How much does an MRI cost?
An MRI could range from $0 up to $500, depending on your patient status and particular medical condition.
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Undergoing a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan can be a daunting experience, but this painless test is an important diagnostic tool used to help investigate a wide range of conditions and ailments that can be, depending on the circumstances, covered by both Medicare or health insurance.
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How much does an MRI cost?
Although the total cost of an MRI scan varies depending on the part of the body being imaged, costs generally range from $100 to $500. This is much better than in many overseas countries, where this procedure can cost several thousands of dollars.
The good news is that both Medicare and Australian health funds (in some cases) can pay towards the cost of the MRI scan. They do so in the following ways:
- Public patient in a public hospital (no health insurance). Medicare covers 100% of the cost.
- Private patient in a public hospital. Medicare covers 75% with the remaining “gap” covered by the health fund.
- Private patient in a private hospital. Medicare once again covers 75% with the remainder paid by the health fund.
- Out of hospital MRI scan with specialist referral. Medicare covers 85% of the cost.
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.
Take a closer look at health insurance and MRI scans
What medical issues have MRI scans covered by Medicare?
The Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) lists item numbers (conditions) for which benefits can be claimed. The reason there are multiple item numbers for the same condition is due to one scan being more comprehensive than the other, which is also why there is a difference in the fee charged.
|Item number||Purpose of the scan||Fee charged||Medicare benefit|
|Head scan for a patient 16 years or older to investigate:||$403.20|
|Spinal scan for a patient 16 years or older for suspected cervical radiculopathy||$358.40|
|Spinal scan for a patient 16 years or older for suspected cervical spine trauma||$492.80|
|Knee scan for a patient 16 years or older following acute knee trauma with:||$403.20|
|Head scan for a patient under 16 years for any of the following:||$403.20|
|Spinal scan for a patient under 16 years following radiographic examination for:||$448.00|
|Knee scan for a patient under 16 years following radiographic examination for internal joint derangement||$403.20|
|Hip scan for a patient under 16 years following radiographic examination for:||$403.20|
|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|
|Wrist scan for a patient under 16 years following radiographic examination where scaphoid fracture is suspected||$448.00|
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