How Much Does a Breast MRI Cost?
A breast MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is a non-invasive method to take images of the breasts. This procedure is usually used to diagnose breast cancer and is recommended for women who have a strong family history of breast or ovarian cancer. Compared with a mammography, another form of breast screening, a breast MRI can be a longer process and is usually more expensive.
How much does it cost?
- On average, without any sort of insurance, a breast MRI is going to cost anywhere from $1,200 to as much as $3,200.
- According to med.unc.edu in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, the cost of a breast MRI test is $1,000 or more. Patients without an insurance coverage for this particular screening may have to pay out-of-the-pocket for the procedure.
- According to Newchoicehealth.com, the national average price for an MRI of both breasts is $2,850. The national minimum price is $1,800 in Springfield, Massachusetts, while the national maximum price is $5,900 in Ketchikan, Arkansas.
- According to the Healthcarebluebook.com, a breast MRI procedure with or without contrast costs $1,271. The price includes the total amount for physician (interpretation) and technical (imaging) fees.
What is going to be included?
- A breast MRI uses a computer, a powerful magnetic field, and radio waves to produce three-dimensional images of the breasts.
- During a breast MRI procedure, the patient lies down on her stomach, with her breasts hanging freely into breast coils, which are openings in the device. The patient is then placed into the magnet of the MRI machine as the test is performed. During this period, the technologist leaves the area and monitors the patient from another room. The technologist uses a special microphone to communicate with the patient. The test includes sequences or multiple runs, which can last for several minutes. An intravenous line (IV) is attached to the patient and injected with an MRI contrast material after a number of scans. This allows the images to be clearer. Then, more series of images are taken as needed. After the test , the IV line is removed. In all, the procedure takes about 50 minutes to an hour.
What are the extra costs?
- A breast MRI procedure can result in more testing including breast biopsy, which can cost up to $1,000 to $2,000 per testing. This price depends on location where the procedure is done.
Factors that influence the price:
- Equipment. The foremost reason why an MRI is expensive is the equipment used for the procedure. According to CompareMRICost.com, the average MRI machine costs more than $1 million. Covering the cost of the machine is the reason that most centers charge a lot for an MRI.
- Location. Where the breast MRI is done significantly affects the overall price of the procedure. Some imaging centers charge up to five times more than other locations. The high rates are applicable to patients under insurance plans as well as those paying for the screening themselves.
- Fees. The overall cost of the procedure is affected by technical fees as well as professional fees. Technical charges refer to the cost involved in performing the procedure, while professional fees are charges associated with the services of a radiologist interpreting the result of the breast MRI test.
Tips to know:
- Not all insurance providers cover breast MRI screenings. Those who do cover the procedure require that strict criteria be met. Be sure to check with your provider about insurance coverage for the test and find out if it will be covered. To find a new policy, check out resources such as eHealthInsurance.com.
- Many testing centers require out-of-pocket deductible or co-payment be paid upon visit. Also, most hospitals and imaging centers accept different payment methods including cash, check, Visa, Discover, American Express and MasterCard credit cards.
- Medical tax credits may be offered to individuals who will be paying for the procedure on their own. The proper paperwork and receipt should be prepared when consulting with an accountant.
How can I save money?
- Some facilities offer up to 40% discount to uninsured patients who pay their discounted balance in full within 60 days of the MRI process.
- If you are uninsured, make sure to negotiate the price until you can get is as low as possible.
- If you are employed and are an active member of a group benefit program, you can arrange to have the MRI cost paid for under the program by the employer’s group insurance provider.
- Shop around for the best possible breast MRI procedure available. Check with different hospitals and imaging centers and compare the rates they offer.
- Compared with hospitals and medical centers, freestanding imaging facilities are often more agreeable to working out the cost of a breast MRI procedure.
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