(Updated 2022) People are out there shopping for health-care information. Here’s one example, of a woman in Missouri who called to explain that she is in pain, and needs an MRI. She and her husband are both out of work, and have no insurance. So she and her husband were shopping for an affordable MRI in Missouri. The MRI prices she encountered range from $376 to $1,100-plus.
The woman calling said she was looking for an inexpensive MRI. She was searching on our site, and couldn’t find a price in Missouri.
We have pricing in seven major metro areas, I explained, but none in Missouri.
She told me that her husband had lost his job on a military base, and they no longer have insurance. Finding an MRI for her that she could afford is a matter of importance.
I walked her through the Medicare reimbursement search on the site: go to the search box, type in MRI, and let it auto-fill — then pick “Missouri” from the state list. The prices for Medicare payments in Missouri range from $419 in metropolitan St. Louis to $376 in the rest of the state.
The next step: we went to the American College of Radiology site, and I told her how to look up an accredited facility (the “accredited facility search” on the site).
With this information, I said, she can call accredited providers, armed with the knowledge of what Medicare pays, to ask for their cash or self-pay price.
Here’s a previous post we wrote on the topic of MRI costs, with more information.
She did see one place on the list that she’d already called. They quoted her $1,100, she said, and then there would be an additional fee for reading it.
MRI prices are really complicated: Different facilities, different machines, different parts of the body. Yikes.
The takeaway? People are out there shopping for health-care procedures and items. Give them the tools, and they’ll do it.
Part 2: How to argue a bill.