An ultrasound scan (also known as a sonogram) is a means by which qualified medical personnel use high-frequency sound waves to create an accurate image of the inside of your body. Just like MRI or CT scan, you will most probably need it during the lifetime.
While most people know of the ultrasound procedure to track a baby’s development in utero, this tool is used in many other practical applications. When medical staff need to identify a condition, they may use an ultrasound scan to develop an accurate picture of your body.
But how much does an ultrasound cost with insurance? As ultrasound scans are fundamental procedures that most people, especially most pregnant women, will undergo at some point, those without insurance may wonder how expensive it can be.
If you want to find out more about ultrasounds and their costs, keep reading!
In many cases, the nurse can carry out the entire procedure. Often, there will be no special preparation required other than not eating or drinking for around an hour beforehand. However, doctors may advise an eight to 12 fast beforehand, depending on the reason for the procedure.
During an ultrasound examination, you will be dressed in a hospital gown which permits comfort and easy access on behalf of your radiologist, nurse, or doctor.
The practitioner will then apply a translucent lubricating jelly to your skin to prevent friction while holding the scanner in place. The ultrasound head, known as the transducer, will implement harmless high-frequency sound waves through your body, echoing and providing a clear image of your internal organs.
This procedure will last a maximum of 30 minutes, but some procedures can last longer or commence again, for accuracy’s sake.
Additionally, some transducers may be placed in different areas of your body depending on why the scan is being carried out. For instance, a transesophageal transducer is used within the patient’s throat, while endovaginal transducers are used to assess the female organs of the pelvic region.
Contacting your local medical provider and asking them about the availability of their ultrasound capabilities will aid you in scheduling an appointment. Also, don’t be afraid to contact multiple providers to gain a quote for their services.
Ultrasound examinations are known to be completely safe and easy to tolerate. Most ultrasounds are non-intrusive, and you won’t “feel” the scan as it happens. Ultrasounds also do not affect your baby’s health and well-being, and so they remain a convenient and trusted means of assessing internal health.
The most discomfort you will have to go to is avoiding drinking or eating for a short period before the scan. But, for most people, this is more than tolerable.
There are many benefits of having an ultrasound exam compared to other procedures; including:
As with any medical procedure, sometimes ultrasounds cannot show everything that needs to be assessed. For instance, larger patients can find that ultrasounds are less effective based on the larger amount of soft tissue present in their bodies.
Furthermore, while bone ultrasounds are a standard procedure, they are primarily used to identify the outer health of bone structures and not the composition inside. For example, they may be able to identify fractures, but only as a reference for further scans, such as an X-ray.
Additionally, as ultrasound waves are disrupted by gas or air, they are not ideal for scanning the bowel or organs that might be obscured by it. This is also the case with lungs, although the surrounding fluid encompassing that organ can be identified through this procedure.
Many factors can influence the average cost of ultrasounds without insurance (look to the end of this article for influencing factors worth keeping in mind). But before you start thinking about what this will cost you, it’s important to know if this procedure is available near you.
Most healthcare providers and clinics will be able to provide you with an ultrasound, given how common the procedure is. Depending on your needs and their availability, the procedure will be performed by a radiographer, doctor, or sonographer. Then, the images will be inspected by a cardiologist, doctor, or registered nurse.
The average out-of-pocket price for an ultrasound can vary depending on where you live and what kind of healthcare system you have. In some countries, this procedure is free; in others, it may cost thousands of dollars depending on the availability and purpose of the procedure.
In a statistical analysis carried out by comparative healthcare services, the average cost for an out-of-pocket ultrasound is $630. However, as you’ll see in our further breakdown, this figure can differ wildly depending on your location.
Different healthcare providers work together to create fast, efficient, and all-encompassing healthcare in the US. For the uninsured, making sense of this system can make budgeting for certain procedures confusing.
In Florida, the price of abdominal ultrasounds is known to cost up to 308% more than the national average, while New Jersey scores are lower than 57%. However, the cost-of-living statistics in a given area may not influence the overall price of an ultrasound. While Hawaii is considered the most expensive state to live in within the US, the national average for an ultrasound is considered the cheapest at $365.
It’s also important to remember that sometimes, available health coverage in a state can lead to competition between providers. Therefore, determining your quotes based on policy comparisons can be vital.
The average cost for an ultrasound in different states is as per the table below:
|State:||Average Cost of an Ultrasound:|
|District of Columbia||$1,110|
Keep in mind that these prices can fluctuate year-round, and depending on the specific location and area you may live in, including tax codes, final costs may differ.
Cost in Different Cities:
Of course, average cost may be higher in areas where healthcare services are less supplied or understaffed. Furthermore, areas with a higher cost of living may reflect in your healthcare prices, but this is not always the case.
In many cases, the capital city of each state will reflect the averages given above, but in some cases, they can be significantly higher. Also, you should note that when you search for ultrasound quotes in your city, your returned results do not imply a modicum of health coverage if you’re looking for the actual out-of-pocket cost.
Note that not all cities will be lucky enough to house a plethora of competing healthcare providers. This can lead to costs rising significantly based on a lack of potential alternatives. Often, out-of-pocket expenses can be managed if they are planned in advance.
Payment plans, deposits, and a breakdown of additional costs will help you more readily plan and pay off these costs as needed, without necessarily having to be immediately out of pocket as a result of your procedure taking place.
Cost of Different Body Areas:
Most of the quoted prices will reflect the cost of pelvic ultrasound, as this is the most common method of ultrasound scanning— used mainly to ensure that pregnancies are progressing as expected.
Sometimes, scans can be charged per body area, such as breast scans costing a fixed sum per breast or depending on your doctors’ recommendations. In vascular (DVT) scans, usually, a fixed cost is provided based on the limb or vessel area scanned. Additionally, musculoskeletal scans intended to assess muscle, joint tendon, and ligament disease will also be priced depending on the separate body areas scanned.
Below, we’ll use a few treatments determined by three major States to help you gauge the difference between treatments.
All prices below are given without insurance as a factor:
Note that prices may change depending on your location and the available provisions.
Most healthcare providers will make provisions for ultrasound availability in their given locations, thanks to how far-reaching and necessary this procedure is.
Health providers such as HCA Healthcare, Trinity Healthcare, Medicaid providers, and more will offer this as standard. Make sure to contact ahead and gain the essential quote prices before you decide. This can also help you weigh up the costs of potential healthcare coverage should you need it.
As explored above, the ultrasound type you are given can dramatically differentiate the price quoted. Some ultrasounds are scheduled throughout several months of a pregnancy, and as such, may be factored into the wider cost of planned appointments.
As listed in our table above, bone ultrasounds are cheaper than abdominal ultrasounds. However, when ultrasounds are scheduled as an identifying procedure, in the case of mapping conditions and other internal issues, prices may become more expensive. Depending on the accuracy of the scan required, the post-review inspections of the images provided, and the aftercare and need for more scans, your costs may fluctuate.
Some areas of the body are more difficult to scan and assess than others. Eye ultrasounds require essential specialists to come in and look at your particular readings, meaning that the cost is higher compared to standard pelvic ultrasounds, where training is far more ubiquitous and the procedure is far more common.
Some ultrasounds will require immediate referral to other procedures that need to take place, such as an MRI. After all, ultrasounds cannot show actual structures, only soft tissues, so deeper and more penetrative diagnostic tools may be required.
Note that ultrasound scans are not solely maintenance procedures; they are diagnostic tools designed to refer you to appropriate treatment or further scans, should that be necessary.
As such, it’s important to be prepared for further costs should they arise.
As discussed above, healthcare provisions and associated costs can vary wildly depending on your location.
Influential factors such as how many local providers are ready to provide this service, the cost of living, inflation, rising costs of medical materials, and coverage statistics, can influence your healthcare costs.
As such, essential costs are best considered as part of your healthcare planning.
Navigating your way through healthcare costs without insurance can feel tricky at times. Just because you are not insured, it doesn’t mean you don’t deserve robust, effective, and reasonably priced healthcare just like everyone else.
When in need of treatment or identifying scans, it’s best to be proactive in gauging costs so that you can begin planning for such expenditure as soon as possible and looking at possible coverage options should you need them.
In this post, we asked and answered the question, “how much is an ultrasound without insurance?”
While it can be hard to give an exact estimate, working with averages and understanding the influencing factors, including location, body type, scan definition, and the competing costs between healthcare providers, can help you arrive at a necessary estimate.
From there, you will no doubt be able to assess certain specific quotes and do so with confidence.
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