According to a report published by the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), in 2017, it was estimated that around 39 to 40 million MRI scans were performed in the United States. But when we talk about high priced medical procedures, MRI scans are one which often makes their way into the conversation about healthcare costs. There are different types of MRI machines (such as Open MRI, 3T MRI, etc.) and different procedures which result in varying costs. But in general, Preferred Imaging Centers fees for a plain MRI is only $325 which includes radiology reading and images provided on a CD ROM. Its important to note that for patients with no health insurance or who have a high deductible, we offer discounted self pay prices which average around 70% less than what most hospitals charge. In fact, most of our patients find our self pay prices very reasonable.

Many people criticize the medical practitioners and hospital owners for charging so much but there are reasons which drive these higher MRI costs.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging is a highly specialized and sophisticated piece of machinery. There are only five companies who make these advanced and technologically complex machines. There are different types of MRI machines and intensities vary. A normal MRI machine has the magnetic field strength of about 0.2 – 0.3 teslas and the cost to purchase on starts at around $150,000 and if we move to the ones which have more magnetic field strength, it can cost you for a large sum of $1 million or more. Then if we move to the highest powered state of the art MRI machine with a magnetic field strength of 3 teslas, it costs you for $3 million grand! Now, why are these so expensive?

The room made for MRI machines

It is not as easy is as just buy and place, MRI rooms are called MRI suites and are made especially for the procedure. It requires a lot of space costing you extra hundreds and thousands of dollars and you must also ensure that the room is such that it keeps all others safe from the magnetic fields that are outside of the room.

Other than this it requires another room away from the one with the machine so that the computer can be kept away from the magnetic field strength. Intercoms and other safety precautions such as emergency switched again cost you extra dollars. There are so many costs involved such as installation and maintenance costs which brings your bill to an easy $5 million and here’s the thing, the story does not end here.

The Doctors and Hospitals

The bad thing about this procedure is that many studies show that medical centers and doctors can charge you whatever they wish to charge you. The costs can vary from 350 dollars up to as high as $13,259 dollars in some hospitals and clinics. This difference is highly unethical and it is dependent on the place you get it done from. Other than this, there can be other costs involved. Your physician might tell you to get a can the scan done with or without contrast dye or even both! This will cost you for two MRI scans like one was not expensive enough. The dye itself will be a separate expense as it is a specialized paramagnetic dye which is used to enhance the images of abnormalities so that they are seen clearly.

They also might charge you for the additional reading of the MRI cost by the radiologist again raising your bill. If there are certain sedatives involved for people who are claustrophobic or children, these will also cost you additionally. So you are basically paying for the machine, the procedure, the reading and the dye which will raise your MRI scan price to a sky-high limit.

So to sum it up they will bundle charge you which itself is an error in medical centers so one must always check all the thing they have charged you wish to avoid any errors and overpaying.

Bottom line

Why are MRIs so expensive?

Our MRI scan cost is very competitive and often lower than our competition. There is no alternative or cheap alternative to an MRI scan which can make it very difficult for poor people to get diagnosed correctly as not everyone can afford such high costs. Medical centers and doctors should come up with ways to make this procedure less pricey or at least compensate the less fortunate.

Why are MRIs so expensive?

MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) is a complex medical technology that requires a significant investment to purchase, install and maintain. There are several reasons that contribute to the high cost of MRI:

1. High equipment cost: MRI machines are expensive. The cost of an MRI machine varies widely depending on the brand, type, and strength of the machine, but can easily exceed several million dollars.

2. Expensive maintenance: Maintaining an MRI machine requires specialized technicians who are trained to operate and fix these complex machines, and the cost of maintenance can be significant.

3. High operating costs: MRIs consume a lot of electricity and require a high-performance cooling system, adding to the overall operating cost.

4. High cost of materials: MRI machines require a large amount of expensive materials, including superconducting wire, powerful magnets, and helium.

5. Cost of training: Radiologists require specialized training to operate the equipment and interpret the images, which adds to the overall cost.

6. Insurance reimbursement: The reimbursement rates from insurers are often lower than the cost of providing the service, which can lead to higher prices for patients who don’t have insurance.

The high cost of MRI equipment and its maintenance, along with the specialized training required to operate and interpret the images, contributes to the high cost of MRI. However, it’s important to note that, despite the high cost, MRI is a valuable diagnostic tool that offers many benefits to patients.

Is the Cost of an MRI scan worth it?

The  advanced technology of these sophisticated machines save lives. Perhaps even yours! What’s that worth to you? What is the value of having an MRI scan which could save your life?

Preferred Imaging Centers has multiple convenient locations in and around Chicago. We currently operate  9 MRI machines in total. Our Kedzie and Orland Park locations each have 2 MRI units –  a High Field and an Open MRI.



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