How Much Does an Electroencephalogram (EEG) Cost Without Insurance?
The average cost for an electroencephalogram (EEG) in the United States without insurance ranges between $200 to $3000 or more. A routine EEG is less expensive, usually between $200 to $700, though costs increase if you need increased monitoring.
Many factors affect the cost of an EEG, including the type of EEG, geographic location, physician fees, and insurance status.
Average Cost of an Electroencephalogram (EEG) Without Insurance
EEGs usually cost between $200 to $3000 or more. The estimated average cost in the United States is around $972. Costs can significantly increase if you require increased monitoring and whether or not you want a video recording.
Factors Affecting the Cost of an EEG
The total average cost for an EEG varies greatly, depending on the type of EEG, your geographic location, physician fees, and your insurance status. The following subsections will examine how these factors affect your total cost estimate.
Type of EEG
The table below outlines average prices for different types of EEGs without insurance:
|Type of EEG||Price Average|
|Routine EEG||$200 - $700|
|Video EEG monitoring||$929|
|Ambulatory EEG||$760 - $1260|
Sources: Medicare, MDsave, St. Petes
A routine EEG usually lasts 20-30 minutes, making it relatively less expensive. It does not have any video recording included. The EEG is often done with activation procedures, making capturing the brain wave readings easier. Activation procedures include photic stimulation (flashing lights), hyperventilation, and sleep deprivation.
A prolonged EEG is similar to a routine EEG and can be done with or without video recording. The most significant difference is that it requires more comprehensive monitoring, lasting around 1-2 hours or several days. It gives your healthcare provider more information to diagnose or manage seizure disorders.
Video EEG Screening
This type of EEG is usually considered inpatient and prolonged, making it more expensive than a routine EEG. However, it does necessarily have to be either. The technician records a video of the patient during the EEG to allow a healthcare provider to observe them while they experience a brain-related event.
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An ambulatory EEG is an outpatient procedure, which means it can be done in an EEG monitoring unit or in the comfort of your home. They usually last around 1-3 days. You can go about your daily life while the EEG machine tracks your brain activity.
Ambulatory EEGs can be a less expensive alternative to prolonged inpatient monitoring, with costs 51%-65% lower than a 24-hour video EEG monitoring admission.
This test is performed while you are asleep and helps your healthcare provider study potential sleep disorders. There are two types of sleep EEGs:
- Sleep deprivation EEG: you avoid sleeping or have less sleep the night before the test
- Natural sleep EEG: you are allowed to fall asleep naturally during the test
Geographic location significantly affects the cost of an EEG without insurance. The following table outlines the price estimates for EEG services in different states and hospitals.
|Clinic (State)||Average Price Range Estimate|
|Houston Neurological Institute (Texas)||$503 - $661|
|Adventist Health in Simi Valley (California)||$1440 - $1728|
|Mount Sinai Hospital (New York)||$1470 - $2050|
|Lowell General Hospital (Massachusetts)||$727 - $1240|
|UW Medical Center (Washington)||$1095 - $1793|
|Johns Hopkins Medicine (Maryland)||$417 - $15694|
Sources: HNI, Adventist Health, Mount Sinai, Tufts Medicine, UW, JHM
Additional Physician Fees
We recommend calling your local lab or clinic to determine what extra fees you may be responsible for paying. Generally speaking, the average cost of an inpatient neurological visit ranges from $106 to $432. Not having insurance can make visits to a neurologist more expensive, but some neurologists can offer reduced rates to people who don’t have health insurance.
For patients covered by private health insurance, typical out-of-pocket costs for an EEG include a copay or coinsurance of around 10%-50%. Health insurance typically covers an EEG when medically necessary to diagnose or monitor a brain-related problem or during surgery.
Medicare categorizes all types of EEGs as diagnostic lab tests and pays 100% of their cost. This includes ambulatory EEGs if your physician suspects you are having seizures but you have not had proof yet from a routine or sleeping EEG. You should have full EEG coverage if you have Original Medicare Part B or a Medicare Advantage Part C plan.
To be eligible for Medicare coverage, your healthcare provider must order to determine that your EEG is medically necessary.
Ways to Save on EEG Costs Without Insurance
EEGs can be expensive without insurance, but luckily, patients can offset costs by exploring options for financial assistance through organizations like the Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF), Accessia Health, or the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics (NAFC). The NAFC is a non-profit organization that offers a wide range of resources for free clinics nationwide. Resources include discounted services and supplies.
You can also inquire about patient assistance programs, cash discounts, and payment plans for different facilities. You can find your area's most affordable EEG services by comparing prices and payment plan options.
Lastly, you can consider Mira—though we don't cover neurological specialists, we can help you find one at the cheapest rate in your area.
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Electroencephalogram (EEG) Costs Without Insurance: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
The following section will answer frequently asked questions about EEGs.
What exactly is an electroencephalogram?
An electroencephalogram (EEG) measures brain waves or the electrical activity of your brain. During an EEG procedure, metal disc electrodes are taped onto your scalp. The electrodes detect tiny electrical charges from your brain cells' activity and can identify any abnormalities.
An EEG is used to evaluate and diagnose certain brain disorders. It is most commonly used to show the type and location of the electrical activity in the brain during a seizure. It also helps evaluate patients struggling with certain brain functions, including:
- Sleep disorders
- Difficulty with thinking or memory
- Weaknesses associated with a stroke
Are EEGs safe?
An EEG is perfectly safe. It does not use any electrical shocks or radiation or have any side effects. It is also considered safe for patients of any age. The electrodes taped to your head only record activity and do not produce any sensation, which means there is no risk of getting an electric shock.
Because EEGs sometimes use activation procedures, a patient with a seizure disorder may experience a seizure during an EEG. However, a healthcare provider will treat it immediately.
When should I urgently seek an EEG?
Patients should urgently notify their doctor and seek EEG services if their typical seizure pattern changes. If a patient experiences any changes in mental status or new weakness, numbness, or tingling, they should contact their doctor immediately.
Additionally, if a patient experiences new seizures, increased episodes, a changed mental status, or loss of bodily function, they should go to the nearest emergency department.
How do I prepare for my EEG?
Your doctor will provide you with instructions on how to prepare for your procedure. Generally speaking, these are some essential steps to follow:
- If you regularly take antidepressants or seizure medications, you may be asked to stop taking your medications a couple of days before the exam
- Avoid caffeine on the day of the exam.
- Wash your hair the night before or the day of the test, but don't use conditioners, hair creams, sprays, or styling gels that can get in the way of the sticky electrode patches.
- Have someone drive you to the location of the EEG.
- If you get a sleep EEG done, you may be asked to stay awake the night before your exam.
What is the difference between an EEG, MRI, and fMRI?
In an EEG, electric signals from the electrodes pasted on your scalp are sent to an amplifier. A computer then receives this signal and generates various maps of your brain's electrical activity across a specific time. Because the electrodes measure electrical activity at the brain's surface, it can be difficult to distinguish if a signal came from the brain's surface or a deeper region.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) provides a structural brain map at a certain time. An MRI allows your healthcare provider to examine the size of the different parts of your brain and find any abnormalities, like a tumor. This procedure tends to be more expensive than an EEG.
Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) measures the amount of oxygenated blood flowing through a particular region of your brain at a point in time. When there is more oxygenated blood in one part of the brain relative to others, it is considered a more active area. An fMRI is also generally more expensive than an EEG.
The cost of an EEG without insurance varies depending on the type of EEG, geographic location, physician fees, and insurance status. EEGs usually cost between $200 to $3000 or more. The estimated national average cost in the United States is around $972, though it can quickly climb if you need increased monitoring.
EEGs can be expensive without insurance, but patients can reduce costs by exploring options for financial assistance and patient assistance programs through organizations like the Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF), Accessia Health, or the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics (NAFC).
Jasiah Hasan is from Portland, Oregon. She is completing her Master's in Public Health in global health policy at George Washington University. Outside of health equity and women's health, Jasiah is passionate about writing and dreams of one-day publishing poetry books.