For people with and without health insurance in the US, the idea of a sudden medical problem is a daily fear. Not only do we worry about our actual health but we stress about whether we can foot the bill for the medical costs too.
The good news is that you may be able to find more affordable options than you realize for some procedures. One of those procedures is an MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging: a detailed image that gives doctors important internal views of your body.
Pricing of MRIs With and Without Insurance
Most people assume that an MRI, like most medical procedures, will be exorbitantly expensive if they don’t have insurance. On the contrary, it’s often actually less expensive to pay out of pocket for your MRI.
The reason for this goes back to the imaging centers’ negotiations with insurance companies. It costs them more to manage all the back and forth with the insurance company, so when you pay out of pocket, they pass along the savings to you. If you have insurance, unless you’ve already met your deductible or you have a very low deductible, you’re likely to pay less for an MRI if you pay out of pocket.
How to Find a Cheap MRI Near Me
Whether you’re choosing to pay out of pocket or this is your only option, there are two paths you can take to find a cheap MRI near you.
Step 1: Knowing What You Need
MRIs for different areas of the body have different costs, and there are other variables that affect your pricing as well. Before you can start to compare prices, you need to know exactly what you need.
Check your doctor’s orders for a CPT code - a code that correlates to the exact MRI you need, including details about contrast and body area. If you don’t see one, call your doctor to ask.
Step 2: Finding MRI Providers
The next step is to build a list of all the MRI providers in your area. While hospitals typically have MRIs, there are also independent imaging centers that provide MRIs for non-emergency needs.
Step 3: Comparing Apples to Apples
The third but most time-consuming step is to call each of those MRI providers, give them your CPT code, and ask for their pricing for that procedure without insurance. They should be able to give you a price or at least a narrow range.
To make sure you’re comparing these providers appropriately, be sure to ask about their equipment as well. Ask for the strength of their MRI machine and how old it is so that you’re getting the full picture.
OR Use a One-Step Process
You could follow those three steps above, or you could make it easier on yourself by using a service that does the legwork for you. Imaging Panda allows you to input your imaging procedure (MRI, in this case), contrast needs, and body area along with your zip code.
You’ll get a detailed list of MRI providers in your area and their prices for the image you need. It’s quick and simple so you can move on to getting the care you need.
Protecting Your Health and Your Wallet
Without a doubt, your health is the most valuable asset you have. That doesn’t mean to should spend more money than necessary, especially when it won’t affect your results. Instead of dropping “cheap MRI near me” into a Google search, use the steps above or use Imaging Panda to find your best option.