How Much Does a Bone Density Scan Cost?
A bone density scan, also called a Dual-energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DXA) scan, is a noninvasive and painless procedure used to measure and evaluate the density of the bones. This is important in identifying if the bone density is low enough, which may develop fractured bones in the long run. Over the years, the bone density scan helps predicting the occurrence of osteoporosis.
How much does it cost?
- According to Osteopenia3.com, a bone density scan is more accurate and less costly than other tests such as X-ray or a CAT scan. The current cost of the procedure is about $100 to $550 without any sort of health insurance.
- Like any other medical procedure, one will likely pay more for the scan if he has no medical insurance. According to an article at Buzzle.com, the cost for a DXA scan falls between $125 and $200 without the medical insurance. The said price range is inclusive to the test and the interpretation by the doctor of the results of the scan.
- Medical procedures like this can widely vary in price based on your location. A single scan can cost over a thousand dollars in San Francisco while it can be just below $500 in San Diego and other cities all over the country. However, the national average for CT Bone Density Scan is suggested by Newchoicehealth.com to be $1,400. The minimum price in the country is at Cape Girardeau, Missouri and the highest national price is at McAllen, Texas. They are both $340 and $3,300, respectively. The price ranges cited are relatively higher since the procedure is good for a CT Bone Density Scan, not the ordinary DXA scan.
- On average, the bone density scan, whether CT or DXA, can cost anywhere from $250 to as much as $1,400 depending upon your geographical location and health insurance policy.
- If you have health insurance, check with your insurance provider to see what you are going to be responsible for. Chances are, you will be responsible for your co-pay and deductible. For those that do not have health insurance, eHealthInsurance.com is a great choice to find policies in your local area.
What is going to be included?
- A DXA scan is usually performed using central or peripheral devices. According to WiseGeek.net, a central device is a large machine that uses a scanner which passes over the patient while he lies still on a long, flat table. After the device scans, it produces an image on the computer which serves as the basis of the scan for the doctor. This procedure is common for spine and hip examinations.
- Peripheral devices, on the other hand, are smaller, portable machines used to perform the scan. It is usually common to scan the heel, wrist or finger. The patient is required to place a portion of his body on a box-like structure to produce an image.
- As for the preparation before the procedure, Osteopenia3.com revealed that since this is a non-invasive test, there is little to no preparation before you have the test done. However, if you are taking supplements or medications for Osteoporosis or Osteopenia, you should not take them a day or two before the procedure. Other than that, you can eat and drink normally.
What are the extra costs?
- Further medical attention. If the results of the scan suggest that you need medication, the doctor might give you some supplements, vitamins and other follow-up checkups to correct whatever is needed to be corrected. Depending on the results, you may need additional procedures as well.
Factors that influence the price:
- Location. As cited above, the price for the scan varies from one city to another.
- Site. The price of the test will also vary according to who administers it. It could be done in a private testing facility, a clinic, a doctor’s office, or a hospital.
Tips to know:
- Pregnant women (and those who think that they might be) are discouraged to undergo a bone density scan. The radiation that the scanner emits may harm the health of the fetus in the womb. Pregnant women are encouraged to explore other options or should probably wait until after they give birth.
- When about to undergo a DXA scan, the patient must leave his jewelry at home. During the scan, metal objects can interfere with accurate readings of the individual’s bone density. The technician or doctor will most likely ask you to remove your jewelry before the procedure if you have any.
- Although the scan is common to women, men can also undergo the procedure as they are at risk for Osteoporosis as they age, especially if they have some of the causes of Osteopenia or Osteoporosis
Questions to ask the doctor/technician:
- Am I a good candidate for the bone density scan?
- Does my insurance cover the cost of bone density test?
- How should I prepare for the test?
- How long will the scan take?
- When will I get my results?
How can I save money?
- If it is alright with your doctor, you can do the scan into other hospitals or clinic near your location that offer relatively low costs for the bone density scan.
- Calculate your costs for transportation and all. If you think that you can save a great deal of money in doing the scan in cities known to offer the procedure at low cost, then maybe you can do the procedure in a different city.