1: Talk to your doctor about whether you need imaging
“It all starts with an order from your doctor,” Edwards said. “For CT and MRI and other diagnostic tests, most commercial insurance companies need to authorize the exam. For this they need a doctor’s order.”
You even need a doctor’s order if you want to pay out of pocket.
There are a couple reasons for that.
Many imaging tests involve radiation. The small risk posed by the radiation must be outweighed by the value of the test. Only a doctor can make that call.
Also, the test results need to go somewhere. Your doctor will use the results to make a diagnosis and create a treatment plan if necessary.
Edwards said only a screening mammogram for women over 40 does not need a doctor’s order. But you still need a doctor: “You can come in off the street as long as you tell us who your doctor is so we have somewhere to send the results,” she said.