Based on the article published in USA Today, MRI costs vary by location and facility type. A high deductible patient pays anywhere between $600 - $6,000 for an MRI, therefore it's very important to ask ahead about the MRI price.
The pricing is generally tied to supply & demand market economics. The more outpatient facilities are there in the market, the higher is the competition. And as a result, the imaging centers are more willing to compete on price for MRI scan to win patients if the facility location is close to other imaging clinics. Generally, large cities with a lot of competing hospitals and imaging outpatient clinics tend to be more affordable.
We tend to see the best prices in the Chicago city center and nearby suburbs. Generally, the more facilities are in an area, the higher is the likelihood that they will compete for patients on price and service quality.
MRI costs by top cities:
You can find the best equipped and usually most expensive facilities at national research hospitals such as Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Patients who have visited these such facilities are sometimes must pay as high as $2,600-$6,000 for a single MRI scan. A better option is to visit outpatient imaging centers, where MRI cost as little as $350 per scan.
If you happen to go to an out-of-network imaging center, you can be charged a large bill even if you have a health insurance. In one of edge cases, the health care failed a patient, who had to pay $25,000+ for his daughter’s scan and had hard time meeting his payment plan schedule. Make sure that not only the imaging facility is in-network, but also the radiologist who will be reading the scan. Otherwise, you can be still charged the full cost.
In case you use your insurance for an MRI scan and it gets disapproved, you will be charged the full sticker price. Surprisingly, due to a legal agreement between insurance and facility, you won’t be able to negotiate. Therefore many patients prefer to pay for an MRI scan in cash.
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:
You can save thousands of dollars by paying in cash instead of using insurance. Such facilities do not need to pay for collections or keep a large billing department, so they can pass all of these savings to you. Sometimes with a little haggling, you can get the best MRI price even with an 80% discount.