How much does an MRI cost in Southern California? $300 or $1,945

Filed Under: Costs, Patients, Providers

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SUMMARY: How much does an MRI cost? And particularly, how much does an MRI cost in Southern California? Read more about our survey results, or…




Cash or self-pay prices for a lower-back MRI without contrast or dye (contrast or dye may be used for a fuller picture of a  patient’s tissues) range from $300 to $1,945 in Southern California.

For that same procedure — the price of an MRi in the New York area — we found fees ranging from $450 to $1,900.

One of our most commonly requested prices is the price of an MRI in the Los Angeles area. In our surveys, we collect prices for the lumbar back (lower back) and upper back (cervical spine). Different body parts have different prices, but this is one common procedure.

We’ve recently done a survey of California cash or self-pay prices, and here’s a page of our site with prices, from both the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas.

In northern New Jersey, we found cash or self-pay prices for that same procedure, an MRI of the lumbar spine without dye, had about the same low end ($350-$450) but the high end varies widely, $2,177 in New Jersey and over $6,000 in San Francisco.

Frequent readers know this is a topic we engage a lot. How much does an MRI cost in Washington? Here’s a blog post from The Washington Post’s Wonkblog, in which prices are given but not providers. (The range: $400- $1,861, but you can’t tell from this post who the providers are.)

In Lebanon, Ore., it’s $485. Here’s our blog post.

Here are some other online price lists and calculators, in our blog post about this topic.

And for further information on what we’ve found about MRI prices, click here for our blog posts “how much does an MRI cost,” Part 1 and Part 2.

So, how much does an MRI cost in California? Well, that depends.

  • Pamila Oyler Ross

    Now how much does an MRI cost in Mississippi?

  • Hi, I just used our search tool to find that Medicare will pay $380 for an MRI of the lower back in Mississippi. Go to the box at the top of the page, type MRI, choose 72148 MRI of the lower back w/o contrast, then pick Mississippi and hit “go”

    We do not yet have pricing surveys in all cities. Where we don’t have them, we can let you find what Medicare pays.

    People tell us that if they go to a provider and offer to pay the Medicare rate in cash up front, or Medicare plus 20 percent, often the provider accepts. (Hospitals are less likely to do this than imaging/radiology centers). Try it and let us know what happens!