Don't we all feel a little apprehension before seeing a doctor? If you don't have insurance to cover physical exams, the thought of an unexpected bill could make you feel anxious even before you step in the waiting room! However, even if you do not have insurance, you should consider going for a doctor's visit.
A check-up can quickly reveal early signs of diseases like cancer, and even reveal what nutrients you lack. It can also pinpoint symptoms that you may be taking for granted like feeling tired or irritable all the time.
So how much does a check up cost if you do not have insurance? Read on so that you don't get ripped off on your next check up, and learn some hacks to get your physical exam for cheap.
Annual Check-Up Cost Without Insurance
Now that you know what type of check-up you should look for and what is usually included in one, the next topic is the cost. How much is a doctor's visit without insurance?
The cost of going for a normal doctor’s check-up usually ranges from $50 to $200. These types of check ups usually take around 15 to 30 minutes. The exact cost can depend on where you live and which doctor or clinic you choose to go to.
For example, CVS Minute Clinic, a walk-in clinic in the U.S., offers a General Medical Exam for $89, which includes:
- a review of your medical history, immunization records, medications you are taking,
- measurement of height, weight & blood pressure,
- vision test, and
- general physical evaluation of the nose, ears, throat, heart, lungs, and abdomen.
Other clinics and hospitals will offer more or less the same type of check-up for a higher or lower price. It is important to clarify this cost before your doctor's appointment to avoid any misunderstanding.
You have to take note, however, that depending on what the doctor finds out, you may also need additional tests done. If your doctor suspects that there are some issues, you may be required to get a blood panel test, an ultrasound, or a CT scan.
Here are some indicative prices for these tests:
- Cost of Blood Metabolic Panel – $20 to $150
- Cost of Abdominal Ultrasound – Starts at $180
- Cost of Abdomen CT Scan – Starts at $240
The costs of these tests are NOT INCLUDED in the cost of your physical check-up.If you want a more comprehensive service, you have to pay more if you do not have insurance or if your insurance provider does not cover this type of health evaluation.
At the Cleveland Clinic for instance, they offer an Executive Health Evaluation that lasts for 6 to 8 hours. Aside from the usual physical checks, this service also includes the following:
- Comprehensive lab testing
- Bone densitometry
- Complete cardiac test
- Pulmonary exam
- Auditory exam
- Visual exam
- Stress tests
- Option to add in additional tests like pap smear and mammogram for females, CT scans, dermatology consultations, etc.
While Cleveland Clinic has not indicated the price of the executive evaluation, you should expect that the price of this type of check-up will be much higher than going for a 20-minute routine check-up in a walk-in clinic or urgent care facility. Executive physical check-ups typically start at $1,000 to $5,000 or more.
How to Save Money When Going For A Physical Exam
The physical exam cost in the United States varies depending on your location and the medical provider you choose. If you are in a city with more medical providers like walk-in clinics and urgent care facilities, the price is usually more competitive which saves you money.
However, if there are only a few hospitals in your area, you may be required to shell out a higher amount of money.
If you want to save money when going for a physical exam without insurance, here are some tips that could help.
- Check free clinics in your area. These clinics offer medical services for uninsured and low-income individuals. Visit: https://www.freeclinics.com/
- Consider walk-in clinics and urgent care centers over hospitals. Typically, these facilities are much cheaper, especially if you are paying out-of-pocket.
- Shop around before making an appointment. Perform a quick search online on the nearest clinics in your area and call them to ask about the cost of a physical exam. Make sure to clarify whether there are any added costs that you should know about.
- If the doctor recommends that you undergo some tests like a blood panel test or a CT scan, don't be shy to ask first what is the cost of these tests before agreeing to go through the procedure. If you do not have insurance, these tests could be costly so it's better to know beforehand so you are not shocked in the end. Know that you are not required to get the tests in the same clinic. You can consider looking at other labs or facilities with more affordable rates.
- If you cannot afford the cost of a physical exam or lab screenings, check with the medical provider if they offer financial assistance and if you qualify. Full or partial financial assistance is offered to low-income individuals.
What Is Included in a General Check-Up?
As stated earlier, what is included in a general physical exam will vary depending on your chosen medical provider. However, here are some of the common things evaluated in these check-ups:
- Review of medical history for the past and current illnesses and symptoms.
- Review of immunization/vaccination records.
- Review of supplements or medications you take.
- Measurement of height, weight, temperature, blood pressure, and heart rate.
- Physical inspection of the face, eyes, ears, nose, throat, neck, underarms, skin, back, breast, thyroid gland, etc. for any signs of infection or disease.
- Listening to heart sounds with a stethoscope.
In the United States, a standard/general physical exam only consists of having the doctor observe and evaluate you. Unless specifically indicated, it will not include blood tests, X-rays, and other lab tests.
However, there are some physical exams that include these tests like Executive physical exams or comprehensive exams. In some clinics, you can also cherry-pick tests to add to your exam if these procedures are available. These tests will cost extra depending on the clinic.
Some of these tests include:
- Blood metabolic panel
- Stress tests
- Urine and stool tests
What Type of Check Up Do You Need? Only Pay for What You Need!
You might be wondering what kind of checkup do you actually need when going to the doctor. If you are not feeling any illness or weakness and just want to go for a check-up for your own peace of mind, you can look for the following procedures in clinics or hospitals near you:
- Physical Exam
- Annual Physical Exam
- General Medical Exam
- Wellness Visit
- Comprehensive Medical Exam
- Executive Physical Exam
These exams are performed by a doctor to look for any indications of disease or treatable medical conditions. Typically, these exams are similar but the inclusions and the sequence of how things are done will vary depending on the doctor.
For example, a comprehensive medical exam will be more thorough than a general exam. Some physicals may also include more lab tests or blood work done.
If you are not feeling anything particularly wrong with your body, it might be more prudent to go for a general physical exam first rather than a comprehensive executive exam that will cost a lot of money. You can also choose to add basic blood tests and ECGs that can provide an overall view of your health rather than immediately going for CT scans and MRIs.
Where To Get A Physical Exam Without Insurance?
If you do not have any insurance but need a physical check-up, you can get a basic medical exam at clinics and hospitals near you. Depending on your need and budget, you can consider the following options:
1. Walk-In Clinics
Going to a walk-in clinic is a cost-effective and convenient option when you want to go for a check-up. There are a lot of them in almost all cities and towns today and they accept walk-in appointments from patients who do not have an immediate need for medical care but would like to get a check-up.
Average Cost: $50 to $200
If you are willing to pay a premium price for your physical exam, then going to a hospital is also an option for you. A major benefit of going to a hospital is that they usually offer more comprehensive medical exams.
In addition, there are certain procedures and tests that only hospitals can do in case you need follow-up tests and procedures. When making an appointment, make it known that you do not have any insurance and ask beforehand the exact cost of how much money you should bring.
Average Cost: Starts at $300
3. Urgent Care Centers
Another alternative is to go to an urgent care center. Urgent care centers are frequently visited for responsive medicine, but many also provide preventative care services such as annual physicals. One advantage of going to urgent care clinics is that they cost much cheaper than going to a doctor in a hospital.
Average Cost: $100 to $200
Get a Check-Up Even Without Insurance
Are you due for a check-up? Even if you do not have health insurance, it's important not to put off these routine visits and screenings because they will help ensure that any potential problems are detected early before they can cause any serious damage.