Imaging Costs at Delaney Radiology

If healthcare costs have taken a bigger “bite” out of your paycheck over the last few years, you’re not alone. But making good choices can make a BIG difference!

When you need a diagnostic exam, you have a choice in where you obtain services.  A smart choice could mean lowering the cost of your care—including your out-of-pocket costs—by hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

At Delaney Radiology, you can count on having access to imaging equipment and physician expertise that equals or exceeds the quality you’ll find anywhere in the area.

Yet, even for an identical exam interpreted by radiologists with the same expertise, your cost probably won’t be the same. Depending on where you choose to go when your doctor orders a test, you could end up paying more elsewhere—possibly many times more—for the exact same exam.

The information below will help you better understand the factors that can affect the cost of medical imaging, so that you can make more-informed choices when it comes to your healthcare dollar. If your insurance plan has a high deductible or copay, the difference could make an impact you’ll notice right away.

Cost of Imaging Q&A

A. When you pay for an imaging exam, there are a few basic components of that cost, wherever you go. Among the cost factors are:

  • The cost of owning and operating the imaging equipment used
  • Service costs for the technologist who operates the equipment and the radiologist who interprets your exam
  • Lease or ownership costs for the building and land at the imaging center’s location
  • Administrative and support costs, ranging from paying administrative staff to the cost of ensuring compliance with quality standards and safety regulations

A. The reasons can be complex. However, in any given area, the difference often comes down to a choice between a large institution, such as a center run by a hospital or health system, vs. an independent outpatient provider like Delaney Radiology.

Large institutions generally have higher operating costs and often must be open for 24 hours every day with a large support team on all shifts that may include facilities maintenance specialists, security officers, and more. To help cover these costs, charges for imaging exams may include a “facility” fee. Although the costs of buying or leasing equipment and paying doctors and technologists are likely to be quite similar no matter where you go for an exam, other costs, such as the cost of buildings, land, and support team needs, can be much lower for an independent outpatient provider. Insurance companies understand this. So they are often willing to reimburse large institutions at much higher rates for the same imaging services—which also means a higher cost for you.

A. It’s important to listen to your physician’s point of view on all aspects of your care, but you have every right to choose your imaging provider. There are many reasons why a physician or office staff member may suggest a specific imaging center. For example, a doctor affiliated with a large health system may assume that a patient wants as a matter of convenience to go to the imaging center in the same building or on the same medical campus. However, this may not be the most cost-effective—or even the most convenient—choice for you. You should always feel free to ask questions about a provider your physician recommends and, most of all, understand that where you go for your imaging exam is ultimately up to you.

A. Your insurance company may have negotiated cost agreements with particular providers. As such, they may strongly encourage you to use a specific provider for your exam, call you to change to a provider of their choice, or ask you to choose from a list that they provide. This is called “steerage.” Your insurer may even tell you that your study will “cost less” with their preferred provider. However, the cost reduction may only impact the insurance company, saving them money. Your copay or the out-of-pocket payment toward your deductible could still be the same. Choosing Delaney Radiology could still lower YOUR cost, even if we aren’t one of your insurer’s preferred providers.

Additionally, your insurer’s preference may not be based on factors such as the experience, expertise, credentials, and equipment quality of their recommended provider—or on the quality of their customer service. When you choose Delaney Radiology, you can count on quality in all of these areas, based on our reputation as the region’s imaging leader in these criteria, earned through more than 30 years of service.

A. Even if a lower cost for your exam at Delaney Radiology may not affect you directly, it can still pay, especially in the long run, to be a smart, informed healthcare consumer. Overpaying for care impacts the entire healthcare system. In the long run, by wisely managing your healthcare dollar, even if you aren’t spending it directly, you’re doing your part to reduce the pressure on insurers to increase premiums. And that benefits everyone.

A. No. There are times when you may need an imaging study immediately at the closest possible facility. For example, when you are hurt and in the emergency room, or seriously ill and admitted to the hospital, any diagnostic studies your care requires will need to be performed on-site. But in non-emergency situations, even when you are ill or injured, you still have a choice—and at Delaney Radiology, we have the resources to get you scheduled quickly for care of the highest quality. So even if you’ve been told to have a diagnostic study the same day, call Delaney first. We’ll make every effort to get you scheduled.

A. In terms of quality equipment, depth and breadth of subspecialty radiology expertise, and commitment to a superior patient experience, Delaney Radiology is unmatched in the region. Our entire team is focused on serving you in a way that wins your confidence, not only in terms of value, but from every other perspective as well—by providing dedicated, compassionate care, with every test, every person, every time.