An article in today’s CBS Moneywatch.com reviews diagnostics tests, their costs, purpose, concerns and if then test is worth getting. If you are considering getting a non-emergency MRI, mammogram, CT scan, or nuclear scan, be sure to read this article. If you want to learn more about prices for these diagnostic tests, you can search the Outofpocket.com directory to find true prices for these services.
Chalk it up as one more symptom of our broken health-care system: Americans waste
more than $250 billion per year on unnecessary
medical tests and treatments, according to a Thomson Reuters health-care analytics
report. Often, doctors order expensive, high-tech tests to rule out unlikely possibilities,
reassure worried patients, or as a CYA strategy against a possible lawsuit. An American
Journal of Preventive Medicine study found
that in 43 percent of cases where healthy people went in for routine checkups, doctors
ordered an X-ray, electrocardiogram, or urinalysis. So how can you be sure you’re
not wasting your money on medical tests you don’t really need?
Unnecessary medical tests don’t just take money out of your pocket. They can expose you to radiation, cause mental stress, and kill a day or more. Not to mention their cumulative effect: ever-climbing insurance premiums .
MoneyWatch wanted to find out whether five commonly prescribed tests are worth getting: mammograms, CT scans, PSA prostate screening tests, nuclear heart scans and MRIs for lower back pain. So we talked to experts in preventative and family medicine and pored through the latest research about the risks and benefits of these tests, which can cost up to $2,000 or more a pop. What we found may surprise you.
Of course decisions about medical care are intensely personal, and everyone’s circumstances are slightly different. If there’s a key takeaway it’s this: Medical tests are not analogous to checking your car’s tire pressure. Sure there may be benefits, but there can also be negative consequences. Be sure to educate yourself on the downside.
PSA Prostate Cancer Test
Nuclear Heart Scan