Prices for inexpensive MRI’s in New York, but are they real?

Filed Under: Costs, Patients, Providers

I made a quick phone call just now to the folks at Medical Discounts Inc., “Saving Americans Money on Their Healthcare” (888) 380-6337.

They’re advertising low-cost MRI’s in various cities and states, prices that seemed too low to be true (check out our price lists for an MRI).

So I asked: Their New York price is $335, the woman told me when I called (I didn’t get her name). “That includes the radioloigist’s fee,” she said. “When you schedule it, you pay a $60 deposit. That comes out of the price.”

At the center on the day of the MRI, she said, I would pay the remaining $275. They will also put the MRI on a CD for no charge, she said.

What is the name of the clinic? She couldn’t tell me, she said: “We’re not a phone book.” Where is it? I could find out only after paying the $60.

For more information email MedicalDiscounts@aol.com.

If you have experience with them, please let us know.

I’d like to think this is an example of the free market at work, but it still seems unsettling. Yet it’s not clear to me why this makes me unsettled: is it because they wouldn’t tell me where the clinic was? Because their Web page had a few flaws? Their price list was updated last in 2010? I don’t think I’m going there for my MRI.

That’s a price that’s not as low as the $295 that is charged by RPN of California, the lowest price we’ve seen, but it’s close. (Robert Cloutier  of RPN talked about his high-volume, low-cost model to us not long ago.)

The next question, of course, is this: do you want to go with the lowest-cost provider? Maybe, and then again maybe not.

Our respected colleague, the fabulous e-Patient Dave, decided not to. Here’s his discussion of the matter, for your enjoyment.

Another site: RemakeHealth, also calling itself OneCall Medical, “8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST, free price quote, accept credit cards” offered an MRI in New York for $520 — as an estimated price only. The Part Number and the little shopping cart on the site (see below) called forth questions. And is it RemakeHealth or OneCall Medical? And when I went to their FAQ page, my browser went crazy, giving me security warnings that the page was insecure.  Anybody have any experience with them?