NPR

Bill Of The Month: A Tale Of 2 CT Scanners — One Richer, One Poorer

Why is the price of a CT scan 33 times higher in an hospital emergency room than in an outpatient imaging center just down the street?
Source: Maria Fabrizio for NPR

Benjamin Hynden, a financial adviser in Fort Myers, Fla., hadn't been feeling well for a few weeks last fall. He'd had pain and discomfort in his abdomen.

In October, he finally made an appointment to see his doctor about it. "It wasn't severe," he says. "It was just kind of bothersome. It just kind of annoyed me during the day."

The doctor, John Ardesia, checked him out and referred him to a nearby imaging center for a CT scan, or CAT scan as it used to be called. The radiologist didn't see anything wrong on the images, and Ardesia didn't recommend any treatment.

A few weeks later, Hynden, who has a high-deductible health insurance policy with Cigna, got a bill for $268. He paid it and

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from NPR

NPR3 min readPolitics
Director Of National Intelligence Dan Coats Appoints New Election Security Czar
Spy world veteran Shelby Pierson will attempt to centralize election security efforts across the intelligence community with soon-to-be-designated agency leads.
NPR2 min readPolitics
Opinion: Should Republicans Still Call Themselves The Party Of Lincoln?
In defending the president's racist tweets, House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy declared, "We are the party of Lincoln." NPR's Scott Simon contends President Lincoln would object.
NPR3 min read
César Pelli, Renowned Architect Of Skyscrapers Around The World, Dies At 92
Pelli's legacy of modernist architecture lives on in buildings like the Petronas Towers in Malaysia, the Salesforce Tower in San Francisco and the Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles.