How Much Does a Cardiac MRI Cost?
A cardiac MRI is a safe and painless method that is used to examine the formation of the heart and evaluate its performance. The method does not use the radiation process, but it instead uses a powerful magnetic field, radiofrequency waves, and a computer to produce detailed, cross-sectional images of the heart.
How much does it cost?
- On average, a cardiac MRI is going to range anywhere from $1,600 to as much as $5,300 depending on your geographical location, the facility and if health insurance is involved.
- If you have a health insurance policy, the majority of the costs will be covered; however, you will be responsible for co-pays and deductibles. For patients with insurance, a cardiac MRI procedure costs around $200 to $300. If contrast solution is used, the cost increases by $200.
- If you do not have a health insurance policy, consider looking for a plan via free comparison sites such as eHealthInsurance.com.
- According to Newchoicehealth.com, the national average price for a cardiac MRI procedure is $3,600. The national minimum price is $1,650 in Berwick, Pennsylvania, while the national maximum price is $5,600 in Bishop, California.
What is going to be included?
- During a cardiac MRI procedure, the patient is positioned on a movable examination table that slides into a scanning machine. Devices with coils that send and receive radio waves are usually placed on the chest. A respiratory gating belt, or a device that helps the computer monitor the patient’s breathing pattern, is positioned around the abdomen area. If needed, the patient will be given a contrast solution through an IV (intravenous) line to help make the images clearer. The patient is then moved inside the MRI unit and the imaging process begins. Once the examination is completed, the technologist checks the images in case more needs to be taken.
- The overall procedure can take 30 to 60 minutes, depending on the examination, the number and kind of images needed.
What are the extra costs?
- Many patients need a contrast solution when undergoing a cardiac MRI testing. A contrast solution is a type of special dye injected into the body to make the scans clearer and more distinguished. The solution costs about $100 to $300.
- Some patients may feel claustrophobic when placed inside a cardiac MRI machine and may need to be given a mild sedative, which can cost about $100 to $400.
- Once the MRI is done, the test results will be sent to the doctor for reading and analysis. The consultation that follows will cost extra.
Factors that influence the price:
- Location. A cardiac MRI can be done in different settings: in hospitals and ambulatory facilities. Most often, the cost of the procedure is more expensive when done in a hospital due to the use of hospital equipment as well as room and board. Ambulatory patient facilities often provide the least inexpensive options.
- Fees. Three of the main components that make up the price of a cardiac MRI procedure are the professional fees, facility fees and technical fees. Professional fees refer to the fees associated with the services of the radiologist or any medical expert who interprets the scans. Facility fees are those charged by the facility where the procedure is performed. Technical fees refer to the charges incurred when conducting the procedure.
- Insurance. The cost of a cardiac MRI is covered by insurance when a patient’s doctor recommends it and can cost $200 to $600. When an insured patient meets the requirements, the usual out-of-pocket expenses will include a copay for the medical visit and likely a copay for the MRI procedure. The cost of a cardiac MRI for an uninsured patient can reach up to $2,000.
Tips to know:
- Not all insurance carriers cover cardiac MRI examinations. Those who do often have varied coverage and rates. Be sure to ask your insurance provider before submitting to an evaluation.
- Discuss the charges associated with the imaging procedure with your doctor or medical facility personnel to get a clearer understanding of the parts covered by insurance as well as the other possible fees you will be required to pay.
- An MRI is not typically done on women who are less than 12 weeks pregnant.
- Compared with other types of imaging processes, MRI is considered very safe and has no known side effects to magnetic or radiofrequency waves.
How can I save money?
- Depending on geographic location, diagnostic imaging facilities may offer discounted prices for a cardiac MRI testing. The discounted rates are usually offered to self-paying individuals who use either cash or credit cards when paying for the examination.
- Ask different hospitals and imaging facilities for the cost of getting a cardiac MRI with them. Compare the rates offered and find the most affordable option.
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