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Using Your Health Carrier’s Cost Comparisons Tool

That MRI Costs HOW MUCH?! 

If you’ve been one of the unlucky ones who know how much a knee or chest MRI impacts your wallet, you probably have had an unfortunate experience of sticker shock. If you are on a PPO or Copay Plan, diagnostic testing isn’t something we think much about as it’s likely only a $20-50 dollar copay. BUT, if you are on a High Deductible Health Plan, the costs become an immediate concern. An MRI can cost you upwards of $1200 out-of-pocket if you’ve not met your deductible, and like-wise, a few x-rays could be as much as $200-$500. And while a PPO member may only pay a co-pay, their employer if self-insured, will be paying the full cost of the claim which affects the overall health of the employer’s self-insured plan(s). So, how do you avoid these uneasy surprises, and better still, pay an affordable amount for testing? Simple! Utilize your health carrier Cost Comparison tool. Nearly all major carriers have a Cost Comparison Calculator feature that allows members to enter the primary surgery or treatment, lab or radiology service, and your zip code, to find multiple providers that offer the same service, and the cost at each facility. One rule of thumb is, tests at hospitals are nearly always more costly than a stand-alone facility. There can also be a vast difference in cost from one facility to another simply as a result of contracted fees with your health carrier. It ALWAYS pays to look! Check out your health carrier self-service web portal or ask your benefits team where you can locate a cost comparison tool prior to any procedure or surgery. 

What Do You Need to Know About UHC’s Cost Estimator? 

Register at to access United Healthcare’s Cost Estimator tool. Here you can research providers, and actually, search for your procedure or treatment and quickly see the cost of several facilities to compare costs and efficiency of the provider. 

To review a sample of the Medical Cost Estimator you can click here, or, sign in to your personalized UHC account to see the full estimator based on your plan, deductible and copays. 

Know the 4 P’s! 

With the healthcare marketplace becoming more competitive, the cost of treatments can vary based on your provider. Patients have more options now than ever before. Getting to know what your health insurance cost is for a procedure or treatment can be daunting. Remember the four P’s to help you through it.


  • Know the procedure your physician has ordered for you. You can then search for a condition to learn about potential procedures and treatments.
  • Follow a Care Path featuring a step-by-step explanation of a procedure.
  • Know what questions to ask the doctor, what to expect and how to prepare.
  • Explore in-depth information on more than 100 procedures.


  • Research available providers for specific procedures.
  • Look up information on your current physician and see the quality and efficiency measures of participating providers on the UnitedHealth Premium program. 


  • Compare estimated prices of treatment options.
  • Discover whether prices are at, below or above the market average.
  • Evaluate opportunities to reduce out-of-pocket costs.


  • Locate providers based on geographic search criteria.
  • Find providers near home, close to work, or clustered around other physicians.
  • Get addresses and directions to selected locations.

Contact us today to learn more about our dynamic dedicated benefits administrators and discover how easy it can be to compare your benefits with our best-in-class benefits consulting, plan administration, innovative wellness, and customized insurance options fat the most competitive price.  

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