- Study of healthcare procedures found huge price disparities between cities
- Women in country can pay anywhere from $43 to $1,898 for a mammogram
- Costs vary so much as there are no uniform standards in health system
- Suggested that women forgo preventative care due to cost considerations
- In New York City, where the most expensive mammograms in the country were found, prices vary between $130 and $1,898
- The cities with the least expensive mammograms include Cincinnati at $159, Tampa at $162 and St. Louis at $175
Women can pay anywhere from $43 to $1,898 to discover if they have breast cancer which experts have said shows how ‘broken the US healthcare system really is’.
The comprehensive study by Castlight Health of healthcare procedures has revealed huge price differences between cities.
In New York City, where the most expensive mammograms in the country were found, prices vary between $130 and $1,898.
A study has revealed how the cost of a mammogram in the US can vary hugely between cities and states.
This table shows the average cost for mammograms in the 30 most populous cities in the UK, as well as the average price for preventive primary care visits – this means measures taken for disease prevention, such as regular check-ups, staying up to date with immunizations and common disease screening.
Giovanni Colella, chief executive of Castlight Health, said: ‘This study has data that is vital to understanding how broken the US healthcare system really is, and we sincerely hope that employers and consumers take note.
‘The only way that employees and their employers can even begin to manage healthcare spend is by understanding how much it costs.’
A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast and can help to find breast cancer even before there are any obvious signs or symptoms.
In Dallas, the city with the widest range for mammogram costs, the procedure could cost anywhere between $50 and $1,045.
The other cities with the least expensive mammograms include Tampa at $53, Tulsa at $65 and Detroit at $66.
TOP TEN MOST EXPENSIVE MAMMOGRAMS BY CITY
New York City – $1,898
Dallas – $1,045
Los Angeles – $954
San Francisco – $860
Boston – $838
Philadelphia – £758
Washington – $663
Indianapolis – $604
Norfolk – $581
Seattle – $572
TOP TEN LEAST EXPENSIVE MAMMOGRAMS BY CITY
Dallas – $50
Tampa – $53
Tulsa – $65
Detroit – $66
Nashville – $67
Hartford – $72
San Diego – $74
Chicago – $83
Orland – $84
Los Angeles – $86
Kristin Torres Mowat, Vice President of Strategic Alliances and Data Operations at Castlight Health, said: ‘These numbers are eye-opening. It’s especially disturbing that women and their employers could be needlessly overpaying for mammograms and other critical health services.
‘Despite mandated insurance coverage for certain services, evidence shows that women forgo basic preventative care due to cost considerations and that delaying preventative care can harm patient health and increase future medical spending.’
Costs vary so widely because there are no uniform standards in the health care system.
‘The arbitrary pricing strategies put in place by health care providers make large pricing swings the rule rather than the exception,’ Sarah O’Leary, founder of Exhale Healthcare Advocates, a national consumer health care advocacy group, told Yahoo Health.
In New York City, where the most expensive mammograms in the country were found, prices vary between $130 and $1,898 (stock image)
The investigators also examined the prices of other common medical services, including preventive primary care visits (the measures taken to prevent disease, which includes things like regular check ups and screening tests), lipid panels (a cholesterol test), CT scans and MRIs.
In New York, it was discovered there was a 76x difference between what consumers paid to have the same lipid panel done, ranging from $14 to $1,070.
Over the past year, the average price of the test rose in all but one of the 30 cities. It increased 282 per cent in San Francisco, 214 per cent in Sacramento and 198 per cent in Pittsburgh.
In Washington, the price of a brain CT scan ranged from $78 to $1,673; in New York City the price of a lower-back MRI varied from $334 to $3,939; and in Chicago the cost of a routine exam at a primary care physician was between $50 and $423.
The average cost of a preventive primary care visit was highest in Minneapolis at $228, three times more than Miami at $96.