SUMMARY: Amazing acts of healing and grace — and upsetting episodes of overcharging. That’s what our contributors told us about in our joint project with the Brian Lehrer show on WNYC crowdsourcing the price of mammograms.
How much does a mammogram cost? There are a lot of answers to that question. Beyond that, there are a lot of experiences. Click on the chart at right to hear voices and stories.
Caring providers, and uncaring ones. Puzzling bills, and clear ones. Women who got free mammograms and wanted to tell others about them — and women who couldn’t afford mammograms, and were worried that they might be facing catastrophe. Women who chose to pay for their mammograms rather than using an in-network provider, because they felt the service and results were better. Women who felt that their lives had been saved by a careful reading of their mammogram.
Our project with the Brian Lehrer Show at WNYC brought nearly 400 listeners and readers to the WNYC site to share information about mammogram pricing with us.
We’re giving you a selection of comments, attached to pricing information (click on the box to the right, and you’ll see the file).
We omitted the names of providers and payers, mostly because our lawyers pointed out that our questionnaire didn’t quite ask the questions correctly, and therefore the answers were not crystal clear. The terms in our questionnaire, “insurance price” and “negotiated price,” didn’t quite add up for many, and so the answers we got were good but hard to categorize as one thing or the other. In this light, our lawyers said we would be guessing what contributors meant (again, our bad!) and so posting names of payers and providers online with certainty was impossible. Also, we asked for routine mammograms, but some of the responses clearly stated that the mammograms were not screening mammograms, the routine preventive care version, but rather diagnostic mammograms, given to women who have a family history, a personal history, or symptoms of something that required a diagnosis — so the prices and reimbursements were not exactly apples to apples.
We did include the prices charged, because contributors were very clear with us about what their bills said, even if the price paid by the insurer was a little less clear. For this installment, we didn’t include every voice, but rather chose a representative sampling.
And so: here are our contributors’ voices. Thank you again.
Also: Here at clearhealthcosts.com, we do pricing surveys for the self-pay prices for common procedures. What we have found here in the New York area is a range from $50 to over $600 for a mammogram if you ask in advance and pay cash; here’s our price list for New York and here’s one for Los Angeles.
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This is Part Six of our WNYC “price of a mammogram” series. The series is outlined here.
2. The overview: How much does a mammogram cost? Prices, payments vary widely, our survey with WNYC finds.
3. We don’t offer medical advice, but we wanted to tell you about the guidelines. When is a mammogram not a mammogram?
4. How much does a mammogram cost? Your tales of bills: $0 to $2,786.95.
5. Women’s health resources. No one should ever have to go without a mammogram or other women’s health issues. Reproductive health belongs to us. Here are some resources, and some thoughts about women’s health.
6. Acts of healing, and of overcharging: Contributors talk about their mammograms.
7. How much does a mammogram cost? The takeaway.
8. How should you choose a mammogram facility? Dr. Geraldine McGinty explains.