Breast Imaging Options: Getting the Care You Need at a Price You Can Afford
Promoted by Houston Medical Imaging
Breast cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in American women — with skin cancer taking the top spot — and approximately one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their lives. While breast cancer can be very treatable, with the 10-year survival rate coming in at 83 percent, catching it early is important. That's where regular mammograms come in.
According to the American Cancer Society, women should get a baseline mammogram somewhere between the ages of 40 and 44 — earlier if there is a family history of breast cancer — and should have yearly mammograms until at least age 54, at which time they can shift to two years between screenings.
However, in the past, many women have chosen to skip their yearly mammograms because of the cost. While it's true that many women don't have to pay for mammogram screenings with the recent changes to the Affordable Care Act, it's not quite as straightforward as it sounds. So, let’s take a look.
ACA's Guaranteed Screening Promise
In 2010, the Affordable Care Act guaranteed that any covered woman could go to the provider of their choice and get a mammogram screening with their insurance covering 100 percent of the costs. While this was certainly a great stride to making health care more accessible to women, it didn't quite go far enough. In approximately 85 percent of cases, the mammogram screening comes back clear, but for the other 15 percent of women, further diagnostic imaging will need to be completed.What most women don't know is that any further diagnostic study is not considered guaranteed coverage, and the regular insurance rules of copays, deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums come into play. This means that women will have to pay to determine whether their diagnostic workup comes back as benign, or as something more serious. There are also some non-ACA health insurance plans that were grandfathered into the new rules that may still require women to pay for mammography screenings, as well.
The Cost of Hospital-Based ImagingLike most other aspects of health care, hospital-based breast imaging isn't cheap, and you could end up paying upwards of $1,000 out-ofpocket for diagnostic mammography. Some hospitals also have higher call-back rates, going up to 20 to 22 percent, which means there's a greater chance you'll be facing diagnostic imaging and a costly bill. Hospitals, in general, are known to have higher costs for tests and imaging than you would typically pay at an outpatient medical facility. One reason for this is the huge overhead costs of the larger building, but another factor is that many of the components will be billed separately. For example, you'll probably receive one bill from the hospital that includes some type of technical or facility fee and another bill from the radiologist.
The Benefits of Outpatient MedicalCenters Like Houston Medical Imaging If you've discovered that you're one of the 15 percent who need diagnostic breast imaging to rule out a serious health issue, outpatient medical centers like Houston Medical Imaging can be a big help. About half of the imaging that HMI does is diagnostic in nature, and the main factor in this is the huge price difference compared to hospital imaging.
Lower CostsAt HMI, patients can expect to pay approximately one-third of the cost of the same imaging at a hospital,and depending on the payor, this could drop to just one-fourth. The facility also has a comprehensive, single charge system, which means you only get one bill for your entire procedure. This way you know exactly how much you'll be paying and don't have to worry about those surprise second, or even third, bills that can come from the hospital as charges are processed through different departments.
State-of-the-Art TechnologyIf you're worried about getting the same quality of care from an outpatient imaging center as you would at a hospital, consult with your physician. Not all outpatient facilities are created equal. Which do they trust to care for their patients?
Houston Medical Imaging is a full-service facility, which means they can handle all of your breast imaging needs, including:
• Screening/diagnostic mammography
• Screening/diagnostic ultrasounds
• Diagnostic MRIs
• Mammography- ultrasound- and MRI-guided biopsies
They specialize in 3-D imaging, use CAD technology, and have cuttingedge equipment like the Siemens Mammomat machine. All of this also takes place in a dedicated women's center, with conveniences like easy access to free parking, making the entire experience more comfortable.
Specialty-Trained Women's ImagersWhen it comes to your health, it's important to trust your medical care providers and the experience they bring to the process. That's why HMI has two specialty-trained women's imagers who handle mammography needs... Drs. Jennifer Doe and Sonya Longbotham are both diagnostic radiologists who are fellowship trained and have received extensive
training in mammography, ultrasound, breast MRIs and intervention biopsy procedures, making them true experts in their field.
Taking care of your health is important to longevity and overall quality of life, and preventative care is a big part of that. Getting comprehensive breast imaging doesn’t mean that you need to pay an exorbitant fee or sacrifice quality of care. Houston Medical Imaging has the technology and professional expertise you need, providing quality care at an affordable price.
Sources:https://www.cancer.org/healthy/find-cancer-early/cancer-screeningguidelines/ american-cancer-society-guidelines-for-the-early-detectionof- cancer.html
http://www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/understand_bc/statistics https://healthfinder.gov/HealthTopics/Category/doctor-visits/screeningtests/ get-tested-for-breast-cancer