Your doctor’s ability to understand your symptoms largely depends on how well he is able to view what is going on in your body. Medical science wouldn’t have seen such rapid advancement if the diagnostic techniques that seem commonplace today were not discovered. MRIs are probably the most sophisticated of these techniques and they are a great way of accurately viewing internal organs. Essentially, an MRI is a test that employs radio waves and a powerful kind of magnet to display high-resolution pictures of the inside of your body on a computer.
Why Choose MRI?
The major advantage of MRI lies in the absence of radiation. Although the radiation levels employed in other imaging techniques have been shown to be quite safe, concerns still arise for some classes of people especially pregnant women, or when you need to scan the brain. With an MRI scan, a detailed assessment of the internal organs of pregnant women can be made. This is done with little risk of harm to the unborn baby. The baby could even be monitored using an MRI scan. Furthermore, MRI gives a clearer view of soft tissues. It is, therefore, the choice technique when organs such as the brain, joints, spine etc. are to be viewed.
The widespread misconception about MRI cost prevents many people from benefiting from these advantages. If you’ve talked to anyone about getting an MRI, you would have heard how it’s such a costly procedure. And how your insurance plans are never going to cover it. This is hyperbolic, to say the least. An MRI could be the difference between life and death. For a procedure that important and beneficial, it is only fair to conclude that the current prices are reasonable
Just like most medical procedures, you would need to provide specifics before you can know the exact MRI cost. Generally, An MRI scan could be as cheap as $400 and would hardly cost more than $3500. Medicare released a report in 2014 that actually puts the American average around $2400. The variation in MRI cost depends on such factors as
- the facility you choose to have your scan
- the type of scan you will be having
- the body part you want to scan
- whether you’ll need a contrast dye or not.
It goes without saying that a scan of the brain would cost more than a scan of, say, the knee. The cost of the procedure in a hospital also tends to be significantly higher than the charge in imaging facilities. You could ask for a quote in a few places and compare costs as the prices are not standardized. The downside here is that most facilities can’t give you a price unless you provide specifics about your case. It’s not just as simple as online electronic o grocery shopping. You can, however, be sure you’ll be getting great value for your money if you compare the quality of the service you’ll be provided here with the cost.
If you still feel the procedure is overly pricey, perhaps you need more insight into what you’re paying for. More than the procedural fee, the MRI cost you would be paying a professional fee. A professional radiologist would help interpret your test results. He/she could even consult with your primary care provider to decide on the best interventions.
How to pay for an MRI
The first thing you need to do is to check in with your insurance provider and assess your options. Many insurance plans do not cover the full MRI cost but they could significantly ease the burden. You’ll actually be paying much less if the imaging facility participates in your plan’s provider network. Once you agree on the percentage of the bill you’ll be footing, you could opt to pay cash-upfront or via your credit card. if the amount you’ll be paying turns out huge, many facilities offer a flexible payment plan. You might be able to defect some of the fees to a later date.
If you’re uninsured or you haven’t met your deductible, there might also be an easier way out for you. Some facilities offer as much as 20% discount if you are able to pay in cash upfront. The flexible payment plan could also come to your aid. If you still are unable to meet the cost, ask your doctor or the imaging facility if they could link you with NGOs that help front medical bills.
Finally, remember to always check your bill before you pay. Some bills carry tags such as ‘NOT A BILL’. This means it belongs to your insurance provider and there really is no point helping them do their job. If your bill is much larger than you were expecting, a billing error might have occurred. It is within your rights to request an itemized bill. Remember, though, that an MRI could be the key to the health puzzle that has been taking its toll on you for some time now. Do not hesitate to get one if your doc recommends one.
So, What Now?
If you didn’t know, you’re in the perfect place if you want to learn more about MRI scanning. In our blog we post regular content that explains and explores what MRI scanning is, how it works, what it’s useful for and why it’s sometimes a great choice compared to X-Ray and other kinds of scanning. So if you’d like to know more, check out our blog, or give us a call! One of our friendly staff would be happy to help you with whatever questions you might have.