The Position Emission Tomography (PET) Scan is a medical procedure that utilizes a special type of imaging device and a radioactive chemical or called as a tracer that is commonly injected, inhaled or swallowed into the body. This procedure allows viewing the molecular formation inside the body through a motion or motionless pictures. At present, this procedure is being performed through an instrument that is already a combination of PET scan and Computed Tomography (CT) scan to yield better and more accurate diagnosis.
PET/CT scan is typically performed in order to detect cancer and whether the cancer cells have spread in the body or returned after a series of treatment. It can also be used to assess the effectiveness of the method used, or determine the effects of a heart attack. This procedure can also be done to identify parts of the coronary muscle that could benefit from other kinds of procedure such as an Angioplasty, the surgical process of inserting a heart stent.
However, before you even think of going to a laboratory to get the procedure done, it is imperative that you know how much would a PET scan cost.
Average PET/CT Scan Price
- A PET scan costs around $1,500 to $20,000 for individuals without health insurance coverage.
- For those individuals who have health insurance, most policies cover PET/CT scan when it is determined by the health care professional as a medically necessary procedure. If this procedure will be covered, typical out-of-pocket expenses include copayments or coinsurance ranging from 10% to %60 or more. Since most of the health insurance policies vary, it is strongly suggested that you check with health insurance provider to obtain and confirm your benefits under your plan.
- The Average PET/CT scan price may vary depending on the part of the body being examined, geographic location, the clinic, hospital or laboratory where the procedure would be done, inclusions, and other laboratory fees.
Factors That Affect PET Scan’s Total Cost
As mentioned, the PET scan cost can be affected by numerous factors including the part of the body being examined, geographic location, the clinic, hospital or laboratory where the procedure would be done, and inclusions and other laboratory fees.
- The part of the body being examined will affect the entire bill. A brain PET scan typically costs around $2,250 up to $11,000 or more, while a heart PET scan usually costs between $3,000 and $25,000. Additionally, a chest to head neck PET scan normally costs about $3,000 to $11,000 and a skull to mid-thigh PET scan can cost around $3,200 to $12,700. A whole body PET scan, however, would be a little cheaper than a part-specific scan and this is because it serves like a general imaging with little focus to the specific body part that needs to be examined.
- The geographic location is also a major factor that influences the overall cost. One state or city usually differs in rate compared to others. For example in Atlanta, Georgia, the average PET scan costs around $1,650 to $4,300 while Chicago, Illinois, Houston, Texas, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Miami, Florida offer PET Scan at an average of $1,500 to $3,900.
- Many hospitals, clinics, and laboratories offer PET scans at different prices. For example, a diagnostic testing facility in Omaha, Nebraska called the Alegent Health Lakeside IDTF offers PET scan for around $975 to $3,500 while a hospital in Lone Pine, California called the Southern Inyo Hospital offers PET scan at an astounding price range from $5,000 to $17,000 or more.
- Inclusions and other laboratory fees can also contribute to the overall cost of the procedure. Sometimes, the fee for the laboratory exam interpretation is billed together with the initials bills.
- An office visit and exam will be necessarily done before the scan procedure in order to discuss your choices and options you’re your health care, provider. The possible risks will be discussed, too. Office visits and exams are typically around $50 to $200.
- There are moments that a patient can withdraw from the procedure. If you happened to be in doubt of pursuing with the procedure and you wish to cancel it, you will have to pay a cancellation fee of no less than $450. Usually, a cancellation made within twenty-four (24) hours from scheduling the procedure are permitted without any additional fee.
- There will be fees for lab technicians and professionals that could apply on top of the PET scan fee. The additional fees may vary from state to another or hospital to another.
- Follow-up visits may be required by your doctor. These visits are not free, of course! Be prepared to shell out some money of at least $10 per visit.
- Copies of films and CDs may be an added cost. This will depend on the policy of your doctor.
- It is imperative that you acquire a health insurance coverage before you proceed with the surgery. Without an insurance, it will definitely cost you more.
Ways to Save Money
PET/CT scan procedure is undeniably expensive. However, there are tips which you can make use of in order to slack off some money from your overall expenses of the medical procedure.
- You can have a PET/CT scan done near your location. If you do this, you will have the opportunity to meet your doctor personally. This will give less fear since you will know that your doctor will take good care of you. You can also visit the hospital if you wish to know if it is a suitable place for you to have your operation and recovery. Apart from that, you will also save the money that is supposed to be intended for your travel expenses when going to a further clinic.
- Do some researches. Compare prices, ask for advice, seek testimonies and consult your doctor. Ask what possible side effects or life-threatening complications the PET/CT scan might cause. Always be informed. Remember! An informed patient will never go wrong with his or her choices!
- If you are a cash-paying patient, you can save some dollars by getting insured. You can apply for a family or an individual plan depending on your choice. The premiums you pay each month for your health insurance is nothing compared to the money you could save in the long run.
- There are numerous hospitals that offer 30% or more discounts to uninsured or cash-paying patients. You can browse the internet to search for hospitals with laboratory facilities that offers money off to qualified uninsured patients.
- If you are insured, though, contact your health insurance provider if the PET/CT scan is covered under your laboratory privileges in your insurance policy. Do not undergo a PET/CT scan without asking your insurance provider for your benefits. Your policy is a long document and it would be very difficult and close to impossible for you to memorize your benefits. It is good that you check in for confirmation with your insurance provider once in a while.
- Prevention is always better than cure. Live an active, fit and healthy lifestyle by exercising regularly and eating and drinking nutritious food and drinks. Prevent any disease before it strikes and requires you to undergo numerous and complicated tests.