A major healthcare insurance company announced last fall that it would no longer pay for outpatient MRIs and CT scans performed at hospitals when the patient could have received the exam at a lower cost at a free-standing imaging center. So far, 13 states are affected, including Kentucky.

As you can imagine, this announcement sent shock waves through the healthcare world, especially hospitals!

Why would an insurance company implement such a policy?

The answer is simple really: cost. Hospitals carry a lot of overhead: 24-hour emergency departments, laundry and nutrition services, administration and so on. These expenses have to be made up somewhere and imaging studies are typically one source of revenue. As a result, imaging studies performed in hospitals are typically two or three times more expensive than those performed at free-standing centers.

Now if you have health insurance you might be thinking none of this matters to you: your insurance will pay for your testing. Maybe. Maybe not. It would be in your best interest to check before having an outpatient CT or MRI done to ensure that it’s being covered wherever you’re having it done.

Out of pocket expenses such as (deductibles, coinsurance, and copays) could be significantly lower than hospital costs.

Can the hospital where you’re planning to have this testing done tell you up front what your financial responsibility will be? Probably not. In all likelihood, they don’t even know.

As the area’s only free-standing, locally owned, private imaging center, Lexington Diagnostic Center has been providing high-quality, low-cost services to area patients for more than 30 years. Not only do patients experience a comfortable, home-like environment at Lexington Diagnostic Center, they enjoy peace of mind knowing an estimate of what their testing will cost up front.

Don’t believe it? Here are some examples of the costs Lexington Diagnostic Center patients have reported to us (based on Anthem BC/BS and Humana plans):

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