How much does an MRI cost and how to pay for it with accident insurance

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If you suffer an accidental injury, your doctor may order an MRI to examine your joints, tissues, or organs.

An MRI or magnetic resonance imaging is a painless way for doctors to see inside the body to help them diagnose problems. Unlike an X-ray, which is basically a snapshot, an MRI scanner uses magnets and radio waves to give doctors a detailed cross section of various parts of the body including organs.¹ These scanners can also produce 3-D images of the body’s systems, which can help doctors make more precise diagnoses and see potentially serious problems so that they can be treated before they become a serious medical crisis. Although they are considered standard diagnostic tools, the cost of having one can be significant, especially if your insurance doesn’t cover it.

MRI scan costs can add up

A typical MRI scan costs $2,600. But that bill can balloon up depending on your hospital, location, and the type of scan you need. Some facilities might charge as little as $400 or up to $13,000.²

MRIs can be expensive because the scanner alone can cost millions. While MRI scanners can be as low as $150,000, they can cost up to $3 million for a state-of-the-art machine.³ In addition, hospitals and clinics need a special room to hold the MRI scanner. Called an MRI suite, this room helps protect others from the scanner’s magnetic field. Some of the costs to buy the machine, suite, and medical personnel may be passed on to the patient.

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Your medical insurance may cover the cost of an MRI. If you have a high deductible medical insurance plan then you might have to pay the cost of the MRI out of pocket if it’s less than the cost of your deductible. 

If you need an MRI as part of your regular health care, you can shop around for a provider that may suit your budget. But if for example, you’re taken to an emergency room after an accident and you need an emergency MRI you won’t have the chance to shop around for the best price for you. 

What is accident insurance?

Accident insurance is a type of insurance that pays a cash benefit if you or a loved one has an accidental injury. Medical insurance won’t always cover all your expenses and it typically doesn’t cover the associated costs of an accident. Accident insurance helps with the unexpected expenses that come with an accidental injury that medical insurance may not fully cover. Multiple injury and treatment types may be covered under an accident insurance plan, including MRIs, X-rays, CT or CAT scans, and EEGs. In the event of an accident, if you need an MRI, chances are that you may also need urgent doctor care, an ambulance, or to stay in the hospital. Accident insurance provides a cash benefit to help cover many of the expenses related to an accidental injury.

Benefits paid are based on the type of injury, severity of the injury, and type of treatments you receive. Cash benefits for accident insurance can be used in any way you choose from paying for groceries to medical bills. Getting into an accident can be scary and can take a toll on your physical, emotional, and mental health. Dealing with the aftermath of medical bills and other unexpected expenses are even worse. On top of that, many people do not have medical insurance, and they may delay necessary treatment for fear of the costs. However, neglecting the care you need is never a good idea, especially after an accident. 

If you have traditional medical insurance, by supplementing it with accident insurance, this may give you the financial cushion that you need to get through the unexpected expenses resulting from an emergency or accident. It doesn’t replace your traditional medical insurance but it helps to handle the costs associated with an accident. 

How accident insurance works

Medical insurance may not be enough to help prevent your family from having financial hardship if you or they get into a serious accident. Accident insurance can help ensure that your family is financially protected from the impact of an accident. Even paying out of pocket for an MRI can be a financial hit when that MRI cost is likely to be expensive. Accident insurance provides the financial help you need in the event of an accident to ensure that you and your family help cover unexpected expenses from an accidental injury.

Brought to you by The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), New York, NY. Material discussed is meant for general illustration and/or informational purposes only and it is not to be construed as tax, legal, investment or medical advice.

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  1., 2018

  2., 2014

  3., 2014

Brought to you by The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), New York, NY. Material discussed is meant for general illustration and/or informational purposes only and it is not to be construed as tax, legal, investment or medical advice.(exp.08/22)