It costs more to get a colonoscopy or a CT scan in Fairfax than it does in Loudoun County.
And if you live in Fairfax County, you're probably paying more than your Loudoun neighbors for mammograms and MRIs, too.
That's according to data from New Choice Health, a private company that encourages people to become smarter healthcare consumers.
These regional differences have been in the news lately: As the Washington Post wrote earlier this month, "One hospital charges $8,000 - another $38,000." Using the same data as the Post, The New York Times listed out the prices of a series of procedures in hospitals across the country.
In the DC metro area a colonoscopy can run anywhere from $1,800 to $7,300, depending on where you go. The averages are taken from a variety of hospitals, doctor's offices and medical practices.
The Times and the Post used data from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Patch worked with New Choice Health to examine the cost of four well-known procedures in Patch communities all across the country and found wide disparities – CT scans, colonoscopies, MRIs and mammograms. The examination revealed the costs can vary by thousands of dollars even within the same community.
The prices from the New Choice Health marketplace reflect the “list price” for these procedures – kind of like the sticker price on a car. Health insurance companies often end up getting different discounts and reimbursements depending on the arrangements they have worked out with providers. But the point, says New Choice’s Brad Myers, is to give consumers the information they need to negotiate for themselves and make informed decisions when it comes to paying for their healthcare.
Looking at the data, some trends seem to emerge. Often the communities with the well-known medical research centers seem to be some of the most expensive places to have procedures done – or they at least go higher on the high-end of costs.