When someone says X-ray, maybe like me, your first thought might be Superman and his supernatural ability of X-ray vision, but most people probably think of black and white skeleton photos of broken bones. In medical terms, there are numerous types of X-rays and, as one of the most common diagnostic tools, they are used to identify a whole host of medical conditions.
There are many questions surrounding these marvels in modern medicine, such as: How do they work? What conditions can they detect? What type of X-ray do I need? And often most crucially, what does an X-ray cost with insurance? So, let´s have a look at these questions and check out the details.
How do X-ray's work?
X-rays, or radiology/radiography tests are a form of electromagnetic radiation that can pass through solid objects and create images of the internal structures of the human body. Although they are all medical imaging tests, they differ in their underlying technology, the types of information they can provide, and the conditions they are best suited for.
What conditions can they detect?
There are 3 main types of X-ray technology, used in the medical field:
X-ray/Radiography: This is the most common type of X-ray and is used to create images of bones, teeth, lungs, and other dense tissues to diagnose conditions such as broken bones and fractures, dental issues, including gum disease, pneumonia, and lung cancer. They are commonly used in emergency situations where a quick diagnosis is needed, as they are fast and relatively inexpensive.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a non-invasive imaging technology that produces three dimensional detailed anatomical images. Unlike X-rays, MRI scans do not use radiation, but instead use a powerful magnetic field, radio waves, and a computer to create detailed images of the inside of your body. They are best suited for diagnosing conditions that affect soft tissues such as the brain, spinal cord, joints, and internal organs. As MRI scans provide highly detailed images of our organs and soft tissues, they are often used for disease detection, diagnosis, and treatment monitoring as they detect abnormalities, including tumours, cysts, and other structural issues.
Computed tomography or CT scan: A CT scan, also known as a CAT scan, uses X-rays and a computer to produce cross-sectional images of the inside of the body. These scans are extremely useful in diagnosing conditions affecting the brain, chest, abdomen, and pelvis. Like MRI scans, CT scans provide detailed images of bones, organs, and soft tissues, making them a valuable diagnostic tool for detecting injuries, and other abnormalities, including cancer, heart disease, and neurological disorders.
What type of X-ray do I need?
As you can see, all three medical imaging tests serve a similar purpose, but they differ in the type of information they provide and the specific conditions they are best suited to diagnose. Your doctor will determine which test is best for your particular situation based on your symptoms, medical history, and the area of your body being examined.
What do different X-ray's cost with and without insurance?
As with any medical procedure, the cost of an X-ray can vary widely depending on several factors, including the location where the test is conducted, the type of X-ray needed, and whether or not the patient has medical insurance.
In general, X-rays that are considered medically necessary by your doctor are usually covered by the Sistema Nacional de Salud (SNS), which is the national health service in Spain. The coverage may vary depending on the type and purpose of the X-ray, as well as the patient's medical condition and other factors.
In some cases, for example, if you are not eligible for treatment within the national health system (SNS), because you are not a Spanish citizen or registered resident, or you are a visitor or tourist, or if you are seeking additional tests that have not been approved by your own physician, you may need to pay for X-ray tests out of your own pocket.
The simple truth is that the costs for X-rays, MRIs and CT scans vary widely, depending on a number of factors. Obviously, a simple X-ray to check for a broken bone is much less expensive than an MRI or CT scan. But is also true that the location and type of facility you use also plays a part in price determination. And of course, last but not least, insurance coverage is key.
X-Ray Costs without Insurance in Spain
If you do not have health insurance in Spain, the cost of an X-ray can be significantly higher. Without insurance, you can expect to pay anywhere from €50 to €150 for a basic X-ray, depending on the location and type of facility you visit.
It is important to note that the cost of an X-ray can vary significantly depending on where you receive the test. For example, if you visit a private hospital or clinic, you can expect to pay significantly more than if you visit a public hospital or clinic. In general, public hospitals and clinics offer lower prices for medical tests and procedures, but the waiting times can be longer.
If you need more advanced X-ray technologies such as a CT scan or MRI scan, the costs can be significantly higher. A CT scan can cost anywhere from €200 to €700, while an MRI scan can cost anywhere from €500 to €1,500.
X-Ray Cost with Insurance in Spain
If you have health insurance in Spain, you can typically expect to pay very little for an X-ray. Most insurance plans cover X-rays as part of their basic coverage, which means that you will only be responsible for a small co-pay or deductible.
The exact cost of an X-ray with insurance will depend on your specific insurance plan, but in general, you can expect to pay anywhere from €5 to €30 for an X-ray. Some insurance plans may cover the entire cost of an X-ray, while others may require you to pay a percentage of the total cost.
It is important to note that if you have private health insurance in Spain, you may have access to more advanced X-ray technologies such as CT scans and MRI scans. These more advanced tests can be more expensive than a traditional X-ray, but they can provide more detailed images of the body, which can help doctors make more accurate diagnoses.
For example, Caser Expat Insurance specialise in health and offer specific policies for expats, with access to English speaking professionals, for extra piece of mind. The good news is that all their policies include access to numerous means of diagnosis and clinical analysis, including X-rays, MRI, and CT scans and more.
The Clinical analyses included in the cover by Caser Expat Insurance include the following: normal radiology X-Ray, Special Non-intervention Radiology, Magnetic Resonance (MRI), CAT Scans, Densitometry, Radioisotopes, Scintigraphy, Positron Emission Tomography (PET), Endoscopy, Electrocardiogram, Echocardiogram, Electroencephalography, Electromyography, Polysomnography, Triple screening, Digital Dermatoscopy, Sentinel Node Detection, Echography and more.
There are 6 different Caser health policies (Inicia, Medica, Adapta, Active, Integral and Prestigio) and all offer a host of different benefits, to suit different types of people and their personal situation. Some of these policies are all inclusive, and some are based on co-pay situations, but you can check out the handy comparison chart to see what each specific policy covers, to find out which is most suitable for you.
So, as you can see, the concept of the more humble black and white X-ray is much more detailed than you probably first thought, and the increasingly technological medical advances today mean that these types of analytical tests are lifesavers for many people, helping doctors diagnose illnesses with more speed and accuracy than ever before. So, it seems that Superman is not the only one who can save the world with his X-ray vision after all!
If you are searching for health insurance in Spain, Caser Expat Insurance has the right policy for you!