You could be paying less for your medical tests.

 Many of us are working with new health insurance this year and are trying to navigate our coverage, claims and deductibles. If you have a health scare, this can be overwhelming.

You might be surprised to know that there are “sticker prices” for outpatient image testing. Just like the sticker price on a car, these prices are generally inflated…and negotiable.  And, just like cars, you can access a “blue book” to find out the fair price for these tests and use them as a point of negotiation.

You may also be surprised to know that you can save up to 400% off these sticker prices by self-paying right out of your pocket. This is extremely beneficial for patients with little or no insurance or high deductibles.  You may even qualify for a medical tax credit if you self-pay (speak to your accountant), especially for those who are retired.


Test National Average Fair Price Local self-pay average
Abdominal ultrasound




Brain MRI (no contrast)




CT Abdomen (w/& w/out contrast)




X ray of the wrist





The above table compares the average charges for imaging tests nationally, the Healthcare BlueBook fair price and the Naperville/Plainfield average self-pay discounted rate offered at local imaging facilities.  The biggest factor impacting these costs is where you choose to have your test. Stand-alone imaging centers generally offer lower rates than hospitals.  However, your actual out-of-pocket costs will depend on several factors, including whether you qualify for a discount, whether the procedure is covered by insurance, and, if so, whether any deductible, co-insurance or other limitation applies. It is important to understand your coverage prior to having any procedure.

Remember you do have a choice and the power of negotiation is yours.