How the Cost of MRI Varies Across States

November 11, 2018 – 3 min read

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MRIs, or magnetic resonance imaging, are used to diagnose a number of medical conditions, including traumatic brain injuries and brain tumors, multiple sclerosis, strokes, spinal defects, joint injuries, and more. Although extremely useful and much more detailed than an X-ray or even a CT scan, the cost of MRI can be a hindrance for many patients. Learn about how the cost of MRI varies across states and how you can get the scan you need at an affordable cost.

What Factors Into the Cost of an MRI

An MRI is a technologically advanced procedure, however, what the patient pays for an MRI is not solely determined by the base cost to run the machine and the radiologist’s time to interpret it. There are other factors that go into determining how much an MRI costs, namely the amount of overhead the facility has. This is the primary reason that MRIs cost more at hospitals than they do at standalone imaging centers. The equipment is the same (and some hospitals even use inferior equipment), and the doctors and staff at both hospitals and imaging centers are equally as qualified to operate the machine and interpret test results. However, it costs more to operate a hospital, and the difference is usually passed on to the patient.

Additionally, there are people who go to a hospital for emergency treatment regardless of whether they have insurance or can pay the bill, and the hospital has higher rates of nonpayment than an independent imaging center. Generally speaking, this causes almost everything at a hospital to be more expensive than at smaller facilities, particularly imaging.

The Average Cost of an MRI Across Different States

All states have a difference between the cost of an MRI at a hospital and the cost of an MRI at an imaging center. On average, patients pay $1071 more to have an abdominal MRI done at a hospital than at an independent imaging center.

Business Insider reports that Alaska tops the list with an astounding difference of $3,200, while Mississippi has the least amount of difference between a hospital and an imaging center — in Mississippi, it costs just $97 more to have an MRI done at a hospital. Arkansas, Maine, and Colorado patients also enjoy a lower difference between MRIs at a hospital versus an imaging center, while Michigan, Oklahoma, and Washington see the highest cost differences after Alaska.

Florida and Idaho residents could pay less than $500 for an MRI at an independent imaging center, or almost $2,000 at a hospital. Texas, Virginia, and Illinois residents can expect to pay about $500 for an MRI at an independent facility, or between $1,500-$1,700 at a hospital. Alabama and Pennsylvania might pay less than $400 at an imaging center but less than $1,000 at a hospital, and Georgia and Missouri might pay between $400-$500 for an MRI at an imaging center and close to $1,200 at a hospital.

Get the Scan You Need at an Affordable Rate

Don’t let the high cost of an MRI at a hospital keep you from getting the medical care you need. At American Health Imaging, we’re committed to providing patients with quality and cost-effective MRIs, CTs, and other types of health imaging. Contact us today to discover your most affordable MRI option in your area.