Recently released Medicare research found that MRIs charges can be as little as $474 or as high as $13,259, depending on where you go.
Another recent study of medical claims by Change Healthcare found that in-network prices for certain types of MRIs can range from $511 to $2,815.
Some of the variability comes with which type of procedure you have done, on what body part is being examined. But most of the price differences are a result of where you choose to have the MRI scan.
Still, the price of an exam at one facility may be very different from the price at another facility, or the price of getting the same test at the hospital.
Exactly how much your MRI will cost?
The price tag on a diagnostics test should never be a mystery. Unlike some medical procedures, you can ask the diagnostic facility how much your test will cost, so you know what the dent in your pocketbook will be.
MRIs at the hospital vs. an outpatient facility
If you’ve ever been to the ER or had to take an ambulance ride, you probably racked up a pretty jaw-dropping bill. Going to the hospital for your exam may be necessary if you have an emergency, but you will pay a high price.
Since hospitals have high overhead and have to be ready for anything, especially emergencies, their MRI prices are likely much higher than what you’d find at an outpatient imaging center like Advanced Diagnostics.
The good news is that often times, MRI exams are scheduled appointments rather than an unexpected rush to the hospital. That means you can shop around for a facility that has the best equipment and technicians while looking out for your bank account.
Your doctor may recommend a hospital or diagnostic center for your upcoming test, but few patients know that they can go to the imaging center of their choice.
Anytime you’re scheduling an exam, you have a choice of where to go for your MRI.
A bit of research and a few phone calls could easily save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars. That’s because each imaging center sets their own fees. It’s not standardized so you will likely get a broad range of prices for the same test.
Even if your doctor treated you at the hospital or recommended the hospital for your MRI exam, you can get your test at the imaging center of your choice. Just let your doctor know your preference or contact your provider’s office to inform them of where you’d like to get your exam done once you’ve had a chance to shop around.
Determining a Fair Price
You can check the price of an MRI in your area with Healthcare Blue Book, a free online tool that lists fair prices for healthcare services based on your region. The fair price is what a health service provider typically allows from insurance companies as full payment, which is substantially less than the billed amount.
Is the MRI equipment at an outpatient center as advanced as the hospital?
Outpatient imaging centers specialize in diagnostic exams so their technology is most often top of the line. Since the MRI equipment is the backbone of an outpatient imaging center, you can be confident it is carefully maintained. In fact, often times a freestanding imaging center has more advanced machinery than the hospital.
What about the technicians, are they as good as those at the hospital?
The technicians and staff at an outpatient imaging center have the experience and education to put your mind at ease. Since we specialize in diagnostic imaging, our team has acquired a wealth of technical knowledge and personal understanding of each exam type.
Will your insurance cover an MRI?
The majority of insurance companies will reimburse the cost of most MRI exams. Some health insurance companies require precertification or authorization prior to completing the test.
Call your insurance provider to make sure you’re covered
It’s advised to call your insurance agent to ask about coverage before scheduling your exam. Always ask if approval is needed, or you could get stuck with the entire bill. If precertification is required and you fail to wait for approval, your insurance claims can later be denied, leaving you to foot the bill yourself.
Our team is dedicated to our patients. Accuracy and professionalism are of the utmost importance. The comfort and education of our patients are always at the forefront of everything we do. We want to help you feel at ease before, during, and after your exam.
Call us to schedule an appointment, ask any questions, or get pricing information for your exam.