New data reveals bewildering system, staggering hospital cost differences

Americans have long become accustomed to bewilderment and anxiety when confronting health care bills. Even within the same metropolitan area, hospitals charge prices that differ by staggering degrees for the same procedures. People without health insurance pay vastly higher costs for care when less expensive options are often available nearby. Virtually everyone who seeks health care winds up paying inflated … Read More

Caught between the hospital-insurance crossfire

When you’re in recovery from a hospital visit — whether it’s a major surgery, a visit to the emergency room or just a routine procedure — the last thing you want to worry about is paying your medical bills. Although the doctors may have stitched you up, sometimes they don’t quite stick to procedure when it comes to filing your … Read More

Even medical professionals may not understand healthcare pricing

Capitol Imaging Services shares a short story about the misunderstanding that even doctors have about healthcare pricing and costs for patients. On this particular occasion, two physicians told our staff that a local hospital was less expensive than a Capitol Imaging Services affiliate for a particular procedure, a procedure often not covered by insurance. When fully explained by our associates, … Read More

A New Year’s resolution suggestion: ask how much that test will cost!

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 … Read More

Hospitals buying more doctors’ practices

The below is an article published online by USA Today, regarding the trend found in the South Carolina area. Another reason hospitals are employing more doctors is to get their referrals, said Lynn Bailey, a health care consultant in Columbia, S.C. Having the physicians as well as home-health agencies, transportation, rehabilitation, medical equipment and other services makes hospitals the dominant … Read More

Customer service stinks

The above is from a quote in an article about television news personality John Stossel, when he revealed that he was diagnosed with lung cancer. The cancer isn’t really what’s bothering him. It’s the service he was receiving this week at a New York hospital. He wrote: “My doctors tell me my growth was caught early and I’ll be fine,” … Read More

Hospital vs Freestanding imaging facility: choose wisely

When it comes to selecting a facility to have diagnostic imaging needs met, patients often are faced with the decision between the hospital and a freestanding, outpatient imaging center. Finding the highest quality at the lowest price is the mission of many people today, particularly those with high deductible health insurance plans. It is important to note that there is a … Read More

Shop smart for health care: imaging studies

Become an educated consumer. Take ownership in your health care dollar and understand why you were referred to one place over another. Ask your doctor if he or she is required by his or her employer or financially incentivized to send you to a particular medical facility for testing. Look up your imaging study. There are numerous websites that provide estimates … Read More

Avoid the surprise of a hospital radiology fee

Consumer frustration with the cost of medical care is at an all-time high as many purchasers of narrow-network, high deductible and high co-pay health plans are finding out that the benefits they get from their monthly insurance premiums are much more limited than they thought. One target of the ire is “surprise” medical bills for services such as radiology that … Read More

Be cautious when evaluating imaging centers

When evaluating based on price, that’s the advice given by a physician who works for a university medical center in New York during a radiology conference held in late 2016. We agree with that advice. However, in looking further into the advice the physician provided, his assumptions were often that “nobody really knows” if lower prices can provide the quality … Read More

Hospitals tend to be compensated by insurance companies at about twice the rate for private independent companies

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 … Read More

Insurance deductible, coinsurance, and copay: know the differences

Many people are confused about the differences between an insurance deductible, co-pay and coinsurance. In short, all three represent the portion of the medical bill that you are responsible for in case you get sick or injured. Another term used is out-of-pocket expense. However, there are some very unique differences between each one. Deductible An insurance deductible is usually a … Read More

Federal law allows hospitals to charge facility fees

From a story posted locally comes this excerpt: Federal law allows hospitals to charge facility fees for outpatient services at affiliated clinics, regardless of whether the clinic is anywhere near the hospital. The clinics may have the same equipment, staffing and operating expenses as a private practice, and may look much the same as a private practice, but the simple fact that … Read More

Health insurance company begins shopper program

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is rolling out a shopper program that “allows members to choose, based on quality and cost, the diagnostic imaging facility where their services are rendered.” Beginning July 1, 2017, the AIM Specialty Care Shopper program introduced to their individual Preferred Care PPO and HMO Louisiana, Inc. members for Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and … Read More

The difference between hospital based and outpatient imaging

Did you know there is a difference in where you have your medical imaging exam? Most people don’t realize they have the option to visit an outpatient imaging center instead of a hospital for their exam. Or, they don’t understand there is often a big difference. At freestanding outpatient imaging centers such as Capitol Imaging Services affiliates, you can save … Read More

Report cites “out of pocket” health spending is soaring

According to a research report published, U.S. health care spending increased to $3.3 trillion in 2016, with out-of-pocket health care costs borne directly by consumers rising 3.9 percent – the fastest rate of growth since 2007. Published by the non-profit organization, Health Affairs, health expenditures swallowed a greater part of the economy, with health expenditures making up 17.9 percent share … Read More

Be a smart shopper on health care

The bane of any purchaser is not knowing enough about the purchase opportunity. We try hard to understand the relationship between price and what we’re getting. Nowhere is this bane more pronounced than in our relationship with our health care system. There are many ways we interface with it: Emergencies — where we ask no questions and simply plead to … Read More

The mistake that can cost you up to 85% MORE for medical tests

Diagnostic tests such as X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs can be very expensive if you don’t have insurance. In fact, they can be expensive even if you DO have insurance, depending on your policy’s deductibles and co-pays. Most people don’t realize that the fees for these procedures can vary tremendously, depending on where they are performed. Many people use hospitals … Read More

Hospital facility fees add to ballooning costs of health care for consumers

Capitol Imaging Services shares this story about ballooning health care costs in the state of Vermont, with one reason being: The root of these increases are controversial charges known as “facility fees,” and they are routinely tacked on to patients’ bills not just for services actually provided in hospitals, but also by outpatient care centers and doctors’ offices simply because … Read More

Research: hospital outpatient prices much higher for identical services

According to research published by the National Institute for Health Care Reform, average hospital outpatient department prices for common imaging, colonoscopy and laboratory service can be DOUBLE THE PRICE for identical services provided in a physician’s office or other community-based setting, such as an independent provider, i.e. Diagnostic Imaging Services. Using private insurance claims data for nearly 600,000 active and … Read More

Another example of hospital imaging MRI exam “sticker shock”

Even though this is not a story from our area, it still holds relevance not only in the greater New Orleans area, but in the southeastern United States as well as the entire country. This story is from a public radio news reporter in Boston, Massachusetts who needed to undergo an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scan. The reporter did call … Read More

Is this the type of service you would want for your imaging exam?

A woman visited a Capitol Imaging Services affiliate, Diagnostic Imaging Services (DIS), to have her screening mammogram. She works for a physician’s office in the New Orleans area. She had new insurance and her provider instructed her to come to DIS for her test. However, the woman was willing to go to a local hospital instead for her mammogram, with … Read More

Three large insurers join forces for health care price transparency

UnitedHealth Group (UNH) Inc., the largest U.S. health insurer, will lead an industry effort to throw a spotlight on the prices paid for health-care services, making their costs available to consumers on the Internet. The effort, organized by a nonprofit called the Health Care Cost Institute, builds on steps the Obama administration has taken to shed light on prices charged … Read More

Hospital charges man nearly $9,000 to bandage cut finger

Even though this story is not local, it is another indication of the serious issues between medical providers and insurance companies. Obviously, the amount of money charged as quoted in this story would be considered outrageous by nearly everyone (except maybe the hospital in this story), but it illustrates that in emergency or urgent situations, people are at high risk … Read More

News report: “Get ready to pay more”

Diagnostic Imaging Services shares a news report regarding the continuing trend moving into 2015 of employers shifting more of the financial responsibility for healthcare onto employees through high deductible health insurance plans. The “new” part to it? Getting people to be better healthcare consumers is going to be the “big push.” People need to be vigilant and more aware that … Read More

How to figure out the cost of a medical procedure before it happens

DIS shares an article regarding tips to help people figure out the cost of medical care BEFORE having anything done. It’s a well-written and easy-to-understand guideline that divides healthcare into two distinguished groups:   Routine care Emergency care The first group is fairly easy; the big-ticket stuff, less so, though you can do some things to help yourself. In the … Read More

What you should know about Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Diagnostic Imaging Services has uploaded a new brochure that will be of great value to people who have been referred for a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) exam, but have never had one before. Our “What you should know” literature is designed to take some of the mystery out of having an MRI. By knowing more information before you visit one … Read More

DIS women’s imaging: quality of care in an efficient environment

As the largest independently-owned outpatient imaging organization in Lousiana, DIS provides a short overview of the depth and breadth of our women’s health imaging portfolio. While one local health system once touted that they performed over 2,500 mammograms in one year, DIS often performs that many IN ONE MONTH! From mammography to tomosynthesis to breast biopsy, no other outpatient provider … Read More

Employer health plan deductibles see big 5-year jump

DIS shares a USA Today news story from September on a report that indicates health insurance deductibles taking a huge jump as we head into 2015. Premiums for employer-paid insurance are up 3% this year, but deductibles are up nearly 50% since 2009, the report by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows. The average deductible this year is $1,217, up from … Read More

Insurance out-of-pocket costs can be reduced by using outpatient imaging!

Diagnostic Imaging Services shares a video from a medical doctor who explains the conundrum a patient of his had when the doctor recommended a CT scan. In this example, even with health insurance, the patient had an opportunity to pay nearly 1/3 less to an independent outpatient imaging center, that in the words of the doctor, “does perfectly good CAT scans.” Kudos to … Read More

How much difference in price is there between hospital imaging and DIS?

It can be a complicated and somewhat cumbersome task to try to find and then understand the information published by the federal government regarding reported submitted charges for certain imaging procedures by local hospitals. However, that’s why DIS is here to try to simplify the information so you can make informed choices! If you visit the Centers for Medicare and … Read More

More employers moving toward high deductible health plans — the time is NOW to become savvy consumers!

Many Americans with job-based health insurance will face costlier deductibles in 2015 as more large employers embrace or expand so-called consumer-directed health plans, a new survey finds. The shift to high-deductible, consumer-directed health plans is occurring as Fortune 500 companies and large public-sector employers grapple with rising health-care and insurance costs. “Employers are looking to put their employees in the driver’s … Read More

Average submitted charge for MRI without the use of a dye? Compare here…

As part of overall health care reform, there is more information being published for public consumption that identifies charges by hospitals across the country for various services, both inpatient and outpatient. Unfortunately, often times this information is convoluted, difficult to find and even more difficult to understand. That’s where we come in. Below is information reported by the Centers for Medicare & … Read More

Published research shows hospital-owned physician groups have 20% higher medical costs

As hospital systems nationwide acquire more physician practices, everybody may be getting hurt. A new study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association shows that hospital ownership of physician groups in California led to up to 20% overall higher costs for patient care. Employers and workers have to pay for these increased costs in the form of higher premiums, and … Read More

News report: Americans have insurance — but can’t afford to use it

Although more Americans have health insurance coverage, 25 percent of non-elderly Americans don’t have enough liquid assets to cover the deductible on their health insurance plan, according to a new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation. The report finds that many consumers don’t have the cash on hand to cover the cost of a mid-range deductible or $1,200 for an … Read More

Hmmmm… interesting

Recently, a person living in the greater New Orleans area used our online appointment request tool to send us an email to have us contact her to schedule an ultrasound. The interesting thing? This person works for a local hospital. Even hospital employees know the advantages of visiting Diagnostic Imaging Services. Say YES. Spend LESS.

Data shows large rise in list prices at hospitals

Diagnostic Imaging Services shares a news report showing that list prices at hospitals across the United States have risen at a pace that outpaces inflation. Most people with health insurance, including those receiving Medicare, won’t ever a see a bill for the hospital’s list price because the insurer negotiates a lower rate. But these rising charges are a growing concern … Read More

Have you spoken with your benefits value advisor?

Do you know if you have one? For many health insurance carriers, members (i.e. policy holders) can usually call or email an advisor that will assist in identifying benefits information, cost estimates and information on in-network providers for health care services. For services including surgeries, specialty procedures AND medical imaging tests such as MRI or CT scans, advisors can be … Read More

Don’t believe “your insurance will pay for it”

Diagnostic Imaging Services shares the experience of one woman who wrote an October 2014 piece for Forbes magazine. As many discover — and DIS has warned — trying to find the TRUE cost of an imaging exam such as an MRI is much more time-consuming that it should be. Because of the convolution of prices that DIS refers to as … Read More

Another example of the higher cost of hospital imaging exams

Diagnostic Imaging Services received this copy from a woman who visited a New Orleans area hospital for an ultrasound of the abdomen. DIS performs two ultrasounds of the abdomen: CPT code 76700 abdominal complete CPT code 76705 abdominal limited As you can see from the image, the radiology charge from the hospital was $1,224.00. DIS performs CPT code 76700 with … Read More

Tips for talking to your doctor about price

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 … Read More

Over 17 million enrolled in high deductible health insurance plans

An annual census conducted by America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) of U.S. health insurance companies shows that enrollment in health savings account/high-deductible health plans (HSA/HDHPs) totaled 17.4 million in January 2014. The number of enrollees with HSA/HDHPs rose to nearly 17.4 million in January 2014, up from 15.5 million in January 2013, 13.5 million in January 2012 and 11.4 million in January 2011; an average … Read More

Hospital employment of doctors rising rapidly

The number of physician practices owned by hospitals and health systems jumped 86% from 2012 to 2015, according to a survey conducted by the Avalere Health for the Physicians Advocacy Institute (PAI). The number of physicians employed by hospitals increased by nearly 50% during the same period, from 95,000 doctors in 2012 to more than 140,000 physicians in 2015, the … Read More

What do people who choose Diagnostic Imaging Services think of us?

Part of what we do daily at Diagnostic Imaging Services is to give people the chance to tell us what they thought about their experience with us. We know there are many choices when needing an imaging exam and we want to know how we are doing in terms of care and service. By actively soliciting people, we gleam information … Read More

Costs will go up and access will go down

DIS shares a news story regarding a new group that has the goal of educating patients and represent their concerns to legislators. Independent physicians and business leaders in Central Florida have banded together to form a trade association that may well be the first in the state, according to organizers. The story cites, “Today, 39 percent of doctors nationwide are … Read More

The hospital is the most expensive setting

Diagnostic Imaging shares a news story from five months ago that clearly states that of the millions of imaging exams completed in the U.S., most take place in hospitals “which are the most expensive setting.” A very important point made was this: a higher price isn’t necessarily a good indicator of a better test. Hospitals often will try to validate … Read More

The eye popping cost of cancer drugs

While Diagnostic Imaging Services is not an organization that provides oncology services, we do screen and perform exams on people who may receive a new diagnosis of cancer, a notification that a previous cancer has returned or is/has received treatment for cancer. For those people, this story from CBS news may ring very true. For those who have not themselves … Read More