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

Upright MRI Cost

How Much Does an Upright MRI Cost?

average costWith Health Insurance: $20-$100+ Copayhigh costWithout Health Insurance: $1,000-$5,000
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Unlike a traditional MRI in which patients must lie flat for 30 minutes or more, an upright MRI allows patients to be scanned while standing, sitting, or in a multitude of positions. It also allows the body to be scanned in its normal weight-bearing state, which may help in diagnosing certain conditions. Historically, upright MRIs have proven less powerful than conventional models, since they have lower magnetic fields, but newer upright units can provide high quality images.

Typical costs:

  • An upright MRI scan typically costs about as much as a conventional MRI scan, and typically costs $1,000-$5,000. The cost depends on factors such as the number of body parts being scanned and a patient's geographical location.
  • A Washington State Health Care Authority assessment[1] of upright MRI technology found that fees for basic upright MRI scans of the spine in a relaxed position ranged from an average of $1,365 in New York to $1,600 in Florida, and $1,650 in Washington, with charges for additional images running from $350-$1,200.
  • An upright MRI, when deemed medically necessary, is typically covered by health insurers just as a conventional MRI would be. If deductibles are met, typical out-of-pocket costs for insured patients consist of a copay for the doctor's visit and possibly a copay for the MRI. For example, under a First CarolinaCare[2] copay plan, the visit copay would be $20 and the MRI copay $100.
Related articles: X-Ray, MRI, Health Insurance

What should be included:
  • Prior to the scan, the patient will need to remove any jewelry or clothing containing metal. Once the MRI technologist has positioned a patient, the patient will be asked to try to remain as still as possible. The scan typically lasts 30-60 minutes, but may take longer. The MRI technologist will be able to forecast how long the imaging will take ahead of time.
  • WebMD offers a detailed overview[3] of MRIs, including upright MRIs.
Additional costs:
  • 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. However, these centers typically cater to patients who pay cash and do not use health insurance.
Shopping for an upright mri:
  • The American College of Radiology has a search tool[4] to help patients find accredited hospitals, clinics or health centers in their area that perform MRIs.
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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