Most families assume that health care costs what it costs, and that all medical centers in their area basically charge the same fees.
Yet a new study shows that the price for medical procedures can vary widely even for clinics within the same 20 mile radius -- by as much as 683%! One provider may charge as little as $230 for a CT scan, while another in the same town may charge $1800. This can affect a family's portion of the bill, especially those whose co-pays are based on percentages rather than a fixed rate.
"Don't assume that the provider you are going to is the best economic deal," says Howard McClure, CEO of Change:Healthcare. For those who are on a tight budget, it may pay to do a little price comparison. Call around ahead of time and ask different clinics what the base price is for things such as X-rays or a CT scan, so you know where to go for the best rates on basic care.