How Much Does An MRI Cost Without Insurance?

Looking for MRI costs without insurance? Get insights into the average price range and factors that affect it, and learn how to save money on your MRI scan.

Magnetic resonance imaging, ordinarily called just MRI, is the best thing to exist in the field of medicine and science. With the help of some strong magnetic fields, an MRI machine can plot the hard and soft tissues of a human body. Normally it does as such by making the water in your organs produce low-level radio waves, which the machine gets and uses to make a 3-D picture of an organ or body part being checked.

MRI machines have become a fundamental piece of modern medication. They are utilized by specialists to analyze malignancy, issues of the sensory system and neurological issues, and joints, just to name a few. However, they aren’t modest. The materials engaged with building an MRI machine, also the measure of vitality and staff expected to run one, get costly.

There are many cases where a doctor can recommend you get an MRI. However, what should you do if you do not have insurance? We have collected all important information for you to help you in such a case. So, what are you waiting for? Give this article a thorough read to find out all the costs of an MRI without insurance and what you can do in case you are not covered. Let us dive right in.

What’s the cost of an MRI without insurance?

cost of mri without insurance
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An MRI scan is one of the most costly methods in the medical field. What is more difficult is that the expense of an MRI scan can change generally. A normal MRI costs $2,600 without insurance. However, that bill can soar contingent upon conditions, area, medical clinic, and the specific output that your primary care physician runs. A few hospitals and clinics may charge as meager as $400 to $600 to run an MRI. In different conditions, the cost of even just one MRI scan can surpass $13,000.

Why is an MRI so expensive?

mri is expensive
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MRI machines are expensive, with even low-power machines costing over $1 million and high-end machines costing over $3 million. Along with the price of machinery, there are a lot of other factors that are also responsible for the soaring MRI costs. We have listed some of them below:

  • High-tech equipment:

    MRI machines are a sophisticated medical technology that uses strong magnets and radio waves to produce detailed body images. These machines are expensive to manufacture, maintain, and upgrade, requiring specialized technicians to operate and interpret the results.

  • Overhead charges:

    Hospitals and clinics that offer MRI services have to cover various overhead costs, such as rent, utilities, insurance, staff salaries, and supplies. These charges can be high, especially for larger facilities or urban areas with high living expenses.

  • Emergency care:

    Some hospitals that offer MRI services also have emergency departments that are required to treat all patients regardless of their ability to pay. This means that uncompensated care costs can be passed on to insured patients through higher prices.

  • Insurance reimbursement:

    MRI providers negotiate rates with insurance companies, which can vary depending on the type of insurance and the region. Providers may charge higher prices to offset the lower reimbursement rates they receive from some insurers or government programs like Medicare or Medicaid.

  • Research and development:

    Some MRI providers invest in research and development to improve the quality of their services or develop new techniques. These costs may not be directly related to individual patients’ scans, but they can contribute to the overall price of MRI services.

  • The cost of operating the machine:

    An MRI machine is likewise costly. It takes a ton of vitality to run, and relying upon the scan, a specialist may arrange what’s known as “contrast dye.” This actively responsive fluid enables certain components to hang out in the last picture and can put many dollars on the bill.

  • Specialist charges:

    The hour of the specialists and experts includes hundreds and thousands of dollars in the final bill. An expert technician must run the output, and a radiologist must oversee it and decipher the outcomes.

It’s important to note that the cost of an MRI can vary widely depending on the location, provider, and specific scan needed. Some patients may be able to find lower prices by shopping around, asking for cash discounts, or negotiating with their insurance company. However, it’s also important to prioritize quality and safety when choosing an MRI provider, as cheaper options may not always provide the same expertise or equipment.

How to get an MRI?

Before undergoing an MRI scan, ensure you maintain your regular diet and continue taking prescribed medications unless advised otherwise. Upon arrival, you’ll be instructed to change into a medical gown and remove any items that could interfere with the magnetic imaging process, such as:

  • Jewelry
  • Hairpins
  • Eyeglasses
  • Watches
  • Wigs
  • Dentures
  • Hearing aids
  • Underwire bras
  • Cosmetics containing metal particles

The MRI machine resembles a long, narrow cylinder with open ends. You’ll lie on a movable table that slides into the cylinder. A technologist will monitor you from an adjacent room, communicating with you via a microphone. If you experience claustrophobia or anxiety in confined spaces, medication may be provided to help you relax. However, most individuals can tolerate the procedure without issue.

Once inside the MRI machine, a strong magnetic field surrounds you, while radio waves are directed at your body. The process is painless, with no sensation of the magnetic field or radio waves. However, you will hear repetitive tapping, banging, and other noises from inside the magnet. Earplugs or music may be provided to minimize discomfort. Occasionally, a contrast material like gadolinium is injected through an IV line to enhance certain details in the images. While rare, allergic reactions to gadolinium can occur.

The duration of an MRI scan can range from 15 minutes to over an hour. It’s crucial to remain still during the scan to ensure clear images. In functional MRI scans, you may be asked to perform simple tasks like tapping your thumb or rubbing sandpaper to identify specific brain functions. Following the scan, if you haven’t been sedated, you can resume your normal activities.

After the images are captured, a radiologist specialized in interpreting MRIs will analyze them and provide a report to your physician. Your doctor will then discuss any significant findings and next steps with you.

“If you’re going for your first MRI scan, it’s natural to feel anxious or uncertain about what to expect. This informative video provides a step-by-step guide to help you understand the MRI process, from preparation to the actual scan. You’ll learn about the equipment used, the length of the procedure, and any potential risks or discomfort you may experience. Whether you’re getting an MRI for diagnostic or monitoring purposes, this video will help ease your concerns and make your experience as comfortable as possible.”

Types of MRIs

Not all MRIs are equivalent to each other. The type of MRI that is advised by the doctor relies upon a patient’s needs. While costs do shift contingent upon the part of the body getting the MRI scan and MRI head cost, the expense is most extraordinarily affected by geographic area, just as the center where the scan is taking place. By and large, MRIs extend in cost from $400 to $3,500. Probably the most well-known MRI checks include:

Head MRI:

Head MRI
Image Source: MRI Scan

Scan of the mind and nerve tissues. It is most usually used to recognize and analyze neurological conditions.

Spinal MRI:

Scan centers around specific regions of the spine to recognize wounds, nerve harm and tumors.

Spinal mri
Image Source: Spinal MRI

A spinal MRI typically takes 30-60 minutes. During the test, you will lie on a table that slides into the MRI machine. You will need to stay still during the test, as movement can blur the images.

The cost of a spine MRI can vary depending on the facility, but it is typically around $1,000-$3,000. Some insurance companies may cover the cost of the test if it is deemed medically necessary.

Cardiovascular MRI: Scan of the heart and significant veins to evaluate heart wellbeing and capacity. Pictures in a heart MRI can be still or moving.

Cardiovascular MRI
Image Source: Cardiovascular MRI

The cost of a cardiovascular MRI can vary depending on the facility, but it is typically around $1,000-$3,000. Some insurance companies may cover the cost of the test if it is deemed medically necessary.

Pelvic MRI:

Scan of the region of the body close to the hip bones. Notwithstanding the pelvic bones, the sweep additionally shows pictures of the bladder, lymph hubs and reproductive organs.

Pelvic mri
Image Source: Canva

Experts perform MRIs on different areas of the body also, including knees, lower legs and wrists. These are regularly more affordable than MRI outputs of internal organs. It is likewise regular for patients to require a full-body MRI, which can be both tedious and costly.

The cost of a pelvic MRI can vary depending on the facility, but it is typically around $1,000-$3,000. Some insurance companies may cover the cost of the test if it is deemed medically necessary. MRI is generally safe and does not pose any major health risks. However, some people may

Does your location affect the cost of an MRI?

location wise mri cost
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The cost of an MRI can vary based on your state and where you get the MRI. Independent facilities specializing in imaging tend to be cheaper than hospitals or clinics, which have more overhead costs. If the hospital has an emergency center, the cost can also increase.

Private or independent centers usually only see patients with coverage or those who can pay out of pocket, so they don’t need to inflate prices to cover unpaid bills. To save money, it may be beneficial to go to an independent facility and look for facilities that offer cash discounts or payment plans. Below we have given a breakdown of how the costs of an MRI differ from city to city in the US.

Location Cost without insurance
Atlanta, GA $550-$1400
Chicago, IL $575-$1500
Dallas, TX $500-$1300
Houston, TX $525-$1400
Miami, FL $550-$1450
Los Angeles, CA $460-$1200
Philadelphia, PA $575-$1500
Phoenix, AZ $525-$1350
New York, NY $626-$1600
Washington, DC $550-$1400

How to get a cheap MRI without insurance?

MRI scans can distinguish an immense scope of medical problems, and if your doctor has suggested an MRI, you ought to get one. Tragically, however, these tests can be costly. In case you’re stressed over the expense of an MRI, here are a few things you could do that might help you save a few bucks.

Do not go to the Emergency Room.

In the event that is conceivable, don’t get your MRI in a trauma center. Crisis offices are infamous for being the most costly aspect of the clinic to run. These divisions need to look after staff, hardware, and framework on a day-in and day-out premise which can be costly all alone. However,they are likewise legitimately needed to treat all patients, whether or not or not they have protection. Subsequently, trauma centers stall out with a ton of unpaid bills, and to cover those misfortunes, they need to build their different costs.

Go to a Freestanding Imaging Clinic.

Preferably, to keep the expense of your MRI as low as could reasonably be expected, you should go to a detached facility. These offices frequently don’t have the bartering intensity of enormous clinics. Accordingly, they need to charge rates that safety net providers will pay, and frequently, their rates are directed by Medicare, which assists with keeping them low.

Past that, these focuses utilize their imaging hardware all day consistently. That implies that there are more patients to pay, and the imaging community can spread the expenses for hardware support and upkeep between a few patients. Interestingly, if a trauma center or an emergency clinic just uses their gear on occasion, they need to spread the expenses between only a small bunch of patients. That drives up costs.

How much is the copay for an MRI?

Magnetic resonance imaging utilizes an intense magnetic field and radio waves to make pictures of the body. MRI scans are utilized to distinguish anomalies, contaminations, wounds, tumors and other clinical issues. At times, the results from an MRI can deliver even more clear pictures than an X-ray or CT scan. Most MRIs are normally secured by health care coverage when considered therapeutically fundamental. In the event that deductibles are met, common out of pocket charges comprise copays of $20-$100 for the doctor’s visit and for the entire process.

Can I get an MRI scan without a referral?

Like conventional imaging places your primary care physician can arrange the output and get the outcomes legitimately in the event that you like, yet you can likewise arrange the MRI filter yourself by booking your own Private MRI scan without doctor’s recommendation and see a specialist if the assessment is anomalous. On the off chance that you do require a specialist we can assist you with finding the correct proficient-at-help treat your indications.

Notwithstanding, some imaging habitats require a physician’s instruction before they can plan your MRI. Hence, you can explore different online websites where you can get a referral from a specialist who will survey your case and afterward send the request if clinically suitable.

What is an MRI scan used for?

Below are the examples given of situations in which an MRI scanner would be utilized:

  • Any abnormality of the brain and spinal cord.
  • Tumors, cysts, or other abnormalities.
  • Breast cancer screening.
  • Any anomaly shoulder MRI or injury of the joints, such as the back and knee.
  • Certain types of heart problems.
  • Liver disease or any problems in any other abdominal organs.
  • The analysis of pelvic pain in women, such as fibroids and endometriosis.
  • Suspected uterine irregularities in ladies going through assessment for infertility.

How much does an MRI for different body parts cost?

The cost for an MRI scan depends on various factors such as the specific parts of the body that are receiving the scan like, CT chest scan cost (MRI brain cost, cost of Head MRI scan, cost of Spinal MRI, etc.), the type of approach that is administered; plain or contrast.

Here is a list of the MRI costs MRI scan rates and MRI prices of different organs and body parts:

Body parts and Organs  MRI Prices
Brain MRI $1600 – $8400
Pelvis MRI $500 – $7900
Chest/ Thorax MRI $500 – $7900
Shoulder MRI $1050 – $7000
Neck MRI $500 – $11800
Whole Spine MRI $1000 – $5000
Abdomen MRI $1600 – $7600

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

frequesntly asked questions
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Below we have answered a few frequently asked questions to help you better understand MRI procedures.

What is an MRI?

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a medical imaging technique that uses magnetic fields and radio waves to produce detailed images of the body.

MRI is used to diagnose a variety of conditions, including cancers, cardiovascular disease, and neurological disorders. It is also used to examine the body for signs of injury or disease.

Why and when do doctors recommend MRI?

MRI is recommended for a variety of reasons. It can be used to diagnose conditions, track the progression of diseases, and evaluate the effectiveness of treatments.

MRI is often recommended when other imaging tests, such as X-rays or CT scans, do not provide enough information. MRI may also be recommended if a condition is suspected to be present, but its location is unknown.

When MRI is used?

MRI is used to diagnose a variety of conditions, including:

Cancers: MRI can be used to detect tumors and determine their size, shape, and location.

Cardiovascular disease: MRI can be used to assess the health of the heart and major

Who should avoid getting an MRI Scan?

People with certain medical implants, such as pacemakers, may not be able to have an MRI. Pregnant women and young children may also need to avoid MRI due to the potential risks.

What are the risks of MRI?

MRI is generally safe and does not pose any major health risks. However, some people may experience claustrophobia or anxiety during the test. Additionally, people with certain medical implants, such as pacemakers, may not be able to have an MRI. Pregnant women and young children may also need to avoid MRIs due to the potential risks.


Understanding the price of an MRI without insurance empowers you to make informed decisions about your healthcare expenses. Don’t delay—take charge of your health and schedule your MRI today. By knowing the costs upfront, you can plan ahead and prioritize your well-being without any financial surprises. So, seize the moment and invest in your health by getting the necessary medical attention you need. Take action now to ensure a healthier future for yourself.

Tony Bennett

Tony Bennett

Tony Benett makes his living in the insurance industry by teaching and consulting. He is also recognized by the legal profession as an expert on insurance coverages. His insurance experience includes having worked at the company level, owned an independent general agency and having worked for an insurance association. He has received various certificates over the past few years and helps his clients and readers by giving them a realistic outlook on what they can expect to achieve within their set targets. At Insurance Noon, he is known for his in-depth analysis and attention to details with accuracy. He has been published as one of the most referred agents by his peers in the insurance community. Tony loves the outdoors and most sport events. His passion other than providing excellent advice is playing golf.