medical provider.
People, when making price comparisons, need to make sure they ask for the cost of both components. At hospitals, they are often separate charges.
At independent centers such as Capitol Imaging Services, they are all inclusive. We call it “global billing” which simply means one price for all services start to finish. That’s much easier to understand.
One woman in Ohio, according to the article, was told she needed an MRI. She scheduled with an independent imaging center. Why?
I called and got some pricing from hospitals and non-hospital-affiliated radiology centers because I have a $5,000 deductible with my health savings account. I learned that the costs were every bit of half what was being charged by many hospitals. With the economy and rising healthcare costs, I need to play a more active role in selecting my medical care. I need to be aware of how I am spending my healthcare dollars.
Smart decision-making. Why pay more when you don’t have to?
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