How much does an mri scan cost in 2021? | finder.com

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How much does an mri scan cost?

Compare payment options and costs for an mri scan

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If you're a candidate for an mri scan, costs vary significantly based on your insurance, where you live and the hospital or doctor you choose. Each procedure is assigned standardized, 5-digit CPT codes that hospitals and insurance companies use for billing purposes. Use the CPT code to compare prices for an mri scan before scheduling your appointment.

Average cost for an mri scan

If you have health insurance and use an in-network doctor, you can expect to pay $1,991 for an mri scan on average. If you don't have insurance or you choose an out-of-network doctor, the cost increases to $6,285.

Average costs are based on the primary cost of an mri scan in the 90201 ZIP code and don't factor in insurance costs like copays or deductibles, or additional fees often charged by doctors or hospitals — like medical supplies, facility fees and support services.

CPT code Procedure ZIP used Description In network total costs Out of network total costs
70553 MRI scan 90201 MRI scan of brain before and after contrast $1,991 $6,285

Related costs for an mri scan

CPT code Primary procedure Description In network cost Out of network cost
70533 Hospital (outpatient) Hospital outpatient facility (HOSPF) estimate for procedure code 70533 (in addition to your doctor's fee) $1,749 $5,680
A9585 Medical Supply and Services - Professional Gadobutrol 0.1 ml $2 $5
Total primary & related costs $1,751 $5,685

Does health insurance cover an mri scan?

Most health insurance policies cover an mri scan if it's medically necessary and you've met your deductible and any coinsurance or copays specified in your policy. If you don't have health insurance, you may need to pay the full cost of an mri scan out of pocket. The exact amount your insurance pays for an mri scan comes down to your plan and the doctor or healthcare facility you're going to. For the most accurate idea of how much you'll pay out of pocket, contact your insurance company before booking an mri scan.

Does Medicare cover an mri scan?

It depends on your Medicare plan, but generally Medicare covers procedures like an mri scan that are considered medically necessary by your doctor.

  • Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) covers inpatient care in a hospital or skilled nursing facility following a hospital stay, so it typically won't cover an mri scan.
  • Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) pays for emergency, urgent and outpatient care and some preventative services, which means Medicare likely covers an mri scan — but you'll be charged a 20% coinsurance.
  • Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage) is a comprehensive plan that combines Part A, Part B and often Part D and should pay for a portion of an mri scan minus any deductible, copay or coinsurance.
  • Medicare Part D (Prescription Drugs) won't cover an mri scan, but it may help to pay for any medication you need as part of your recovery.

What affects the cost of an mri scan?

The price you'll pay for an mri scan varies based on factors like:

  • Your health insurance plan. Your coinsurance, copay and how much of your deductible you've met affects the amount you pay for an mri scan out of pocket, does as whether your doctor or anyone else involved is outside your network.
  • Your location. Where you live dictates which doctors or healthcare facilities you have access to for an mri scan. Urban areas are more competitive, which can drive down costs for an mri scan compared to rural areas.
  • Your doctor. Your doctor's experience and expertise affects how much they charge for an mri scan. And the cost may increase if complications arise during an mri scan and your doctor has to call in other medical professionals.
  • Additional fees. Your healthcare provider may charge associated fees that increase the overall cost of an mri scan.

How to cut your costs for an mri scan

In the leadup to an mri scan, confirm your copay, coinsurance and deductible with your insurer so you know how much you'll pay out of pocket.

  • Dip into your HSA, FSA or HRA. These tax-advantaged accounts can help you to cover out-of-pocket costs for an mri scan.
  • Ask about financial aid. If you can't afford to pay the average cost of $1,991 with or without insurance, most hospitals and clinics offer financial aid programs that include discounts or interest-free payment plans.
  • Explore outpatient centers. Outpatient facilities tend to charge less for medical procedures like an mri scan, though they're not an option for everyone.
  • Consider medical loans. A medical loan could help pay for anything your health insurance doesn't cover for an mri scan, like copays or coinsurance.
  • Compare doctors and hospitals. Lower the price of medical services by comparing in-network hospitals before you schedule an mri scan. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services require hospitals and clinics to publish online price lists for common procedures, which may include costs for an mri scan.

Bottom line

The price of an mri scan is a major consideration for treatment whether you have health insurance or not. The amount you'll pay for an mri scan can vary between doctors, hospitals, locations and insurance plans, which is why it's worth comparing hospital prices.

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