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Preventive care costs vary by 755%

Is your diabetes screening fee 755% less than the practice on the other side of town? A study of price disparities for common preventive and wellness services found huge variations.

Change Healthcare’s latest Healthcare Transparency Index, released March 29, is based on claims data over a 12-month period from a Change Healthcare client, a company with 15,000 ensured employees living in the same geographic area.

It included the most common preventive and wellness services, including mammograms, colonoscopies, diabetes testing, Pap smears, and lipid panels.

  • Diabetes screenings: The index revealed a significant difference in costs for diabetes screenings, with a low of $51 and high of $437—a 755% cost difference.

  • Lipid panels: The index found that patients were paying $117 to $374 for the same test—a 219% variance.

  • Pap smears: The index revealed that patients could be paying up to $476 for an office visit test that costs some as little as $131 in their own community—a 263% price difference.

  • Colonoscopies (preventive): The index indicated a potential for more than $1,000 in savings by shopping providers in the same areas—from $786 to $1,819, a price difference of 131%.

  • Mammography: The index showed that women were paying a median price of $282 per mammogram, with some paying as much as $403 and as little as $169.

Change Healthcare estimated that employers could save $96,000 per year on just those five screenings if their employees who visit “high-cost” providers for their preventive care would switch to those charging median prices.

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