Why It Matters
Improving affordability is key to creating a modern, high-performing health system that works better for everyone. Findings from new UnitedHealth Group research reveal that 70% of routine diagnostic imaging tests performed annually in hospital outpatient departments are for non-complex, commercially insured individuals who have access to lower-cost, diagnostic imaging facilities close to home. Selecting the optimal site of care for diagnostic imaging would:
The high price of diagnostic imaging in hospital outpatient departments compared to stand-alone imaging centers or physician offices.
In 2019, the average price for a routine diagnostic imaging test performed in a hospital outpatient department was $1,855 — 165% more than the price of the test performed in stand-alone imaging centers or physician offices.
Routine diagnostic imaging tests include magnetic resonance imaging (MRI); computerized axial tomography (CT) scan of the abdomen, chest, head, and other body parts; CT angiography of the neck; diagnostic cardiac catheterization; contrast aortogram; and low dose CT scan for lung cancer screening.
UnitedHealth Group has a long-standing commitment to making health care more affordable for everyone. Our UnitedHealthcare business has launched an initiative for imaging that uses site-of-service reviews to determine where patients need their diagnostic imaging performed — in a hospital outpatient department or in a lower-cost, high-quality freestanding center — to ensure consumers have affordable and convenient options.
Insights & Solutions
We are committed to helping create a modern, high-performing health system and driving distinguished societal returns by improving health care access and affordability, enhancing the health care experience and achieving better health outcomes for the individuals and organizations we are privileged to serve.