: How much for that CT scan? It could be $4,065 or $134 — at the same hospital — depending on your health plan.

by | Oct 18, 2022 | Stock Market

Imagine you and your neighbor both need brain CT scans — common imaging procedures that use special X-ray equipment. You both have commercial health insurance and go to the same hospital for the procedure. But the price for your scan is 10 times higher than your neighbor’s.  That’s the level of disparity in prices negotiated between hospitals and commercial health insurers for some common healthcare services, according to a new study published in the journal Radiology. In a quarter of hospitals studied, the maximum price negotiated with a commercial health plan for a brain CT scan was at least 10 times higher than the minimum price.

Looking at radiology services such as CT scans, MRIs, mammograms and ultrasounds, the researchers found that on average, the highest negotiated price was nearly quadruple the lowest negotiated price for the same service at the same hospital. When a single insurance company manages multiple health plans that contract with the same hospital, there can also be wide price gaps for services within the same hospital-insurance company pair, the study found.  The data show that commercial health plans are “leaving money on the table” when they negotiate prices with hospitals for some popular services, said Ge Bai, a professor of …

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