How to Find an Affordable MRI Imaging Center

April 17, 2018 – 3 min read

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MRIs can detect a huge range of health issues, and if your physician has recommended an MRI, you should get one. Unfortunately, however, these tests can be expensive. If you’re worried about the cost of an MRI, here are some tips to help you save.


Avoid the Emergency Room

If possible, do not get your MRI in an emergency room. Emergency departments are notorious for being the most expensive part of the hospital to run. These departments have to maintain staff, equipment, and infrastructure on a 24/7 basis which can be expensive on its own, but they are also legally required to treat all patients, regardless of whether or not they have insurance.

As a result, emergency rooms get stuck with a lot of unpaid bills, and to cover those losses, they have to increase their other prices. According to NPR, when Benjamin Hynden from Fort Myers got two MRIs, this is exactly what happened. At the free-standing imaging clinic, his bill was just $268, but when he got the exact same procedure done at an emergency room, it was $8,897. That’s an increase of 3,320%. In other words, he paid 33 times more at the ER.


Go to a Freestanding Imaging Clinic

Ideally, to keep the cost of your MRI as low as possible, you should head to a freestanding clinic. These facilities often don’t have the bargaining power of large hospitals. As a result, they have to charge rates that insurers will pay, and often, their rates are dictated by Medicare, which helps to keep them low.

Beyond that, these centers use their imaging equipment all day every day. That means that there are more patients to pay, and the imaging center can spread the costs for equipment maintenance and upkeep between several patients. In contrast, if an emergency room or a hospital only uses their equipment once in a while, they have to spread the costs between just a handful of patients. That drives up prices.


Compare Different Insurance Policies

If possible, you may want to compare different insurance policies. Typically, you can only change policies during open enrollment periods or when you have a qualifying life event such as starting a new job and becoming eligible for coverage. Before deciding on the type of overage you want, make sure to look at whether or not MRIs or other specific tests are covered.

Also remember, that even if your employer offers coverage, you may still want to look into private insurance or insurance through the health care exchanges. The more comparison shopping you do, the less you are likely to end up paying for your MRI out of pocket.

If you want an affordable, high quality MRI, contact us at American Health Imaging today. We focus on imaging so you can rest assured that you get the level of care you need and the prices you can afford.


If you’re a doctor who wants to help your patient, you can set up an appointment directly with us. This is a great way to get your patients the care they need, while also helping to keep their costs affordable.