Medical check-ups are very common. Even when you are in good health, it is highly recommended to have at least an annual medical check-up. However, the costs of a physical examination can be high if you do not have health insurance, and not all health insurances cover physical examinations in all cases.
All health professionals agree on the importance of regular physical examinations.
It should be kept in mind that a check-up confirms a good or bad medical condition. Through a medical check-up, you can obtain results before developing diseases, nutritional deficiencies, or all kinds of medical problems.
From revealing symptoms of serious diseases such as cancer, to simply reporting certain nutritional deficiencies, incorporating preventative medicine into your life through health checks is important. However, the cost of a medical check-up varies greatly and will also be affected by whether or not you have health insurance that covers it.
How much does an uninsured physical examination cost?
The first thing to know is that not all physical examinations are the same. A routine check-up in which blood pressure, blood saturation etc., are taken, which can be done in just a few minutes without the use of medical technology, will not be the same as a long annual check-up which also includes, for example, blood tests, etc.
The average cost of regular medical check-ups can range from $50 to $200. These are common check-ups that do not require a lot of additional tests. In one of these physical examinations, aspects such as the following can be checked:
- Your height, weight, blood pressure and saturation
- Basic eye examination
- Assessment of airway, mouth, lung and heart and abdominal auscultation
- Assessment of limb reflexes
- Review of medical history and control of prescribed vaccinations and medications
From this type of medical examination onwards, additional tests will be added, which will have extra costs. Remember that these will always be costs added to the price we have already mentioned: if the check-up costs $200, additional tests will be added to that price.
Some common tests that complement a physical examination are:
- Blood tests: ranging from $30 to over $150.
- Ultrasound scans: starting at $180
- CT scans: from $250 and up
To get an idea of the difference between a basic and a full medical examination, the former can take as little as 20 to 30 minutes. Depending on the type of tests incorporated, the latter can take anywhere from two hours to eight hours. The latter type of medical examination can include any medical test, from visual, auditory, stress, cardiology and hearing tests. Prices will go up to over $5000 for so-called executive physicals.
How much does a medical check-up with insurance cost?
The cost of a medical check-up with insurance varies, as it depends both on the composition of the check-up and the type of insurance you have taken out.
On the other hand, you should also check with your insurance company the number of medical check-ups that can be covered since, in some cases, it allows up to two or three voluntary check-ups per year.
Another relevant aspect is that some insurances will only cover medical check-ups with referral: when a general practitioner advises a preventive check-up for illness or disease.
The costs are variable: in some insurances, the excess is more or less high and can reach between 15% and 30% of the bill. Co-payments are very common in this type of coverage.
One aspect that policyholders sometimes forget is that many insurance companies offer at least an annual comprehensive check-up free of charge. It is important to thoroughly check your insurance policy to see if you are included in this type of coverage, as it is usually a thorough check-up that covers many areas of health.
Alternatives to pay less for the physical examination
As we have seen, the main alternative is to have health insurance, as it lowers the cost. Other alternatives, if you do not have health insurance, could be the following:
- Free clinics: these clinics offer free health care for uninsured people or on low incomes. There are lists where you can check which of these clinics are close to where you live.
- Emergency services and outpatient clinics: although their services are free, these types of health facilities usually have cheaper services for those who pay the medical bill without insurance.
In addition to the above, you should make a thorough review of the professionals or medical facilities you can go to for the physical examination. The price difference between some professionals and others can be high, so this comparison is key if you want to save or pay less for your medical check-up.
Finally, before agreeing to a medical check-up, always check the conditions and terms of service. In some cases, a test that you consider necessary for your check-up may not be included in the basic price. Check all the documentation and get as much information as possible.