How Much Does an MRI Cost without Insurance?

How Much Does an MRI Cost without Insurance – Overview

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is an effective, non-invasive imaging device. An MRI device uses powerful magnets and radio waves to produce high-resolution 3D images of the inside of your body.

A doctor may recommend an MRI scan to detect and diagnose diseases and also to monitor treatment progress.

It is estimated that over 36 million MRI procedures are performed in the United States every year. The overall cost of an MRI varies greatly, depending on the location, health insurance coverage, and the body part being scanned.

What Affects the Cost of an MRI Scan?

How Much Does an MRI Cost without Insurance

How Much Does an MRI Cost without Insurance – What Affects the Cost of an MRI Scan?

Several factors affect the price of MRI tests. These include:

#1. Type of health insurance – Depending on your specific policy’s benefits, the cost of an MRI test can vary from a fixed copay to a percentage of the overall bill.

#2. Network or outside – Providers within your insurance network can only charge the contracted rate as determined by the insurance provider. This rate is usually lower than the average cost of an MRI test.

#3. Type of MRI – Doing an open MRI is cheaper than a closed MRI test. An MRI scan without contrast is usually less expensive than an MRI with contrast.

#4. Targeted body area – MRI prices can also vary according to the different parts of your body that are scanned. For instance, the cost difference between brain MRIs and knee MRIs is often due to the complexity and time required for the scan rather than the need for more detailed analysis by a specialist.

#5. Location – The city, state, and area of the country where you get an MRI test also affect the final cost of the scan.

#6. Sedatives – besides this, claustrophobic patients may need to be administered an anesthetic to prevent discomfort during the scan. This can also add significantly to the overall cost of an MRI scan.

#7. Radiologist reading – You may have to pay extra for a radiologist to review and interpret the results of the MRI test.

What Is the Average Cost of an MRI?

The average cost of an MRI scan in the United States can vary widely, often ranging from about $400 to $3,500 without insurance, depending on the body part being scanned and the location of the service. However, the actual price you have to pay may be as low as ‘no charge’ with the right insurance. In contrast, the average cost of an MRI scan can be as high as several thousand dollars without insurance.

The average cost of MRI scans tends to vary remarkably according to the part of your body that needs to be scanned. An MRI scan can be a head-to-toe or specifically target a certain body part, such as:

  • Arm
  • Abdomen
  • Breasts
  • Brain
  • Bones
  • Joints
  • Hips
  • Knees
  • Legs
  • Shoulders
  • Pelvis
  • Spinal cord

Here is a short breakdown of the average cost of an MRI scan to target a specific part of the body:

MRI Scan Cost Table:

MRI ProcedureGeneral Cost Range (Without Insurance)Provided Average Cost
Bone$400 - $3,500US$ 410 to US$ 2,100
Brain$1,000 - $5,000US$ 1,600 to US$ 8,400
Cervical Spine$1,000 - $5,000US$ 1,600 to US$ 8,400
Chest$500 - $3,000US$ 500 to US$ 7,900
Neck$1,000 - $4,000US$ 500 to US$ 11,800
Pelvis$500 - $3,000US$ 500 to US$ 7,900

You will also need to consider the overall cost of medications required for the MRI scan.

When your doctor recommends an MRI scan, inquire about the costs involved so you can determine the best, most affordable way to have the test done.

How Much Does MRI Cost Without Insurance?

The cost of an MRI scan without insurance can exceed $2,000, especially for scans of certain body parts or in certain locations, with some patients facing bills of several thousand dollars.

Insurance is one of the most important factors in determining the final cost of an MRI scan. People without insurance will have to bear the complete cost of the MRI test. This means that you will eventually end up paying the cost out of your pocket.

Fortunately, you can request your healthcare provider to reduce upfront costs through financial options, such as:

  • Discounts
  • Medical payment plans
  • Assistance programs

You may often receive two separate bills, one from the facility and another from the radiologist. The billing procedure will depend on your healthcare provider and the location you choose for the service. For instance, MRI scans in emergency rooms are usually more expensive than in other locations.

The cost of an MRI at a hospital ER can vary significantly, but it is generally higher than at an imaging center. The quoted cost of around $400 at an imaging center may represent a lower-end price, with actual costs potentially ranging higher based on the scan and location.


There are affordable options to choose from when you need to undergo an MRI scan without insurance. Make sure to consult with your healthcare provider for payment plans or discounts that you are eligible for.

Besides this, you can also compare the rates of different imaging centers near you and choose the most affordable one.

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