Understanding Urgent Care X-ray Costs

on February 20th, 2023
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in Health Information and Tips

Urgent care facilities offer several advantages to patients, including affordable pricing. For instance, a patient with a minor fracture seeking treatment from an emergency room is likely to be charged five times more than an urgent care center. Generally, treatment involves several diagnostic tests, including X-rays, blood analysis, urinalysis, and toxicology. More importantly, doctors rely on X-rays to detect and evaluate health problems. Treatment costs become out of reach when the price of preliminary tests like X-rays is too high. Considering that, consider working with an affordable urgent care center to reduce your medical bills.

What You Need to Know About Urgent Care X-ray

An X-ray is a form of electromagnetic that can pass or penetrate the human body and reveal signs of illness or injury. There are different types of X-rays available to doctors to assess patients. For instance, a doctor may order a mammogram to examine early signs of breast cancer. Moreover, doctors use X-ray tests to explore where you’re experiencing pain, monitor the progression of the disease, and evaluate whether the treatment is working. Here’s a list of conditions that call for an X-ray

  • Fractures
  • Tooth decay
  • Breast tumors
  • Bone cancer
  • Arthritis
  • Digestive problems
  • Osteoporosis

The Cost of X-rays with Insurance

Most insurance policies typically cover the cost of an X-ray. Unfortunately, if you have a high deductible and haven’t fulfilled it, you’ll have to pay for it out-of-pocket until you meet the deductible. On the average, expect to pay $100-$1,000 for the X-ray. If you’ve met your deductible, check with your insurance for the scheduled co-pay or co-insurance contribution. More importantly, consult your doctor about the cost of the procedure before talking to the insurance company. For some reason, an insurer can refuse to pay for the procedure based on the diagnosis. If the insurance doesn’t cover the treatment, you can still cater for the exam out-of-pocket.

The Cost of X-rays without Insurance

If you don’t have insurance, the health provider expects you to pay the entire amount—$100-1000— out-of-pocket. Even so, most X-ray procedures cost $260-460 in many urgent care centers. The cost varies with the location of the health facility, the number of views the health provider requires, and the target body part.

Understanding Urgent Care X-ray Costs

How to Avoid High Costs of X-ray

If you don’t have enough finances, a high-cost X-ray can stand in your way of getting quality treatment. Nonetheless, there are tactics you can employ to reduce expenses: Here are a few helpful tips:

  • Health Insurance: If you don’t have a comprehensive health insurance plan, consider buying one. Health insurance will cover most of your X-ray costs for the return of a monthly payment plan. It’ll also reduce your out-of-pocket expenses. Familiarize yourself with the coverage of your health insurance plan and the required copay contribution if necessary.
  • Pre-authorization: Before undertaking an X-ray procedure, consult your insurance provider to check whether you need pre-authorization or a referral. Otherwise, the insurer may decline the payment request, forcing you to incur higher out-of-pocket expenses.
  • Negotiate Bills: If you receive a high X-ray bill, don’t hesitate to negotiate with the healthcare provider or billing department. The billing department may lower your outstanding balance based on your income level. Even if you have a higher income and don’t qualify for charity care, the officer in charge can still lower your bill if it is a source of financial hardship. An urgent care center may be willing to settle for an affordable payment plan.
  • Request for Self-Pay Discounts: If you don’t have insurance, ask if the urgent care center has a self-pay discount. Some urgent care centers offer reduced rates for patients who pay upfront.
  • Use Government Programs: If you qualify, government programs like Medicare or Medicaid can help cover the cost of X-rays.
  • Preventive Care: Take healthy steps that reduce the need for an X-ray examination. A few recommendable steps include regular check-ups, taking safety precautions, and adopting a healthy lifestyle, which can minimize health issues that require diagnostic imaging.
  • Location: The health facility you choose directly alters the cost of an x-ray examination. An urgent care center or an outpatient clinic is more cost-effective than an emergency room.

How to Prepare for an X-ray

Different X-rays require varying methods of preparation. Call your doctor in advance and request they provide specific information on preparing.

What to Wear

The healthcare provider will request you to undress the specific body part which requires examination. Depending on the body part that requires investigation, the physician may instruct you to wear a gown. The healthcare provider may also request you remove jewelry, eyeglasses, and other metal accessories that may obstruct the examination.

Contrast Medium

The doctor may give a particular liquid called contrast medium before some X-rays. The standard contrast mediums include barium and iodine, which outline a specific area of your body on the X-ray image. You can either swallow the contrast medium or take it as an injection.

What to Expect During an X-ray

You can take an X-ray at an emergency room, doctor’s office, dentist’s room, or imaging center where an X-ray machine is available. You won’t feel anything because the machine produces safe radiation that passes through your body and records an image on a specialized plate. The lab technician will position your body in different positions to obtain the necessary views. They may use a pillow or other item to hold your body position while capturing the image. More importantly, ensure you remain calm and breathe to avoid movements. It only takes a few minutes to capture an X-ray image or sometimes longer for complex procedures—particularly those that involve contrast medium. For child X-rays, the doctor may request you to restrain them, among other techniques, to enhance stillness. Restraint doesn’t harm a child; it only eliminates the need for a repeat procedure, which is necessary if the child keeps moving.

After an X-ray

It is okay to resume normal activities after an X-ray. In addition, a routine X-ray doesn’t have side effects; however, you may need to take plenty of fluids to flush contrast medium from your body.

Potential Side Effects of an X-ray

X-rays use minimal amounts of radiation to create a desired image. X-ray imaging is considered safe for adults and unsafe for developing babies. So, if you suspect that you are pregnant, inform your doctor, who can recommend a different imaging solution like MRI. It’s also vital to listen keenly to your doctor before undertaking an X-ray test. For instance, ingesting certain substances cause side effects like nausea, itching, or low blood pressure in severe cases.

The Price of Urgent Care X-ray: What to Expect

The price of an X-ray in an urgent care center is approximately $100. However, it goes between $100-1000 in emergency rooms. Below are the factors that determine the pricing:

  • Type of Facility: The nature of the facility will also determine the cost of an X-ray. If the urgent care center has many services and operates 24/7, they’ll command a higher fee. A larger urgent care center commands higher fees because they pay expensive utility bills, water, supplies, and the cost of maintaining machines.
  • Location: The state where you live plays a part in fixing the cost of X-ray treatment. The price factors salaries, the maintenance cost of the facility, supplies, and other overheads. In addition, each state has different living standards, which add to medical costs.
  • Insurance Status: Most insurance plans meet the cost of X-ray tests. Even so, the amount covered by an insurance company is based on whether you’ve met the deductible amount. Otherwise, you could pay an out-of-pocket X-ray fee of up to $1,000.

Speak to an Experienced Physician at Newport Urgent Care

Understanding the cost of urgent care X-rays is important for anyone seeking medical attention. Although quick and timely access to medical care helps, huge costs can drain your resources. At Newport Urgent Care Center, we value our patients, which explains our quality care complemented by reasonable pricing. Contact us online or call us at 949.752.6300 to speak to our team.