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  • Home Knowledge Center Shop Around for MRIs, CTs, and PET Scans

    Shop Around for MRIs, CTs, and PET Scans

    Our Informed Choice Program* helps you find the diagnostic test that may be right for your health and your finances.

    MRIs, CTs, and PET scans can cost much less at some facilities. You can save by making a more informed choice about where you get your services.

    If you decide to save money by going to a more cost-effective facility, Cigna HealthcareSM can help. Our Informed Choice Program representatives can schedule your appointment at an in-network facility and help you understand if prior approval is necessary.

    You and your doctor always have the final say over where you have these services performed. But by learning about more cost-effective facilities, you're empowered to make more informed choices.

    What is the Cigna Healthcare Informed Choice Program?

    When you have the tools and services, you can make better, more informed decisions about your health and how your money is spent.

    The Cigna Healthcare Informed Choice Program is a support and outreach initiative that seeks to educate customers who are scheduled for an MRI, CT, or PET scan. The goal is to help you receive these radiology health care services at more cost-effective, geographically convenient facilities.

    How does the Cigna Healthcare Informed Choice Program work?

    An Informed Choice Program representative may contact you when an ordering physician has requested a higher-cost facility for high-technology radiology services. The representative is able to identify other conveniently located in-network facilities which offer the same radiology health care services at a lower cost. These are the steps:

    1. Your doctor contacts us to request approval for an MRI, CT, or PET scan.
    2. While reviewing the request, we also check to see where the doctor ordered the services to be performed.
    3. We check to see if another in-network, local facility offers the same services at a lower cost.
    4. If we find a more cost-effective facility, we’ll call you to let you know.

    How do I benefit from the program?

    Through our Informed Choice Program, you get:

    • One-on-one attention from an Informed Choice representative.
    • Information about conveniently located, in-network facilities that can perform the services you need.
    • Cost comparisons, so you know how much money you could save by choosing a more cost-effective facility.
    • Help with scheduling your appointment at the lower cost facility.
    • Information about the scan approval, including the authorization number.

    We can also connect you directly with our Customer Service team. They can help answer any other questions you might have about benefits, account-based plans such as a Health Reimbursement Account (HRA) or Health Savings Account (HSA), or other plan details.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    When will I be contacted by an Informed Choice representative?

    An Informed Choice Program representative only contacts you when:

    1. Your doctor has requested a higher-cost facility for your MRI, CT, or PET scan.
    2. There are other in-network, local options that offer the same radiology health care services for less money.

    We do not contact you:

    • If your scan is for an urgent or emergency situation.
    • When the choice of another in-network facility is not appropriate due to clinical circumstances or doesn’t meet your needs.

    Will I always get contacted when I’m scheduled to receive an MRI, CT, or PET scan?

    No. We only contact you when other local, in-network facilities offer the same services at a lower cost.

    What happens if I’m not home when the Informed Choice representative first calls?

    The Informed Choice representative will call you within an hour of your service being approved. If you’re not there, the representative will leave you a voicemail, including a call-back number. You may receive up to three follow-up calls each day.

    Why should I consider the facility the Informed Choice representative recommends?

    The Informed Choice representative will always suggest facilities that are in-network. These facilities are periodically reviewed by Cigna Healthcare to confirm their qualifications and credentials meet our standards. Using one of them will help save you money. We only suggest facilities that are near your home or your doctor’s office. These lower-cost facilities also may be more convenient for you. They may offer free parking and may have evening and weekend hours.

    However, you always choose where to receive your services.

    How do the facilities that the representative suggests compare to the one my doctor originally selected?

    An Informed Choice representative can provide more information about specific facilities to help you choose the right one for you. You can also review and compare quality and cost information for in-network facilities on or the myCigna® app.

    How can I compare costs?

    The Informed Choice call representative can outline the cost differences at various facilities for you. You can also visit myCigna to review average prices for scans at various facilities.

    Do I have to go to a hospital to receive an MRI, CT, or PET scan?

    No. Other facilities outside the hospital typically offer the same scan services that hospitals offer. But, they also usually cost less and often have early and late hours, as well as free parking.

    How will my doctor know where I go for my scan?

    Once you select a facility, we will send a fax (including the authorization number) to your doctor’s office. We’ll also contact the facility you select.

    Why should I consider my options if my copayment and deductible** will be the same no matter where I go?

    The facilities in your plan’s network are reviewed by Cigna Healthcare to confirm their qualifications and credentials meet our standards. Also, choosing lower cost options can generally help reduce health care and insurance costs and help your employer or health insurance provider continue to provide the same level of benefit for radiology services in the future. So, choosing higher-cost alternatives may mean you’ll have to pay higher deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs in the future.

    Beside cost, other factors could affect where you choose to receive your care. You may prefer a facility with early morning or late hours, or one that’s closer to your home, doctor’s office, or work.

    * Program availability may vary by plan.

    ** Copayment is the amount you pay towards a doctor's visit. Deductible is the amount you pay for covered services before your plan begins to pay.

    This information is for educational purposes only and is not medical advice or services. Always consult with your health care provider and consider all relevant factors when making decisions related to your health care.

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