Innovation is the tool that has taken us from cave life to colonization and then to the moon. Every step we take is greeted by a future full of hope and challenges. The history of the medical field has evolved so rapidly, and we humans are part of the era in which people are trying to be God. Stem cell research, DNA decoding, genetic engineering, cloning, and much more are the way into our new future. However, these innovations would not be possible without instruments such as X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging, ECG, and other medical devices. Do you know how much an MRI scan costs?
MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) is a device that uses magnetic fields and radio waves to create black and white images of your body parts. With the help of this device, we can detect abnormalities in body functions, infections, tumors, and injuries.
Why Does It Cost So Much?
On average, a single MRI scan without any insurance is expensive. But why is it so expensive? Here’s a brief explanation of why this medical diagnostic procedure is so expensive.
From mid-level to high-end medical care, medical centers have their MRI machines in a separate suite room. The device is large and consists of a magnet, radio waves, scanner, gradient coils, and a few other technical parts. It is a bit complex to understand how the device performs the operation.
Magnetic resonance imaging equipment is used to scan the human body and diagnose physical problems. These MRI scanners are produced by a few primary care equipment manufacturers in the world, and each one specializes in its own way in the manufacture of state-of-the-art MRI equipment. There is a fierce competition when it comes to selling medical care products, including MRI equipment.
At present, both low-cost MRI scanners and high-end devices are available on the market. It is obvious that, depending on the market price, the size and performance of the equipment would vary considerably. The devices in the lower price segment would have a capacity of 0.2 to 0.3 Tesla, and the higher or strongest field position would be the 3 Tesla devices (where Tesla is a magnetic field scaling unit). Some may opt to use a lower field or lower end MRI scanners, which will cost approximately $150k to $1.2 million. The top healthcare facilities would always opt for the new equipment, which is expensive but offers state-of-the-art performance.
Let’s move on to the maintenance part because we also know that the cost of the machine is high and that it needs a well-protected place with a high maintenance effort. Any top-class medical care center has an “MRI suite” separately for the MRI machine. This suite room protects both the inside and the out against the propagation of magnetic field radio waves. In addition, some tools would be required to assist patients during scanning. So all this will cost about $3 to $5 million.
So, How Much Does an MRI Scan Cost?
Since none of us are doctors and it is a bit complicated to understand their procedures, it is a common feeling to be shocked after we have received the doctor’s bills. But how much does an MRI generally cost?
A magnetic resonance scanner is a state-of-the-art device that shows the truth about your physical changes without causing pain. If you ever go to a medical center because of any internal injuries, the first thing a doctor would say is to decide to have an MRI scan. Apart from the cost of the medication, the MRI will be an important part of your doctor’s bill. The cost of an MRI examination depends on the type of medical center or doctor you choose and the part of the body (e.g. brain, chest, and abdomen) for which you want to have an MRI examination.
Here is the list of average costs (lowest to highest) for the few major parts of the human body:
The average cost of an MRI scan is between 200 and 500 dollars per scan. Depending on where you live, those costs could increase. Here is a link (http://www.acr.org/) which can help patients find the accredited medical centers in their area.
The bar chart below explains the difference in cost between different types of scans in different states.
From the picture above, one can get an idea that each state has its own difference in MRI costs. It ranges from $500 to $3500.
The medical industry is booming with the competition driving up the cost per person for medical care. Many of us are not aware of the additional costs that are included in your final bill. So here are the additional fees that come with an MRI:
- Radiologist fee
- Contrast dyes
- Patient support medicines
These additional costs are all included in your final bill, and there may be opportunities for negotiation if you have good negotiating skills. It has been shown that some contrast dyes are harmful to patients and have negative effects on health. Gadolinium lawsuits are being pursued by those affected.
Cost of MRI Scan With or Without Insurance
Life is unpredictable; we are not sure what will happen tomorrow. Therefore, health must be protected from unpredictable health problems. So how much does an MRI cost without insurance? Well, if you already have insurance, then your insurance will cover the cost of the MRI. However, for those who are not insured, this is not the same case and you will pay the full amount. So it is better to be prepared in case you are not able to see the future clearly.
The above costs vary depending on the hospital or medical center you are in. One last word: don’t forget to check your medical bills whenever they are handed to you directly, because it is not unusual to find an error in the total costs or added extra items. So be careful!
Also, it is always better to prioritize your health first, and your wallet second.
So it is time to make a plan for your future. Don’t struggle because you don’t plan ahead, nor make stupid decisions in a time of need. Always make financial decisions based on research and facts so that you can appreciate yourself for the wise financial decisions you have made in every second of your life.