How Much Does an MRI Cost Without Insurance in 2022? | Mira (2022)

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can cost between $375 to $2,850 due to several varying costs of the procedure. MRI procedures can be done for nearly every body part to help diagnose issues you may be experiencing, from chronic conditions to traumatic events. The price of an MRI can range depending on location, facility, body part, and insurance status.

Many insurance companies often do not cover MRI unless you have an order from a medical provider and have hit your annual deductible. It is wise to shop for the lowest-price MRI scan if you have insurance but yet to hit your deductible this year.

The Cost of an MRI

The cost of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) typically ranges between $375 to $2,850 in the United States, while the national average is $1,325. Below you can find the average costs compared to national averages and the overall target fair price.

  • National Average: $1,325
  • National Range: $375-$2,850
  • Target Fair Price: $750

The Cost of an MRI by City

Below is a breakdown of the typical range of an endoscopy procedure by city within the United States

LocationCost without insurance
Atlanta, GA$550 - $1,400
Chicago, IL$575 - $1,500
Dallas, TX$500 - $1,300
Houston, TX$525 - $1,400
Miami, FL$550 - $1,450
Los Angeles, CA$460 - $1,200
Philadelphia, PA$575 - $1,500
New York, NY$625 - $1,600
Washington, DC$550 - $1,400
Phoenix, AZ$525 - $1,350

Source: New Choice Health

The National Average of the Cost of an MRI by Procedure

The cost of an MRI varies by city and where the MRI is taking place on the body. Below is a comparison of the national averages of MRI by the procedure.

ProcedurePrice Range
General MRI$400 - $5,700
Brain MRI$1,600 - $8,400
Neck MRI$500 - $11,800
Chest MRI$500 - $7,900
Breast MRI$500 - $10,300
Abdominal MRI$1,600 - $7,600
Cervical Spine MRI$1,400 - $7,600
Pelvic MRI$500 - $7,900
Upper Extremity MRI (shoulder, arm, wrist, hand)$1,050 - $7,000
Lower Extremity MRI (foot, ankle, leg, hip)$975 - $6,300
Head MRI$410 - $6,100
Cardiac MRI$430 - $6,500
Bone MRI$410 - $2,100

Source: New Choice Health

Factors that Influence the Cost of MRI

Many factors can affect the cost of your health services. For an MRI procedure, prices vary depending on where the MRI is taking place on your body. Additional factors that influence the cost of MRI include the facility setting, whether you have insurance, and your location.

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Facility

As previously discussed, where you receive your procedure can influence the costs. MRIs are more expensive at inpatient facilities, such as hospitals than at outpatient facilities. Inpatient procedures are often more costly because these facilities require a more significant expense to maintain and may require additional supplies and services due to extended stays.

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Insurance Status

MRIs are typically covered by insurance, as they are considered a diagnostic test, but only when the procedure is deemed medically necessary. If your deductible has been met, you can expect to cover the copay.

Location

The location where you live can impact the cost you can expect to pay for an MRI procedure. The region, state, and city you live in will determine the number of facilities you have to choose from. If you live in a more rural location, you may have fewer MRI facilities to choose from, increasing your costs. In a city with many facilities with many providers to choose from, you are more likely to find lower-cost options.

MRI Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Below we have answered a few frequently asked questions to help you better understand MRI procedures.

What is an MRI?

A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine is a large, tube-shaped magnet that uses a magnetic field and computer-generated radio waves to form detailed images of the organs and tissues in your body. These machines can also produce 3D images for viewing at different angles. Patients undergoing this procedure will lay down inside the MRI tube.

Why and when do doctors recommend MRI?

According to the Mayo Clinic, doctors use MRIs to help diagnose various problems within the body. As the table above discussed, the costs can vary depending on where the procedure and the need for diagnosis are taking place. Since MRIs can diagnose complications through the entire body, below is a list of common diagnoses for the various types of procedures:

  • Brain and spinal cord: aneurysms, eye, and ear disorders, multiple sclerosis, stroke, tumors, traumatic brain injury
  • Heart and blood vessels: size and function of heart chambers, the extent of damage from heart attacks or heart disease, inflammation or blockages of blood vessels, structural problems of the aorta
  • Bones and joints: joint abnormalities from trauma or repetitive use, spinal disk abnormalities, bone infections, tumors of the bones and soft tissues

Another type of MRI is called the functional MRI of the brain, which is used to examine the brain’s anatomy to determine where critical functions occur. FMRI can identify and assess damage from injury or disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease by viewing the language and movement control centers within the brain.

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What should I expect during an MRI?

Before entering the MRI machine, you will be asked to change into a gown to reduce any possibility of an external object that could impact the magnetic imaging, such as metal accessories. For example, you would be asked to remove jewelry, metal hair clips, watches, eyeglasses, hearing aids, underwire bras, and any cosmetics that may contain metal particles. To improve your MRI images, your MRI technologist may suggest a contrasting agent injected into a vein, such as gadolinium.

During the test, you will lay down on an open and moveable end of the MRI tube, then slide you into the machine. You often wear headphones and a microphone as the technologist watches from another room for their safety.

If you typically feel anxious in tight spaces, you could be provided medication to help you feel less nervous, but most can manage without. If you are sedated due to claustrophobia, you should ensure you have someone to drive you home when done. These procedures are painless and typically last anywhere from 15 minutes to 1 hour, but you are expecting to remain still to not impact the resolution of the imaging. Depending on the MRI, you may be asked to perform certain tasks, such as in an fMRI to pinpoint the areas of the brain controlling the action. Once complete, you may resume your usual activities unless directed by your doctor otherwise.

Are there any risks associated with getting an MRI?

The MRI machine contains powerful magnets and can cause a safety hazard if presented with iron-containing objects in your body internally and externally. Before getting an MRI, you will determine whether you are eligible by answering a brief questionnaire about your medical history. Items that may create a health hazard during the procedure include:

  • Cardiac pacemakers or implantable defibrillators (ICDs)
  • Vascular clips
  • External or implanted medication pumps
  • Cochlear implants
  • Neurostimulation systems
  • Catheters with metal components
  • Bullets or shrapnel, or other fragments
  • Metallic foreign body near or within the eye (more common in metal workers)

Diagnostic Radiologist Dr. Ben E. Paxton says that you should even remove your credit card and leave it outside the room. The large magnet of an MRI can easily corrupt information stored, as credit cards are magnetically encoded.

If you have any of these objects, you will want to speak with your doctor before undergoing the procedure. Some types of cardiac pacemakers, cochlear implants, medication pumps, and neurostimulation systems are safe, so you must provide your MRI technologist with information regarding your implants.

Who should avoid getting an MRI?

Those with metal implant devices, staples, or some tattoos with metal ink may require you to opt for another test. According to Dr. Paxton, those with kidney problems may have gadolinium contrast. The dye can cause nephrogenic fibrosis in people with kidney disease - thickening and hardening of tissue on the skin or joints.

Dr. Paxton also recommends that women who have recently become pregnant avoid MRIs during the first trimester while the organs and tissues are still developing. While MRIs do not cause harm to the baby as it grows up, they can raise the body’s temperature.

Bottom Line

The costs of MRI exams can vary depending on location, facility, and where the imaging is performed on the body. You will be expected to meet your deductible if you have insurance before your insurance kicks in for payment. Otherwise, you will be expected to pay out-of-pocket. While the national average range for these procedures is $375 to $2,850, a neck MRI or even a chest MRI may cost you upwards of $10,000.

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FAQs

How Much Does an MRI Cost Without Insurance in 2022? | Mira? ›

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can cost between $375 to $2,850 due to several varying costs of the procedure. MRI procedures can be done for nearly every body part to help diagnose issues you may be experiencing, from chronic conditions to traumatic events.

How much does an MRI cost without insurance USA? ›

The average cost for an MRI in the U.S. is a little over $1,300. Patients without insurance or whose insurance comes with a high deductible can expect to pay up to $5,000. Even with insurance, MRIs typically run between $500 and $1,000.

How much is an MRI in Florida without insurance? ›

MRI scan costs in Florida

An MRI in Florida can cost anywhere between $641-$6,570 based on the analysis of 250 medical providers who perform them. Patients paying cash can pay as little as $250-$725 for an MRI scan.

How much is an MRI without insurance in New York? ›

A MRI in New York costs $1,193 on average when you take the median of the 364 medical providers who perform MRI procedures in New York, NY. The least expensive MRI in New York is $490 for a MRI Foot, Ankle, Leg, Hip (Lower Extremity) while the most expensive MRI list price is $1,800 for a Breast MRI (One Breast).

What is the average cost of a lower back MRI? ›

Why are MRI so expensive? ›

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is possible only because of some very advanced technology and the skills of some highly-trained specialists. An MRI is much more complex than an X-ray or CT scan, for example, and there are some built-in reasons why MRIs will always be more expensive than other imaging techniques.

What is the cost of MRI scan? ›

The National Average of the Cost of an MRI by Procedure
ProcedurePrice Range
General MRI$400 - $5,700
Brain MRI$1,600 - $8,400
Neck MRI$500 - $11,800
Chest MRI$500 - $7,900
9 more rows
Apr 17, 2022

How long does an MRI take? ›

A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan is a painless procedure that lasts 15 to 90 minutes, depending on the size of the area being scanned and the number of images being taken.

What does an MRI detect? ›

1). MRI can be used to detect brain tumors, traumatic brain injury, developmental anomalies, multiple sclerosis, stroke, dementia, infection, and the causes of headache.

Is MRI more detailed than CT? ›

Both MRIs and CT scans can view internal body structures. However, a CT scan is faster and can provide pictures of tissues, organs, and skeletal structure. An MRI is highly adept at capturing images that help doctors determine if there are abnormal tissues within the body. MRIs are more detailed in their images.

Can you be put to sleep for an MRI? ›

Generally, MRIs under anesthesia are performed under sedation, although sometimes they are performed under general anesthesia. Sedation is characterized as being in a state between relaxed and very sleepy, but not quite unconscious.

Is MRI with contrast more expensive? ›

An MRI scan with contrast also costs more. Body area being scanned: MRI prices can also vary based on body parts. For example, a brain scan may cost more than a knee scan, as it requires a more detailed analysis from a specialized doctor.

Is MRI scan covered by insurance? ›

Yes, health insurance covers the cost of all diagnostic tests including X-rays, MRIs, blood tests, and so on as long they are associated with the patient's stay in the hospital for at least one night.

What can an MRI show for back pain? ›

An MRI scan of your back will show images of wear and tear on the spine and other bones of your back, along with muscles, ligaments, and other soft tissues in the area. However, it is normal to see signs of damage to structures and tissues of the back, particularly among older adults.

How long does a full spine MRI take? ›

Expect the whole spine MRI scan to last between 30 and 60 minutes.

What can a lumbar MRI detect? ›

detect abnormalities of vertebrae or the spinal cord. check for a lumbar disk herniation, which can lead to leg pain. evaluate any inflammation of the spinal cord or nerves. check for tumors on or around the spinal cord.

Which is more expensive MRI or CT? ›

Cost: CT scans are almost half the price of MRIs. The average computed tomography scan costs around $1,200 while an MRI is about $2,000. Speed: CT scans take much less time than MRIs. The exact time required depends on whether you need a contrast dye for the procedure, but MRIs always require more time for the scan.

Is MRI harmful? ›

Risks of the Procedure

Because radiation is not used, there is no risk of exposure to radiation during an MRI procedure. However, due to the use of the strong magnet, MRI cannot be performed on patients with: Implanted pacemakers. Intracranial aneurysm clips.

How many MRI scans can be done in a day? ›

With the new procedures in place, the average number of daily MRI scans increased from 17 under the old procedures to an average of 22.5 MRI exams per day. Based on a 268-day time period, the number of MRI scans increased from 4,650 prior to the changes to 6,049 under the new processes, an increase of 1,399 exams.

How much does an MRI cost without insurance Washington State? ›

MRI cost Washington

MRI scan costs in Washington between $250 - $5688 based on analysis of 3 medical providers who perform MRI scans in Washington. Self-pay patients pay as little as $250 while high-deductible patients pay between $2414 - $5688 for the MRI scan.

How much is an MRI without insurance in Arizona? ›

MRI cost Arizona

MRI scan costs in Arizona between $250 - $16472 based on analysis of 83 medical providers who perform MRI scans in Arizona. Self-pay patients pay as little as $250 while high-deductible patients pay between $1549 - $16472 for the MRI scan. Find out how you can negotiate the best rate for your scan.

How much does an MRI cost without insurance in Ohio? ›

MRI cost Ohio

MRI scan costs in Ohio between $250 - $13500 based on analysis of 74 medical providers who perform MRI scans in Ohio. Self-pay patients pay as little as $250 while high-deductible patients pay between $1870 - $13500 for the MRI scan.

Is MRI more detailed than CT? ›

Both MRIs and CT scans can view internal body structures. However, a CT scan is faster and can provide pictures of tissues, organs, and skeletal structure. An MRI is highly adept at capturing images that help doctors determine if there are abnormal tissues within the body. MRIs are more detailed in their images.

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