| On
May 11, 2022

How much does an MRI cost without insurance?

By Concierge at AffordableScan | 4 min read

MRI cost no insurance:

The good news is that with the Affordable Act in action, hospitals can no longer surcharge the uninsured patients obnoxious fees for doing MRIs. Before large medical facilities would charge patients $3,000 - $6,000. Now with the legal protection in place, facilities who accept government funding (the majority of facilities) must provide a cash price that is similar to the price that Medicare & Medicaid pays for its beneficiaries. They get one of the lowest rates across the country thanks to the excellent negotiation power. As a result, patients can get an MRI for cash for as little as $225.

MRI Basics

It is important to note most of the time, all the bells and whistles associated with the new machines are not needed for the majority of diagnoses. MRI scans without contrast are used a majority of the time, and they are more cost friendly to the patient. Understanding the differences in needing an MRI with contrast versus an MRI without contrast is also vital in making a cost-effective decision.  In the simplest of terms, MRI with contrast uses a substance that is injected into a certain part of the body to make it more visible on the scan. It is generally used to better observe the presence of tumors, and inflammation. It is also used to assist with the more accurate location of blood vessels, blood supply, as well as used on certain organs for a more optimal image.

Average MRI cost in the US for Common Imaging Procedures

  • Abdominal MRI: $550 - $4,500
  • Brain MRI: $225 - $1,400
  • Breast MRI: $575 -$3,575
  • MRI Arm, Wrist, or Shoulder: $350 - $850
  • MRI of Foot, Ankle, or Knee: $375 - $800

Insurance is denying my MRI – what to do?

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.

I might need a larger medical procedure, should I proceed with the cash route?

It depends, you might better of first getting your imaging done, so you can have a better understanding of your future medical needs. At any point of time you can also compare insurance plans to decide if you want to continue to go the cash route, or sign-up for an insurance plan.

Tips for getting the best price for an MRI, CT or a PET/CT scan

  • Ask a doctor for the MRI, CT, or Ultrasound referral to take with you
  • Make sure the doctor lists what type of scan is needed, ie: contrast vs no contrast
  • Use a third party service to help narrow down facilities in the correct area
  • Offer to pay cash, cash pay patient receive the highest discount

Not sure where to start?

Our concierge will help you find the most affordable imaging center
Concierge at AffordableScan | 4 min read

The concierge team at AffordableScan works with top experts & doctors in the industry to publish the latest research & news on affordable medical care in the US.