What you need to know
- MRI costs vary depending on whether the treatment is covered by Medicare.
- Medicare and private health insurance can cover MRI scans.
- While it can be expensive, an MRI is often completely free for many Australians.
Although the total cost of an MRI scan varies depending on the part of the body being imaged, costs generally range from $300 and $1,000.
Both Medicare and private health insurance (in some cases) can pay towards the cost of the MRI scan, so long as the type of MRI scan you're receiving is on Medicare Benefit Schedule (MBS) – meaning you're eligible for a rebate. The MRI machine must also be fully or partially licensed.
If you're treated in a public hospital as an inpatient and they bulk-bill, you might not have any out of pocket expenses.
To avoid out of pocket expenses, make sure you ask your doctor if you're entitled to a Medicare rebate.
Keep in mind that MRI scans are not a clinical category, they're a treatment type. If you need an MRI scan for a particular treatment, then your private health insurance will cover some of the costs if your policy covers that particular type of illness – for example, cancer.
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Health insurance can cover MRI scans, depending on your cover. Whether you are going the Medicare or health insurance route, always be sure to check that your treatment is covered or whether you will need to pay any upfront costs. Here are some of the ways these costs will be calculated:
To have your MRI scan covered by health insurance, you'll need hospital cover. Each hospital insurance tier will cover a different set of conditions, so you'll need to have a product that covers your particular issue to be covered.
Medicare will cover the cost of some MRI scans, depending on the reason for the scan. The Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) lists item numbers (conditions) for which benefits can be claimed. The table below lists the
|Item number||Purpose of the scan||Fee charged||Medicare benefit|
|63551||Head scan for a patient 16 years or older to investigate:||$403.20||75%: $302.40|
|63554||Spinal scan for a patient 16 years or older for suspected cervical radiculopathy||$358.40||75%: $268.80|
|63557||Spinal scan for a patient 16 years or older for suspected cervical spine trauma||$492.80||75%: $369.60|
|63560||Knee scan for a patient 16 years or older following acute knee trauma with:||$403.20||75%: $302.40|
|63507||Head scan for a patient under 16 years for any of the following:||$403.20||75%: $302.40|
|63510||Spinal scan for a patient under 16 years following radiographic examination for:||$448.00||75%: $336.00|
|63513||Knee scan for a patient under 16 years following radiographic examination for internal joint derangement||$403.20||75%: $302.40|
|63516||Hip scan for a patient under 16 years following radiographic examination for:||$403.20||75%: $302.40|
|63519||Elbow scan for a patient under 16 years following radiographic examination where a significant fracture or avulsion injury is suspected that will change management||$403.20||75%: $302.40|
|63522||Wrist scan for a patient under 16 years following radiographic examination where scaphoid fracture is suspected||$448.00||75%: $336.00|
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