What to Expect to Pay for a Mammogram

how much does a mammogram costA mammogram is an important diagnostic and screening tool.  Women over forty should get one every few years. They’re basically x-rays for the breast. The radiation is very low dose, but the image is clear enough to detect any hints of breast cancer. Before x-rays were invented, breast cancers could only be detected when masses were big enough to feel from the outside. By then it was often too late.

Mammograms: Then and Now

According to RamSoft, a leader in online radiology services, the mammogram used today was invented in 1949.  X-rays had been around for more than 50 years at that point, and they were showing promise in breast cancer detection. The compression aspect of the mammogram was added to the x-ray for more accurate imaging.

As diagnostic imaging improves, so do mammograms. Now, some facilities use 3D breast imaging technology for increased image clarity and diagnostic accuracy. These new tests are more likely to pick up tumors, and less likely to give patients scary false positives.

Why Mammograms Are Important

Mammograms save lives. The Susan G. Komen foundation has a handy chart to see how many lives are saved thanks to regular mammograms by age group. Some age groups benefit from regular mammograms more than others. The general rule seems to be that the older the patient, the more likely her life could be saved by regular mammograms. For women between 60 and 69, for example, patients who received regular mammograms saw a 33% reduction in death from breast cancer.

Despite this, there are still a lot of women who forego regular mammograms. There are a few reasons.  Some women may be afraid of the test. They may be afraid of pain from the test, or of receiving negative results.  Other women decide against regular mammograms due to the cost. Neither of these reasons should keep women from getting regular mammograms.

Some women find mammograms uncomfortable, but the momentary discomfort is worth it.  A few minutes of unpleasantness could lead to a lifesaving diagnosis. The same goes for cost.  If finances are a barrier, patients have options for assistance.

How Much Does a Mammogram Cost with Insurance

mammogram cost

Some insurance companies cover mammograms with no out-of-pocket costs for the patient.  Others do require a copay. According to Cost Helper, mammogram copay is usually between $10 and $35.  If a plan has a deductible, it may not apply to a mammogram. Since it is a preventative service, some mammograms are covered outside the deductible. If a deductible does apply to a mammogram, the patient will have to pay full price up to the deductible amount for any service, including a mammogram.

How Much Is a Mammogram without Insurance

For uninsured patients, a mammogram typically costs between $80 and $212.  The average price is probably closer to $102. How much a mammogram costs for uninsured patients depends on where it’s done.

Patients without insurance shouldn’t be afraid to ask for assistance with the cost of a mammogram. Hospitals are often willing to work with patients through payment plans. The finance department can provide more information.

Factors Contributing to How Much a Mammogram Costs

Facility Cost

It costs a lot of money to keep hospitals up and running. The cost of equipment and space is significant.  Part of the cost of the mammogram goes to the cost of buying and maintaining the machine used to perform the test.

Trained Staff

Mammograms are conducted by a mammogram technologist known as a mammographer. The cost of a mammogram includes paying the staff member who performs the test.

Reading

Although mammograms aren’t performed by a doctor, the images are read by one. A doctor will receive a patient’s images and check them for abnormalities.

Additional Costs

cost of mammogram without insurance

Mammograms may cost more for some patients than others. Sometimes women need additional tests that cost more. If a mass or irregularity is found in the breast, doctors may want to perform a biopsy. In other cases, a second mammogram is all that is required. Either way, only about 10% of patients require additional health screening.

Summing Up the Cost of a Mammogram

Mammograms should be a priority for all . The cost of a mammogram shouldn’t intimidate anyone. The test is relatively low cost for the high value it provides. Financial assistance may be available. Payment plans can be set up through the finance department. A mammogram can save a life. A clear image means peace of mind. Reach out to your local hospital or medical facility offering mammograms now.

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