When doctors order MRI, CT, and Ultrasound scans, it is general practice to work with in network providers, and radiologists to read the reports. This process is beneficial for the referring doctor, as well as the insurance company, but financially a huge burden for the patient. Although covered patients will receive a portion payment from their insurance company, the out of pocket costs are often much more than what a cash pay patient would pay for a medical scan.
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.
First, do not be alarmed if you are a covered patient that has looked at all the health plans and your insurance carrier denies the medical scan. This is a common practice and it is one of the reasons why stand-alone imaging facilities are becoming increasingly more popular. On the contrary, if you have approval from your insurance company for a medical scan, do not be persuaded into using an in network provider. This is the most common way for insurance agencies to receive a substantial payment from patients. A crucial step in obtaining the most competitive price for MRI procedures is to ask the referring doctor for the orders. Next, be patient and conduct research on the type of scan needed, as well as the stand alone facilities that perform medical scans in your area. Use a third party agency who is familiar with medical scans, and stand alone providers to assist in making the most informed decision.
MRIs cost varies by complexity of the scan & the reading and required medical procedures and if the scan requires doctor contrast. Here are the cash prices at outpatient clinics:
Tips for getting the best price for an MRI, CT or a PET/CT scan