MRI scan average costs vary by facility & location. For 40% of high-deductible patients insurance no longer covers MRI scan procedure cost until they reach their $6,000 to $18,000 deductible. Patients are expected to pay out of pocket between $800 - $6,000 for a single MRI. It's essential that you do your research before going to the closest facility you were directed by your doctor. A cash MRI can cost you as little as $225 total including the scan, CD & radiologist report.
The great news is that with a standalone clinic 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 $225 for an MRI scan without contrast. Which means you will save up 80% vs. the list price that you will be quoted by your insurance company.
Hospitals directly refer their patients to their imaging facilities, so they are not directly motivated to provide affordable service. Especially research hospitals such as UCSF or Stanford are among the most expensive in the country. For instance, 2 years ago Stanford charged a patient $23,749 for a single MRI.
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.
If you happen to go to an out-of-network imaging center, you can be charged a large bill. 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.
Don't worry, you can take your doctor referral to any clinic of your choice. As long as your doctor gets timely results of good quality they don't care if it comes from a large hospital or a stand-alone outpatient clinic that has lower costs.
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 diagnostic imaging centers are more willing to compete on price for MRI scan to win patients. Generally, large cities with a lot of competing hospitals and imaging outpatient clinics tend to be more affordable.
Find out the average MRI cost by your state for insured and uninsured patients.
Find out the average prices for most frequent imaging procedures:
|CPT Code||MRI procedure Type||Lowest cash price||Average list price|
|70551||MRI Brain without Contrast||$225||$1,328|
|70552||MRI Brain with Contrast||$350||$1,692|
|70553||MRI Brain w/o & w/ Contrast||$400||$2,054|
|72148||MRI Lumbar Spine without Contrast||$225||$1,328|
|72149||MRI Lumbar Spine with Contrast||$350||$1,692|
|72158||MRI Lumbar Spine w/o & w/ Contrast||$400||$2,065|
|72141||MRI Spine Cervical without Contrast||$400||$1,328|
|72142||MRI Spine Cervical with Contrast||$225||$3,919|
|72156||MRI Spine Cervical w/o & w Contrast||$350||$2,065|
|74181||MRI Abd without Contrast||$225||$1,328|
|74182||MRI Abd with Contrast||$350||$1,692|
|74183||MRI Abd w/o & w/ Contrast||$400||$2,065|
We tend to see the best prices in the Los Angeles region, Miami region and other large cities. Generally, the more state-of-art facilities are in an area, the higher is the likelihood that they will compete for patients on price and service quality.