How Much Does an Echocardiogram Cost?
An echocardiogram, often referred to as an “echo,” is an end-product image generated through a healthcare procedure known as an echocardiography. With the purpose of producing a graphic outline of the heart’s movement, an echocardiography utilizes the technology in an ultrasound to examine the heart and surrounding cardiovascular system for impairment and malfunctions.
In the course of the procedure, high-frequency sound waves, commonly known as ultrasounds, provide pictures of the heart’s valves and chambers. The ultrasound images show blood circulation all throughout.
How much does an echocardiogram cost?
- Generally, a standard echocardiogram in the United States may cost $800 to $2,500, depending on what’s covered. Theses are prices for those without any health insurance policy. For those with a health insurance policy, you will be responsible for your co-pay. Blue Cross, for example, says you should be prepared to pay $75 to $225 with this insurance plan.
- An echocardiogram is frequently combined with a doppler ultrasound and a color doppler to evaluate the blood flow across the heart’s valves. An echo with a doppler will usually cost $500 to $800 extra.
- A transesophageal echocardiogram can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $1,700 and possibly more due to prescriptions used for anesthesia. This process will be required if the standard echocardiogram doesn’t show enough images of the heart.
- A transthoracic echocardiogram will range anywhere from $1,000 to $1,500.
- Because this procedure is deemed to be medically necessary, count on your health insurance to cover this policy. For those who have health insurance, plan on being responsible for the deductibles and co-pays.
- iTriageHealth says the average in-network cost is about $414, while the out-of-network cost is $2,305.
|San Antonio, TX||$2,200|
|San Diego, CA||$1,300|
|San Francisco, CA||$2,000|
|St. Louis, MO||$1,600|
|Tampa Bay, FL||$1,100|
|Toms River, NJ||$900|
What is going to be included?
- The cost estimates above will include the echocardiography, the generated results, analysis and the final diagnosis by the doctor. This may differ depending on your situation, however, since all facilities will have its own billing policies.
- During the procedure, a clear gel will be placed near the chest and abdomen area. Using a hand-held device, known as a transducer, will send sound waves from your body to a machine nearby. Creating a moving image of the heart, the technologist will be able to see the valves, chambers and the pumping action. The procedure will usually take no longer than five minutes.
- This process will be painless and won’t expose you to any radiation.
- As stated above, if a doctor isn’t able to view enough images of the heart, he or she will order a transesophageal echocardiogram, which is known as TEE. During this procedure, a flexible tube will be guided down your throat into your esophagus. Once inside, it will take pictures of your heart.
- If a stress test is required, the hospital may ask you to not eat for several hours before the procedure begins and you will be required to run on a treadmill for a few minutes to measure your heart at its full capacity.
What are the extra costs?
- There will be a separate charge for a cardiologist to read your test. The reading fee is probably anywhere from $200 to $300. The results of the echocardiogram can be read and evaluated by an expert cardiologist only. At times, you might be told that you need to pay an additional cost towards a radiologist fee.
- A pulmonary function test is around $300 to $500. A doctor has to read this as well, which is an extra charge.
- Medications are often used during some procedures. For example, during a transesophageal echocardiogram, intravenous injections are given in order to tell the difference between the tissue and blood, This makes it easier to read the images.
Tips to know
- Doctors will order an echocardiogram is they feel your heart murmur is strong or they are finding out your disease is getting worse.
- Chances are you will need someone to drive you home after the procedure, so make sure you have this transporation setup ahead of time to avoid additional stress.
How can I save money?
- Whether you’re an inpatient or outpatient, the tests are more expensive when you have them done at the hospital rather than at a doctor’s office. If you get the echocardiogram test done from a hospital, expect to pay at least 20%-30% more.
- A hospital located in the finest area of the city is likely to charge more than one located on the outskirts.
- If you meet certain income requirements, certain hospitals may be able to work with you. They can set up financial assistance or even monthly bill plans.
- For those who don’t have a health insurance plan, it may be time to consider one. Websites, such as eHealthInsurance.com, provide great comparison tools to help you find the best insurance policy for your family.