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Does it cost less to see PAs?

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Many/most PAs work for health systems and don't set their own prices for care, visits, labs, testing, etc. The only part they can control is what they actually bill for. But a clinic can set its own prices. So a primary care office in rural Minnesota might bill a patient $100 for CPT code 99392 (well child visit, age 1-4). The same visit in another state or office might be billed out at $250. There is no rhyme or reason, it's whatever the clinic can get away with. It's the same reason spaying your cat costs $300 in Chicago and $25 + a firm handshake in rural Iowa.

Some providers who regularly see uninsured patients will underbill if they know the patient is financially vulnerable. Or offices will offer a sliding fee scale depending on income or other factors.

Generally speaking when we hear in the news that PAs provide less expensive care, they are discussing the cost benefit to the health system, not the individual consumer/patient. Although there is plenty of research that shows PAs reduce costs overall that way as well (preventing hospitalizations, etc).

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