How Much Does a PET/CT cost?

A lot can go through your mind when your physician orders a PET/CT for you.

Along with the normal anxiety associated with needing a medical imaging study, worrying about your out-of-pocket expense is a reasonable concern. In today’s post, we will be discussing the factors involved in answering the question, “how much does a PET/CT cost?” But, first, let’s understand what a PET/CT is and why it is used.

What is a PET/CT?

A PET/CT is the combination of PET (Positron Emission Tomography) and CT (Computed Tomography) scans.

A PET scan creates images of your body’s biological processes. It utilizes radioactive tracers to screen for evidence of cancers, heart or brain abnormalities, or other conditions.  The radioactive tracer is made of sugar which is absorbed into your cells. Cancer cells tend to use more energy than normal cells and will attract more sugar. The PET shows where the tracer is in your body.

A CT uses X-Ray technology to provide images of the structures within your body through cross-sectional body scans. It shows detailed pictures of the organs and tissues in your body from different angles. If your physician wants a clear image of your bones or abnormalities in your soft tissue, they would order a CT scan.

A computer combines the PET and CT images giving your physician a 3-D result showing any abnormalities including tumors. Combining the two scans allows your physician to determine if you have cancer and learn its stage. Knowing the stage, where the cancer is and if it has spread, helps your physician to determine your chances of recovery and to choose the best treatment.

What Factors Can Affect The Cost Of A PET/CT?

When asking how much does a PET/CT cost, there are many factors to consider.
  • Insured Or Uninsured

    The price of medical procedures can vary between insurance providers. The change in price largely depends on how much of the procedure your insurance plan covers, if any at all. If you don’t have health insurance, you can expect to pay for the full cost of the procedure out-of-pocket. However, even without insurance, the cost for imaging can be less at an independent imaging center such as CIS.

  • In-network vs. out-of-network providers

    Is CIS in your insurance company’s network of providers? In-network vs. out-of-network providers can make a difference. Providers in your network can only charge the contracted rate that was negotiated with the insurance company. This rate is typically much lower than the out-of-network or out-of-pocket costs you would pay without insurance. However, even without insurance, the cost for imaging can be less at an independent imaging center such as CIS. Click here to learn more about In-network vs out-of-network providers

  • Location

    The region, state, and even the city you live in can affect the cost of your medical procedure. If you live in a rural area with fewer facilities to choose from, you can expect to pay more than you would if you lived in a city with many providers. Traveling for a medical procedure can be a great money-saving option.

  • Type of Imaging Facility

    The type of imaging facility you visit can significantly affect cost. Having the procedure done in a hospital as an inpatient costs far more than having the same procedure done in an outpatient center such as CIS. Since inpatient facilities tend to cost more to run, patients end up paying more for care.

Why Can Hospital Imaging Cost More?

The cost of a PET/CT scan will vary greatly between inpatient (hospital) and outpatient (CIS) facilities. The national average cost for the procedure at inpatient facilities is $7,275, while the same procedure at outpatient facilities averaged $2,550. The major difference in the cost between the two types of facilities is the additional fees added to your bill at the hospital. 

At hospitals, you may receive not only the bill for your study, but also a bill for the radiologist to interpret the study. Also, hospitals may be allowed to charge Medicare and most other commercial insurers a facility fee. Therefore, if you choose to visit a hospital for imaging, chances are good that your price will go towards covering costs of services that are not necessarily associated with your exam. This is why a freestanding imaging facility, like CIS, is able to charge less than the hospital.

Get a Price for Your PET/CT Today!

Capitol Imaging Services is one of the largest independent radiology practices of its type serving the southeastern United States. Not only do we perform the PET/CT, we also provide the radiology expertise to review test images and issue important findings to physicians and other health care providers.

How much does a PET/CT cost? We’ve made it convenient to receive an estimate from a Capitol Imaging Services affiliate. Click here to access our price estimate tool. With your information, we will produce a good faith estimate of any fees that would be your obligation to pay as a result of your exam.

Contact us today to learn why Capitol Imaging Services is doctor trusted and patient preferred.