Medical Bills

A Little Known Way to Drastically Reduce Your Health Care Costs

July 21, 2011

in Employee Benefits

UPDATED MAY 2013

Picture this based-on-a-true-story scenario in your mind.

You’ve been experiencing reoccurring migraines for the past few months. You don’t drink caffeine. You drink plenty of water each day. You even wear glasses for when you are at the computer to put less strain on your eyes. So after a few months of unsuccessful self-diagnoses, you decide it’s time to see your primary doctor to find some answers.

After an initial evaluation, your doctor isn’t quite sure what is causing your migraines. Your doctor wants you to see a neurologist, so off you go – it’s likely time for an MRI scan of your brain to see if an MRI will produce any answers. You go in to see the neurologist and he/she agrees that an MRI of your brain is the next step.

The neurologist is located at your local hospital, so they can do the MRI at that facility. You think, great! How convenient!

But wait!

Be a Smart Consumer

Did you have any idea you have options as to where to get such a test? Or how about that there might be a different facility that charges a lower fee? You do have options and believe it or not, the cost for services differs greatly from facility to facility.

The catch is that you have to be a smart consumer. You cannot rely on your doctor to refer you to the least expensive facility; they have no idea what your health plan benefits are or how each service will be covered by your health plan.

Lucky for you, we have put together a list of common procedure costs at different facilities throughout northern Colorado so you can make smarter decisions about where to go for care*.

Head – MRI Brain / With and Without Contrast

Facility Location Typical Maximum Cost
Harmony Imaging Center Loveland, CO $876
McKee Medical Center Loveland, CO $1,610
North Colorado Medical Center Greeley, CO $2,060
Poudre Valley Hospital Fort Collins, CO $3,739
Medical Center of the Rockies Loveland, CO $3,847

 

Head – CT Scan / With and Without Contrast

Facility Location Typical Maximum Cost
Harmony Imaging Center Loveland, CO $529
North Colorado Medical Center Greeley, CO Not reported
McKee Medical Center Loveland, CO Not reported
Medical Center of the Rockies Loveland, CO $2,355
Poudre Valley Hospital Fort Collins, CO $2,380

 

Colon – Screening Colonoscopy

Facility Location Typical Maximum Cost
Colorado Endoscopy Center Longmonth, CO $935
Skyline Endoscopy Loveland, CO $1,070
Harmony Surgery Center Loveland, CO $1,508
McKee Medical Center Loveland, CO $2,171
North Colorado Medical Center Greeley, CO $3,411

 

Childbirth – Normal Delivery

Facility Location Typical Maximum Cost
North Colorado Medical Center Greeley, CO $13,159
McKee Medical Center Loveland, CO $14,012
Poudre Valley Hospital Fort Collins, CO $15,146
Medical Center of the Rockies Loveland, CO $15,272

 

Childbirth – Normal Cesarean Section Delivery

Facility Location Typical Maximum Cost
North Colorado Medical Center Greeley, CO $19,520
Medical Center of the Rockies Loveland, CO $21,213
Poudre Valley Hospital Fort Collins, CO $22,690
McKee Medical Center Loveland, CO $24,625

 

Knee – Cartilage Repair (using Arthroscopy)

Facility Location Typical Maximum Cost
Orthopaedic Center of the Rockies Fort Collins, CO $3,337
Harmony Ambulatory Surgery Center Fort Collins, CO $3,497
Loveland Surgery Center Loveland, CO $3,716
Mountain Vista Orthopaedic Surgery Greeley, CO $4,399
North Colorado Medical Center Greeley, CO $16,027
Poudre Valley Hospital Fort Collins, CO $16,186
MCR Surgery Center Loveland, CO $16,481

 

MRI – Lower Limb / With Contrast

Facility Location Typical Maximum Cost
Longmont Clinic Loveland, CO $795
Harmony Imaging Center Fort Collins, CO $880
McKee Medical Center Loveland, CO $1,538
North Colorado Medical Center Greeley, CO $1,545
Poudre Valley Hospital Fort Collins, CO $2,579
MCR Surgery Center Loveland, CO $2,663

 

Gall Bladder – Removal (by Laproscope)

Facility Location Typical Maximum Cost
Skyline Surgery Center Loveland, CO $4,114
Harmony Ambulatory Surgery Center Fort Collins, CO $4,833
Medical Center of the Rockies Loveland, CO $18,010
Poudre Valley Hospital Fort Collins, CO $18,296
McKee Medical Center Loveland, CO $19,389
North Colorado Medical Center Greeley, CO $21,837


If you’ve picked up on a trend, it likely didn’t take you long. In general, the same procedure will cost you more dollars at a hospital than it will at a free-standing facility. It’s nearly impossible to determine the exact amount of a procedure before it’s completed, but the information above should give you a general idea of where you will pay more for care.

Do Your Research

Many of the insurance carriers we work with work have tools on their website you can utilize to determine the cost differences for procedures in your specific area.

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield: log into www.anthem.com. Go to your Account Summary and select “Compare Facility Cost and Quality.”
CIGNA: log into www.mycignaforhealth.com. Go to Treatment Navigator and select “Get Started.”
UnitedHealthcare: log into www.myuhc.com. Go to Treatment Cost Estimator.

If you need any assistance researching the cost for a particular procedure, please don’t hesitate to call our office. We are happy to help you in your research.

 

The below disclaimer relates to the care comparison charts used above.

Note: Most procedures involve a particular bundle of related services, tests and visits. Based on the history of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield members, we’ve developed a standard bundle that’s typical for the above procedures. Each price range includes the typical price for the procedure’s bundle of related services, including facility, physician and other services, like lab tests and x-rays, so you can see the total price of having a procedure done, not just the surgery itself. Where your actual price falls depends on which of these related services your doctor recommends or prescribes for your treatment, as well as your own condition.

*The cost information provided here is based on a methodology Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield has applied to help predict typical costs for certain services provided related to certain procedures or diagnostics at different facilities. This methodology may be changed from time to time. Your actual cost for the procedure may be different and will depend on the actual services provided and may also vary based on other factors as well such as the complexity of the services rendered, your plan type and your health plan’s contractual arrangements with the providers who perform the services for you.

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield has used claims information and PPO contracted facility cost rates (in Wisconsin, prices based on POS contracted facility cost rates) to help develop the cost ranges displayed and this information will be updated from time to time and may result in variation of cost ranges. The independently contracted provider networks change periodically and provider participation should be verified prior to receiving services. The information is not applicable for Medicare or Medicaid members, or otherwise where your health plan is not the primary payer.


Post image by:

Previous post:

Next post: