How Much Does an MRI Cost?

You Choose Where to have Your MRI

Many patients think when the doctor says, “you need an MRI”, they have to use a hospital’s imaging department. That is simply not true. The patient always has the right to choose where he or she goes for their imaging, or any medical service for that matter. In choosing where to go, you may ask yourself “how much does an MRI cost? And where should I go?”

Independent imaging centers, like Capitol Imaging Services (CIS), on average feature lower-priced procedures that use the same high quality technology that yield the same, if not better results as a hospital radiology scan. Plus, you will receive a greater focus on providing exemplary customer service. In today’s post, we will discuss the many reasons behind the varying cost of imaging.

Why Can Hospital Imaging Cost More?

At the CIS family of centers, we use the global billing model. What is global billing? In its simplistic form, global billing means that instead of getting separate bills from medical providers (often there can be several, depending upon the medical services provided), a person will get one bill for everything done as part of their healthcare. In other words, one price covers everything — with no hidden fees or costs.

At hospitals, you may receive not only the bill for your study, but also a bill for the radiologist to interpret the study. Also, hospitals must recoup costs for their entire facility, not just for the radiology department. Hospitals may be allowed to charge Medicare and most other commercial insurers a facility fee. Therefore, if you choose to visit a hospital for an MRI or other type of diagnostic test, chances are good that your price will go towards covering costs of services that are not necessarily associated with your exam. This is why a freestanding imaging facility, like CIS, is able to charge less than the hospital.

What other factors can affect the cost of an MRI?

When asking how much does an MRI cost, several factors can affect what you will have to pay, like:
  • Type of Health Insurance

    Does your insurance have a copay or do you pay a percentage of the overall bill? With a copay, you know exactly what your out-of-pocket will be at each visit. With coinsurance, you may experience higher up-front costs until you meet your deductible. Either way, shopping prices will benefit you in the end.

  • In-network vs. out-of-network providers

    Is CIS in your insurance company’s network of providers? In-network vs. out-of-network providers can make a difference. Providers in your network can only charge the contracted rate that was negotiated with the insurance company. This rate is typically much lower than the out-of-network or out-of-pocket costs you would pay without insurance. However, even without insurance, the cost for imaging can be less at an independent imaging center such as CIS. Click here to learn more about In-network vs out-of-network providers

  • Body Area Being Scanned

    Images of the breasts and abdomen tend to cost more than images of the spinal cord and brain. A brain scan may cost more than a knee scan, as it requires a more detailed analysis from a specialized doctor. It all depends on the complexity of your imaging needs and the part of the body that is being imaged.

  • Type of Imaging Facility

    The type of imaging facility you visit can significantly affect cost. Having your scan at a freestanding MRI center (like CIS) typically costs less than a scan at the hospital. Average prices for MRI and CT scans ranged from 30 to 149 percent higher at hospitals than at a CIS center. This is due to hospitals having to cover overhead costs for their entire facility.

Does less expensive mean poorer quality?

Asking how much does an MRI cost may lead you to wondering if less expensive means poor quality. The important point is that in health care, a higher price does not mean better quality. By choosing independent imaging centers, you will receive the same, if not better, quality service when visiting us and yet will spend less.

Hospitals claim that the difference in price and value is due to a higher degree of expertise and seasoned subspecialists. Capitol Imaging Services has subspecialists who are clinically trained in breast imaging, body imaging, neuroradiology, musculoskeletal imaging, thoracic imaging and interventional imaging. At Capitol Imaging Services, patients truly get high value and a lower price.

At CIS, you do not sacrifice quality for price. You can have lower fees and yet the high quality imaging needed for test results that doctors and other medical providers use as part of their diagnosis.

How does an MRI work?

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) uses a powerful magnetic field, combined with radio waves and a computer to produce detailed images of the human anatomy. In today's video, learn how these images are created, when an MRI would be ordered, and what you can expect during the procedure.

Get a Price for Your MRI Today!

Capitol Imaging Services is one of the largest independent radiology practices of its type serving the southeastern United States. Not only do we perform the scan such as a CT or MRI, we also provide the radiology expertise to review test images and issue important findings to physicians and other health care providers.

We’ve made it convenient to receive an estimate from a Capitol Imaging Services affiliate. Click here to access our price estimate tool. With your information, we will produce a good faith estimate of any fees that would be your obligation to pay as a result of your exam.

Contact us today to learn why Capitol Imaging Services is doctor trusted and patient preferred.