Here's hoping you never have to get an MRI or CT scan. Unfortunately, many of us will at some point.
And in the stress of the moment, you could end up overpaying by hundreds of dollars.
But it's easy to cut those costs.
Shocked at Price Quote
Rick Stoler of Northern Kentucky has been skiing for years. But this past winter, the expert skier took a bad hit and says, "I broke my humerus bone and tore my labrum."
A doctor put his arm in a sling and referred him for an MRI.
But then came the second hit: The hospital wanted almost $800 for the scan -- even with his health plan discount -- which brought the cost to about $1,000.
Upset, he told his doctor to wait a day, and searched online, where he soon found an independent imaging facility: ProScan Imaging -- which charged much less.
Stoler said "their price was about $380, so almost half the cost of a hospital, but the same MRI, the same machines."
What Your ER Doctor Won't Tell You
And that's the little secret the ER doctor won't tell you: Independent imaging centers can save 50 percent or more over hospital rates.
Dr. Stephen Pomeranz, director of Cincinnati's ProScan Imaging, said "a patient would spend a third to a quarter here of what they would spend in a competitive situation."
ProScan is one of four independent MRI centers in Greater Cincinnati. Others include West Image, Open Sided MRI and Mayfield Imaging in Kentucky.
Pomeranz says their MRI and CT scans are as accurate as any hospital, and their technicians are just as qualified.
"So the level of care, from the standard of accuracy, is never compromised," Pomeranz said.
All that's missing: Expensive hospital overhead.
And with today's high deductible health plans, Stoler is glad he shopped around after his ski accident.
"As a consumer you better do a little homework these days especially on healthcare," he said.
If you do, you don't waste your money.
CLICK HERE for ProScan Imaging (www.proscan.com)
CLICK HERE for Open Sided MRI (www.osmri.com)
CLICK HERE for Mayfield Imaging Center (www.mayfieldclinic.com)
Don't Waste Your Money is a registered trademark of the EW Scripps Co.
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