Being the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women, breast cancer is also the second leading cost of their death in the United States. In fact, 1 out of 8 American women is diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. As of 2016, there was a total of 246,666 cases of breast cancer diagnosed in America. By the end of 2017, that number is expected to reach 252,710 according to the American Cancer Society.
Fortunately, breast cancer tests like mammograms are crucial to earlier management and successful recovery among afflicted women. As of 2015, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has estimated that 65.3% of the American women aged 40 years and above have had mammogram exams.
National Average Costs
Considering the titular question, how much does a mammogram cost? It is important to bear in mind that there are two types of mammograms, to begin with. Screening mammograms are used in order to check for breast cancer if the patient has no discernible symptoms. On the other hand, Diagnostic mammograms are used to determine the presence of cancer cells if symptoms are already found.
The former (screening) always examines two breasts while the latter (diagnostic) type may include one breast (unilateral) or two breasts (bilateral). Based on their procedural variety, the national average cost of a mammogram is as follows:
- Screening: $263 to more than $822
- Unilateral Diagnostic: $256 to more than $802
- Bilateral Diagnostic: $325 to more than $1,017
About Medicare Coverage
Health insurance is the most readily available way for one to reduce the average cost of a mammogram. As of 2016, only 12.4% of all American citizens interviewed by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) between the ages of 12 to 64 remain medically uninsured.
The government-issued Medicare categorizes mammograms as a Part B health plan. Hence, only consumers with Part B insurance are afforded with financial indemnity. These are the following guidelines every patient must consider regarding qualifications and the details around it:
- Part B deductible subscription only costs $183 per year.
- Women above 40 years or older are completely eligible.
- Women aged between 35 and 39 can only get a baseline mammogram.
- Screening mammogram is covered once every 12 months.
- Screening mammogram is free of charge if the doctor or other licensed health care provider accepts the assignment.
- Diagnostic mammogram is covered only when deemed necessary.
- Diagnostic mammogram only costs 20% of the Medicare-approved amount.
As of 2017, Medicare covers a total of 5 specific mammogram procedure components performed either in a clinic/office or in a hospital outpatient setting. Each of the following types of mammogram (unilateral, bilateral, or screening) is a combination of 2 procedure components (CPT/HCPCS code).
Top 10 Locations
Considering the insured price of a mammogram, another factor that determines its exact price range is the location. According to Amino, the national average cost of a mammogram procedure that is both paid by insurance providers and the consumer’s pocket cash is roughly around $266. This entails both the cost of medical service itself and the facility fee. In order to gauge for an ideal deal based on location alone, one should review the following areas:
- $165: Louisiana (New Orleans – Metairie)
- $168: New York (Buffalo – Cheektowaga – Niagara Falls)
- $169: Ohio (Columbus)
- $194: Tennessee (Nashville – Davidson – Murfreesboro – Franklin)
- $197: Illinois – Missouri (St. Louis)
- $205: Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh)
- $206: Utah (Salt Lake City)
- $206: Alabama (Birmingham – Hoover)
- $221: DC – Virginia – Maryland – West Virginia (Washington – Arlington – Alexandria)
- $213: Michigan (Dearborn – Warren – Detroit)
- $307: California (San Jose – Sunnyvale – Santa Clara)
- $319: California (Los Angeles – Long Beach – Anaheim)
- $325: Georgia (Atlanta – Sandy Spring – Roswell)
- $332: Indiana (Indianapolis – Carmel – Anderson)
- $382: Maryland (Baltimore – Columbia – Towson)
- $385: Connecticut (West Hartford – Hartford – East Hartford)
- $386: North Carolina (Raleigh)
- $388: Colorado (Denver – Aurora – Lakewood)
- $445: Massachusetts – New Hampshire (Boston – Cambridge – Newton)
- $468: Oregon – Washington (Portland – Vancouver – Hillsboro)
Free or Low-Cost Local Options
While location constitutes one of the key factors for determining the varying price of a mammogram, only a portion of the entire American population lives in the ten cheap areas mentioned earlier. Can an Americans still get it for a bargain cost elsewhere? Not only is it possible to have low-cost options, it is even possible to get it for free. The following organizations schedule free breast cancer screenings on certain selected dates:
- National Breast Cancer Foundation
- National Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program
- Susan G. Komen Foundation
- The YWCA
Apart from free screening, these organizations also offer very low out-of-pocket costs that enable women to afford getting mammograms. On a special note: Israel has two health centers that do not charge fees for a mammogram.
It is important to take note that local imaging centers also provide reduced rates during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. As of 2017, this celebration starts on October 1 and ends on the 31st. Speaking of reduced rate, MD Save offers bargain prices for these following procedures:
Nationwide scale: 162 providers
MD Save price range: $100 to $358
Unilateral Diagnostic Mammograms
Nationwide scale: 152 providers
MD Save price range: $140 to $345
Bilateral Diagnostic Mammograms
Nationwide scale: 154 providers
MD Save price range: $175 to $441
One of the most viable options (which are not often recommended by local physicians) for reducing mammogram cost is to visit health care providers abroad. While it is true that countries like the United States and Canada have established themselves as the leading authorities behind excellent medical standards (see JCI, ISO and American Blue Cross), these nations do not hold an absolute monopoly on world class standards.
It is only natural for consumers to opt for cheaper quality services overseas, especially considering that every nation aspires and strives to achieve world class medical standards. But, how much does a mammogram cost in other countries? One can avail this breast cancer screening service at less than $100 of the starting cost in the following hospitals abroad:
- Dobro Clinic (Kiev, Ukraine): $39
- Medscan (Moscow, Russia): $42
- Hopital Prive (Marrakech, Morocco): $56
- Clinique La Corniche (Sousse, Tunisia): $58
- Centre International Carthage Medical (Monastir, Tunisia): $58
- Premium Plastic Surgery (Budapest, Hungary): $58
- Mission Hospital (Bangkok, Thailand): $84
- Cedars Jebel Ali International Hospital (Dubai, UAE): $86
- Bangkok Hospital (Phuket, Thailand): $90
- IMed – Elche or Levante (Alicante, Spain): $97