When your doctor tells you that you need a medical imaging procedure, it’s stressful for anyone. Not only are you worried about what the results may show, but you’re wondering how much the procedure will cost and whether you can afford it. This is true with any type of medical test, and that includes an ultrasound.
If your doctor has ordered an ultrasound, what exactly is this procedure and what can you expect? Just as important, how much will it cost and how do you find an affordable one? Let’s dive into some answers.
What is an ultrasound?
Similar to sonar or radar, an ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to map out different tissues in your body. During an ultrasound exam, a thin layer of gel is applied onto the skin to help the device transmit the sound waves through the body. Based on how and where those waves bounce off of various types of tissue, the ultrasound machine produces an internal image of your body.
Ultrasounds, also called sonograms, are best known as a way to monitor a developing fetus during pregnancy. However, they’re also useful for viewing many other organs and conditions within your body. Because they have minimal adverse effects and do not use any ionizing radiation, ultrasounds have an excellent safety record per the FDA and are used extensively by doctors.
How much does an ultrasound cost?
As with most medical procedures and tests, the cost of an ultrasound will vary greatly. Part of the cost depends on the area your doctor needs to see, which can dictate what type of ultrasound machine is needed by your doctor. However, even the same procedure can differ from one ultrasound provider to another.
For instance, one study found that across three states, ultrasounds ranged from $150 to $592. Prices can vary even more, though, and you can overspend up to $700 on your ultrasound, based on where you go!
How can I get an affordable ultrasound near me?
With the huge range of ultrasound prices out there, the difficulty isn’t finding an ultrasound near you. It’s finding an affordable one.
One way to find the right price is to comparison shop. Start by searching for all the imaging centers and providers in your area that offer ultrasound tests.
Call each one and give them the CPT code your doctor provided on the ultrasound order. This tells the provider exactly what type and area of ultrasound is needed.
Keep in mind that to get accurate pricing, you must give them the specific CPT code on your doctor’s order. You may need to ask your doctor’s office for this code if it’s not written on your doctor’s order.
A CPT code is a medical code that corresponds to the specific procedure or medical service that you receive. For instance, one CPT code refers to an ultrasound of your head and neck, another to an ultrasound of your chest, and so on. This reduces miscommunications and ensures that your entire medical team (and health insurance companies) are on the same page about the exact care that you need.
Ask each imaging center the price for an ultrasound with that CPT code. If you have insurance, be sure to ask them what the out-of-pocket cost would be with your insurance and ask about the price if you pay cash as well. You may be surprised: in many cases, you’ll pay less out of pocket if you pay in cash compared to using your insurance.
Getting help from the pros
Comparison shopping for ultrasound can take precious time and energy that not everyone has to spare. To skip hours of Googling “Ultrasound near me” and calling provider after provider, you can use Imaging Panda to get a cheap ultrasound. We’ve done all this legwork for you - we’ve found the cash prices for the ultrasound centers near you and simplified the entire appointment booking process. Based on your doctor’s order, we can help you find the cheapest ultrasound without wasting your precious time.