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Preventive care costs vary by 755%


The price of common health screenings varies as much as 755%, even within the same geographic areas, a study shows. Find out which tests had the biggest gaps--and where your practice falls in the ranges.

Is your diabetes screening fee 755% less than the practice on the other side of town? A study of price disparities for common preventive and wellness services found huge variations.

Change Healthcare’s latest Healthcare Transparency Index, released March 29, is based on claims data over a 12-month period from a Change Healthcare client, a company with 15,000 ensured employees living in the same geographic area.

It included the most common preventive and wellness services, including mammograms, colonoscopies, diabetes testing, Pap smears, and lipid panels.

Diabetes screenings: The index revealed a significant difference in costs for diabetes screenings, with a low of $51 and high of $437-a 755% cost difference.

Lipid panels: The index found that patients were paying $117 to $374 for the same test-a 219% variance.

Pap smears: The index revealed that patients could be paying up to $476 for an office visit test that costs some as little as $131 in their own community-a 263% price difference.

Colonoscopies (preventive): The index indicated a potential for more than $1,000 in savings by shopping providers in the same areas-from $786 to $1,819, a price difference of 131%.

Mammography: The index showed that women were paying a median price of $282 per mammogram, with some paying as much as $403 and as little as $169.

Change Healthcare estimated that employers could save $96,000 per year on just those five screenings if their employees who visit “high-cost” providers for their preventive care would switch to those charging median prices.

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