How much does an MRI scan cost?
MRI scans are frequently ordered by doctors to look for and follow a variety of diseases. Over 26 million MRI scans are done every year at a cost of $18 billon. Although insurance covers most of the cost, with the growth of high deductible plans, higher copays, and catastrophe-only coverage, U.S. patients are increasingly paying more out of pocket for their medical care. And over 47 million uninsured people are faced with the full cost of an MRI if they need one.
MRI prices are based on a number of factors:
- body part being examined
We called 5 hospitals and 5 outpatient imaging centers in our area asking for the full price for an MRI of the Brain with dye. Two hospitals were unable to give us the price (didn't know!) and one outpatient center refused to divulge its cash prices over the phone.
MRI Price Range
- Hospitals (3) - $1750 to $2200
- Outpatient Imaging Centers (4) - $700-$1000
We did not try to negotiate these prices during the first call. We called back and asked for a discount. Results:
Negotiated MRI Prices
- Hospital 1 offered a
10% discount if paid in full
- Hospital 2 offered to split payments in half
- Hospital 3 asked us to "come to the Radiology department"
- Outpatient center 1 refused to discount (price was $900)
- Outpatient center 2 told us the "manager had to approve any discounts". We left a message but didn't hear back.
- Outpatient center 3 gave us a 20% discount, reducing the price of the test from $1000 to $800.
We got this price information and discounts but it took us some time :
- Calls were made over a 3 day period
- A total of 25 phone calls were made
Decidedly non-scientific but very revealing. Getting prices for healthcare services can be daunting and bargaining for prices even harder. Fortunately there are websites (like ours) that are working hard to make prices easy to find and help you understand what you're paying for.
FYI: You can look up our prices for MRI scans here.
Have you tried shopping for an MRI? How much did you pay? Did ask for and get a discount? Leave your comments below.