How Much Is Ultrasound Without Insurance – Overview
An ultrasound test is also called a sonography test. It is a non-invasive imaging test that uses high-frequency sound waves to form images of the tissues in our body. This test helps healthcare professionals to view the structure and functioning of a patient’s internal organs.
Using ultrasound, it is easier to measure organ size, evaluate fetal growth, identify abnormal masses or blockages and detect other internal health problems.
What Is the Average Cost of an Ultrasound Test in The US?
The final cost of an ultrasound test varies greatly, as it depends on several factors. However, the national average cost of an ultrasound imaging test is around US$ 360, with the average range being as low as US$ 100 and the highest being over US$ 1,000, usually depending on the procedure you undergo.
What Decides the Total Cost of an Ultrasound Test?
The type of ultrasound procedure is one of the significant factors influencing the final cost of the imaging test. Ultrasound tests are generally classified into two categories – therapeutic or diagnostic. Diagnostic ultrasound is usually more expensive than therapeutic. Besides this, getting sonography at a hospital is usually more costly than at a private outpatient screening facility.
The cost of an ultrasound test or sonography also depends heavily on the city and state you live in, along with the payment options available.
How Does an Ultrasound Test Work?
An ultrasound test is done using a device that can emit high-frequency sound waves precisely targeted manner. The ultrasound technician will carefully aim the device at the body part that needs to be scanned, such as your head, neck, chest, or torso.
The ultrasonic waves tend to reflect off of organs, tissues and fluids in the body, depending on what is being imaged. This creates a clear image on the transducer (monitor).
What Is an Ultrasound Test Used For?
An ultrasound test is most popularly known to detect pregnancy and monitor fetal growth and development. However, there are plenty of other uses for an ultrasound test. It is highly efficient in detecting abnormalities and other conditions and provides relevant information about existing health problems.
Some of the more common uses of an ultrasound test are detecting:
- Thyroid gland abnormalities
- Breast lumps
- Early pregnancy (to find duration)
- Fetal development monitoring
- Fetal well-being
- Ovarian cysts
- Vaginal, fallopian or uterine problems
- Urinary and vulva issues (fertility check)
- Head and brain for injuries
- Aneurysms, blood vessels for arteriovenous malformations (AVM)
- Breast cancer
- Breast lesion
- Breast tumor
Different types of ultrasound tests are done to detect and diagnose different health problems. Some of the most commonly performed types of ultrasound tests in the United States are:
- OB ultrasound (for pregnancy)
- Abdominal ultrasound
- Bone ultrasound
- Breast ultrasound
- Chest ultrasound
- Extremity (non-vascular) ultrasound
- Eye ultrasound
- Thyroid / Head and Neck ultrasound
- Head ultrasound
- Pelvic ultrasound
- Spinal ultrasound
How Long Does an Ultrasound Test Take?
Generally, an ultrasound test is completed in 10 to 60 minutes, depending on the area of your body being examined.
Are There Risks Associated With an Ultrasound Test?
The ultrasound is an entirely non-invasive imaging test and does not require administering injections or puncturing the skin. Hence, there is little to no risk for patients undergoing an ultrasound test.
When Is an Ultrasound Test Recommended?
Your doctor or physician may recommend you to undergo an ultrasound test to check and diagnose the following conditions:
- End-stage renal disease with acute urinary retention
- Bladder function, thickening of bladder walls or checking for sludge or gas
- Acute intermittent porphyria with acute urinary retention (benign EPI)
- Obstructive voiding syndrome (if there is a history of prostatic resection, pelvic surgery or pelvic radiation)
- Bladder tumors (such as urothelial carcinoma)
- Hemoglobinuria, hematuria or proteinuria with acute urinary colic
- Urothelial carcinoma
- Hematuria in a child/adolescent (for rental dysfunction, pyelonephritis, ureteral diverticulum or tumor)
- Intra-abdominal hemorrhage or infection with peritonitis
- Pregnancy with intermittent or absent fetal heart tones (during 2nd or 3rd trimester)
- CMV (cytomegalovirus) infection in immune-compromised patients
Does Health Insurance Cover the Cost of an Ultrasound Test?
Most insurance providers usually cover the cost of an ultrasound diagnostic test if the patient is 18 years or older. However, the specific coverage extent depends on the type of insurance policy. Most insurance plans offer detailed coverage documents, which are also available online so you can determine if your insurance provider covers the cost of an ultrasound test.
Make sure to read these offered documents carefully to know if your insurance will cover the cost or if you will have to pay the partial or complete cost out-of-pocket. On the other hand, you can call your insurance agent/provider directly to know if your insurance policy covers the cost of an ultrasound test.
How to Get an Affordable Ultrasound Test?
When not covered under insurance, ultrasound test costs can be prohibitive, especially when paying out-of-pocket. As insurance plans have a high deductible, sometimes it is more expensive to get an ultrasound with coverage.
The best way to get an affordable ultrasound test is to do a simple online search and find an outpatient clinic with ultrasound diagnostic services near you.
Ultrasound can cost between US$ 100 to US$ 1,000, depending on the location of the diagnostic lab and the type of ultrasound you need. Make sure to consult with your doctor and request them to refer you for an affordable ultrasound test if your health insurance does not provide coverage.