Some medical tests at free preventative visits may cost - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

CBS 5 Advocate

Some medical tests at free preventative visits may come at a cost

SCOTTSDALE, AZ (CBS5) -

A Scottsdale woman says she's getting billed for a medical test her doctor never authorized and one she thought was part of her routine free yearly exams.

Most health insurance plans cover routine exams, like physicals and mammograms, at 100 percent - with no cost to the patient. But if you're going to a medical provider for one of these routine exams, make sure you get full disclosure about any additional testing done during that visit.

"I think they should write it off," Anne Davison said.

Davison went to Scottsdale Medical Imaging (SMIL) for her annual mammogram. She says the preventative procedure was covered 100 percent by her insurance. A follow-up mammogram was also completely covered. But during a second visit, Davison says SMIL wanted to run a third test.

"Then the nurse came back and said we're going to do something else and I said okay, I really had no idea," Davison said.

The test was a breast ultrasound. Davison assumed it was a continuation of the same preventative visit and would also be covered 100 percent. Instead, she got a bill from SMIL for $103. Davison says her doctor never ordered an ultrasound, but a rep for SMIL saw it differently.

"'The receptionist at your doctor's office okayed it.' I said honestly, I think you're just making that up," Davison said.

It turns out the ultrasound didn't fall under preventative care covered at 100 percent. It was a diagnostic test - covered but only after she meets her deductible. Davison says SMIL won't write off the bill.

"You had the procedure, you went in, and you have to pay for it," Davison said.

Davison says no one at SMIL told her a test conducted during what was supposed to be a preventative visit might be billed. Had she known, Davison says she never would have gotten the ultrasound.

"I don't know if it was necessary or not because it was not evaluated by my doctor," Davison said.

SMIL told CBS 5 News by email that the Davison's doctor's office confirmed that they typically give orders for additional testing if recommended by SMIL.  SMIL says it received the authorization; Davison says that never happened.

Patients can avoid this type of surprise by asking questions at the time of the procedure.  If you know you're at a facility for a preventative exam and additional testing is recommended, ask if it's preventative or diagnostic (for a specific problem). If the test, exam, or procedure is considered diagnostic, it may be wise to reschedule the exam and consult your doctor about whether it's really necessary and your insurance company about the estimated cost to you.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

  • Local NewsLOCALMore>>

  • With death rate up, US life expectancy is likely down again

    With death rate up, US life expectancy is likely down again

    Wednesday, May 23 2018 3:34 PM EDT2018-05-23 19:34:48 GMT
    Sunday, May 27 2018 11:25 AM EDT2018-05-27 15:25:02 GMT
    (Dave Kettering/Telegraph Herald via AP). FILE - In this Aug. 9, 2017 file photo, workers dig a new grave at a church cemetery in New Vienna, Iowa. Preliminary data released on Wednesday, May 23, 2018 shows U.S. death rates rose again last year, indica...(Dave Kettering/Telegraph Herald via AP). FILE - In this Aug. 9, 2017 file photo, workers dig a new grave at a church cemetery in New Vienna, Iowa. Preliminary data released on Wednesday, May 23, 2018 shows U.S. death rates rose again last year, indica...
    Preliminary data shows U.S. death rates rose again last year, indicating that 2017 likely will mark the third straight decline in American life expectancy.More >>
    Preliminary data shows U.S. death rates rose again last year, indicating that 2017 likely will mark the third straight decline in American life expectancy.More >>
  • Charlotte turns tables on USM, wins 7-4 with ninth-inning rally

    Charlotte turns tables on USM, wins 7-4 with ninth-inning rally

    Sunday, May 27 2018 12:59 AM EDT2018-05-27 04:59:57 GMT
    Charlotte turns tables on USM, wins 7-4 with ninth-inning rally, (Photo Source: WDAM)Charlotte turns tables on USM, wins 7-4 with ninth-inning rally, (Photo Source: WDAM)

    Southern Miss found itself on the other side of the looking glass Saturday night at MGM Park. A year after the Golden Eagles rallied in the bottom of the ninth inning with a walk-off home run against Charlotte to force a win-or-go-home contest, the 49ers returned the favor on the fourth day of 2018 Conference USA Baseball Championship. 

    More >>

    Southern Miss found itself on the other side of the looking glass Saturday night at MGM Park. A year after the Golden Eagles rallied in the bottom of the ninth inning with a walk-off home run against Charlotte to force a win-or-go-home contest, the 49ers returned the favor on the fourth day of 2018 Conference USA Baseball Championship. 

    More >>
  • Florida Atlantic forces showdown with Rice

    Florida Atlantic forces showdown with Rice

    Sunday, May 27 2018 12:02 AM EDT2018-05-27 04:02:28 GMT
    Source: Flickr Creative CommonsSource: Flickr Creative Commons
    Source: Flickr Creative CommonsSource: Flickr Creative Commons

    Florida Atlantic University got a bit of revenge Saturday afternoon and set up a win-or-go home situation after taking down Rice University 7-4  in the 2018 Conference USA Baseball Championship.

    More >>

    Florida Atlantic University got a bit of revenge Saturday afternoon and set up a win-or-go home situation after taking down Rice University 7-4  in the 2018 Conference USA Baseball Championship.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly