New research has found that the costs for office visits and diagnostic tests for neurological conditions has increased significantly in the past decade or so. The research, which was reported in the American Academy of Neurology’s online issue of “Neurology,” discovered that individuals who registered for high-deductible health plans had higher chances of incurring higher costs than individuals on other plans.
University of Michigan’s Chloe E. Hill, the author of the study, explained that this increase in costs could be harmful as it may prompt individuals to forgo diagnostic evaluation or leave those who complete their tests in financial strain before they begin treatment for their conditions.
Using a private insurance claims database, the researchers explored out-of-pocket costs incurred for diagnostic tests ordered by a neurologist and visits to a neurologist over a 15-year period. They included the costs of more than 3.6 million individuals. The study also discovered that an increasing number of individuals were paying out-of-pocket costs for office visits and diagnostic tests over the years, with Hill noting that the costs varied greatly across tests and patients.
Over the 15-year period, the researchers found that the average inflation-adjusted costs for diagnostic tests for patients had risen by almost 190%. Office visits had increased to $52 from an average of $18 while MRI scans had increased to $240 from about $85. In addition to this, the average costs for EEG tests, which are usually used to diagnose conditions such as epilepsy, also increased from about $40 to $112.
In addition, researchers found that while the number of individuals who paid for these tests varied, it had still increased over the study period. For instance, the researchers found that in 2001, almost 25% of individuals paid out of pocket for MRIs; this is in comparison with 70% who did so in 2016. With regard to costs varying, the researchers found that in 2016, the individuals paying the average amount for an MRI parted with $102 while the individuals with the top 5% of costs parted with a whopping $870.
American Academy of Neurology president James C. Stevens explained that the study added more weight to prior studies from the American Academy of Neurology, which show that the costs for neurologic medications were increasing significantly, resulting in individuals being less likely to take their medications as prescribed.
Stevens noted that the costs had increased to the point where systematic changes were required. As those systemic changes are being discussed, companies such as Brain Scientific Inc. (OTCQB: BRSF) are coming up with innovative neurology diagnostic tests that are not only more effective but also more affordable. Such technologies can lessen the cost burden neurology patients face.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Brain Scientific Inc. (OTCQB: BRSF) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://ibn.fm/BRSF
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