Case in point: Three years ago, a doctor told me I now have a heart murmur. I'm having no symptoms of decreased cardiac output. Since that time 2 other doctors have heard the murmur and recommend a baseline echocardiogram, which is an ultrasound of the heart that measures mechanical function of each chamber of the heart and the heart valves, and overall cardiac output.
I work on a per diem basis in a hospital by choice so I can have maximum flexibility and control over my schedule. This means that I don't receive any health insurance through my work, but instead buy a policy with a $3000 deductible, 6 office visits a year, yearly checkup. A friend of mine with a similar policy and a heart murmur did get an echocardiogram and it cost $700.
Yesterday at work I asked my favorite cardiologist for advise on my situation. He said he would listen to my heart and we could have the echo tech do a quickie unofficial echo if needed. He listened to my heart murmur and said that you can barely hear it and that I definitely don't need an echo done.
This just proves to me that a lot of doctors are ordering expensive diagnostics, most likely to cover their asses, and also because they are there and insurance will pay.