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CostHelper > Health & Personal Care  > Tests, X-Rays & Imaging > Cardiac MRI

Cardiac MRI Cost

How Much Does a Cardiac MRI Cost?

average costWith Health Insurance: $20-$100+ Copayhigh costWithout Health Insurance: $1,000-$5,000
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A cardiac MRI[1] is an imaging test that uses powerful magnets, radio waves, and a computer to create moving or still pictures of the heart and major blood vessels. It's considered the gold standard in assessing heart function and may be used to diagnose illness, such as coronary heart disease, or to clarify results from other tests, such as an X-ray or CT scan. A cardiac MRI is non invasive and does not use radiation.

Typical costs:

  • A cardiac MRI typically costs about $1,000-$5,000, depending on such factors as the complexity of the condition being investigated, whether the procedure is performed in a hospital or a physician's office and a patient's geographical location. For example, at Pacific Alliance Medical Center in Los Angeles, it ranges in cost from $2,587 to $3,065, while at Longwood MRI specialists[2] in Brookline, MA, it starts at $1,300. Charges typically include a $100-$200 fee for the physician's work as well as a fee for facility overhead.
  • The scan, when deemed medically necessary, is typically covered by health insurance plans. If deductibles are met, typical out-of-pocket costs for insured patients would consist of a copay for the doctor's visit and possibly a copay for the MRI. For example, under a First Carolina Care[3] copay plan, the visit copay would be $20 and the MRI copay $100.
Related articles: CT Scan, X-Ray, Health Insurance

What should be included:
  • According to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute[4] a cardiac MRI usually takes 30-90 minutes, depending on how many pictures are needed.
  • Prior to the scan, the patient will need to remove any jewelry or clothing containing metal. Then, the patient will be asked to lie on a moveable table that slides into a tunnel surrounded by a magnet, where radio waves are broadcast to create a three-dimensional image of the body.
  • Patients can expect to hear loud noises from the machine, but most MRI departments offer earplugs to block the sounds.
  • Mercy Medical Center in West Des Moines, IA, offers a patient guide[5] for the procedure.
Additional costs:
  • About one in 20 patients feel claustrophobic or anxious inside a traditional MRI machine and require a mild sedative such as propofol (Diprivan)[6] , which can cost about $125-$400.
  • It's estimated that 5%-10% of patients need a contrast solution, or special dye injected into the body, to further enhance the scan. The solution typically costs about $100-$300 extra.
  • Some diagnostic imaging centers offer discounted prices of about $380-$560, depending on geographic location. These apply to patients who pay cash or use credit cards and do not use health insurance. For example, the imaging center MRI Solutions[7] in Indianapolis offers an MRI of any one region of the body for a flat fee of $450.
Shopping for a cardiac mri:
  • The American College of Radiology has a search tool[8] on its website to help patients find accredited hospitals, clinics or health centers that perform MRIs in their area.
Material on this page is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Always consult your physician or pharmacist regarding medications or medical procedures.
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What People Are Paying - Recent Comments
ER Visit for Chest Pain-Austin Texas
Amount: $14,400.00 not covered by insurance
Posted by: Austin P. in Austin, TX.Posted: December 3rd, 2012 04:12PM
Visited ER (after having mild to moderate chest pain and soreness for over a day. I had an EKG/ECG, enzymes test and cardiac monitoring---all negative. The physician ordered my admission for overnight stay in the hospital for heart monitoring, stress test and nuclear medicine (CT MRI Scan with contrast). The result was negative for all tests. Source of pain was likely a sore chest muscle not the heart.
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