We read and hear a lot about the craziness and wild swings in pricing for common medical services. Some seem too incredulous to believe. Healthcare’s version of Ripley’s Believe It Or Not.

OK. So here’s a true story. Hot off the presses. Happened just this week to someone in our sphere.

Same Patient.
Same Test.
Same Doc.
Same Equipment.
Same Health Plan.
Two Different Facilities From Two Different Health Systems.
Both “In-Network”.
525% Difference in Cost.

Yes. You read it right. Five. Hundred. Twenty Five. Percent. Difference.

Here are the details.

MEDICAL SERVICE NEEDED: The patient was prescribed a routine echocardiogram, a common diagnostic test. Here’s the WebMD definition.

Echocardiogram An echocardiogram (also called an echo) is a type of ultrasound test that uses high-pitched sound waves that are sent through a device called a transducer. The device picks up echoes of the sound waves as they bounce off the different parts of your heart. These echoes are turned into moving pictures of your heart that can be seen on a video screen.

INSURANCE COVERAGE : Major Insurance Carrier; Customary Employer Healthplan. $4,500 Deductible.

PRESCRIBING PHYSICIAN: Same Doc. Practice Privileges with Multiple Health Systems.

EQUIPMENT USED FOR TEST: Same Test. Same Equipment.



True story.

Hat’s off to the patient for asking the right questions. A little bit of homework paid off.

Makes one wonder at how this kind of price disparity happens; especially, with two accredited health systems in close proximity to one and other.

And, I wonder how many people pay the $4,200 never knowing that they can save 3,400 bucks just by driving a little further down the street………

Healthcare’s version of Ripley’s Believe It Or Not? Maybe. You can decide for yourself.