Patients on high-deductible insurance pay anywhere between $700 – $6,000 for MRIs, while cash patients can pay as little as $225. According to articles published in Forbes, MRI might get even more expensive because of the new plans by the US Congress to introduce medical device tax. Currently, MRI cost varies based on facility & location.
The research published by Neurology shows that the US has one of the highest medical costs for an MRI, which is about 2x the average of other developed markets such as France or Germany. Patients across the US are paying exorbitant prices MRIs, CTs, Ultrasounds & PET/ CTs, which led many patients to face personal bankruptcies – fortunately, there is a way out.
In general, the best equipped and most expensive facilities are at the national hospitals and research hospitals such as Stanford. Such facilities tend to charge high-deductible patients $2,500-$6,000 per single MRI scan. Another & better option is seeking outpatient facilities that have more reasonable pricing and would charge you about $800-$2,000 per scan. There are now local initiatives looking to curb such exorbitant pricing.
The good news is that you can always negotiate a better rate if you pay in cash. The imaging center saves on billing costs and removes the hassle of dealing with insurance companies, so they can provide you with large discounts. You can pay as little as $250 for an MRI scan without contrast, which is 90% saving vs. the listing price.
Even if you receive full coverage from your insurance company you will get a large bill. Usually, your doctor will recommend you to an in-network facility, which your insurance covers. But, you need to be very careful who is the radiologist – is he also in-network? If not, you will be charged the full list price of the MRI reading which can go up to thousands of dollars if he is out-of-network. David Belk from Truecostofhealthcare.com covers many of these horror stories.
The good news is that you can still do the MRI for even a cheaper price than would be your co-pay if your insurance would cover the MRI price. You can go the cash route and instead of waiting 3-4 weeks for your insurance approved the appointment, you can get the next day MRI appointment through one of the AffordableScan facilities.
MRIs prices vary by complexity of the scan & the reading and if the scan requires doctor contrast. Here are the cash prices at outpatient clinics:
Check out Santa Ana, Garden Grove and Anaheim for the best rates in LA. Looking for other locations? Check out our state & city guides.