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View Full Version : $2500 for an MRI????


chess9
08-17-2008, 02:57 PM
Good grief! This is the quote I got from a local back doctor. (I was hit by a drunk while out training on my bike about 10 years ago. Am having some issues in the lower back.)

Is this typical of MRI costs? That fee includes the fee to the Radiologist to read the MRI. What's the cheapest way to get an MRI? I have a 20% copay with my Medicare Insurance Company.

I think I'll go to the VA and see if they'll do it. :)

Maybe I should invest a few thousand in a few shares of an MRI center? LOL! These guys must be making money by the bags full.

I shoulda' become a radiologist....

-Robert

ollinger
08-17-2008, 04:33 PM
2500 is nuts. Usually about 1000, a few hundred for the interpretation. I watch radiologist friends of mine read films and they can read one in about 15 seconds for a several hundred dollar fee.

Rickson
08-17-2008, 04:43 PM
2500 is definitely steep, but you can expect a bill of over a grand for sure. 500 bucks is a big bill, Rob.

chess9
08-17-2008, 05:05 PM
Ok. Thanks, guys. I'll have to speak to that doc's secretary on Monday! I thought I was being hosed, but why would United Healthcare pay those rates? Or, are they billing United less and getting the 20% of $2500 from me? Or, am I missing something?

-Robert

Ocean Drive
08-17-2008, 05:53 PM
I had an MRI on my lower back in 2005 and it was free, I had to wait 6 months for it.

chess9
08-17-2008, 06:06 PM
Sheezh, I hope I don't have to wait that long! I have some very mild sciatica running down my right leg from an old bike injury. It's not a big deal...YET.

Did you go to the VA? Or,did your health insurance cover it?

-Robert

goober
08-17-2008, 06:33 PM
Good grief! This is the quote I got from a local back doctor. (I was hit by a drunk while out training on my bike about 10 years ago. Am having some issues in the lower back.)

Is this typical of MRI costs? That fee includes the fee to the Radiologist to read the MRI. What's the cheapest way to get an MRI? I have a 20% copay with my Medicare Insurance Company.

I think I'll go to the VA and see if they'll do it. :)

Maybe I should invest a few thousand in a few shares of an MRI center? LOL! These guys must be making money by the bags full.

I shoulda' become a radiologist....

-Robert

Depends on location, but you should be easily be able to shop around. Most places take medicare. Cash prices around where I am easily are in the $500 range. This is usually the lowest price and medicare and any other insurance will always be higher. Medicare prices are usually set (for legal reasons) at an imaging center and places generally will not negotiate down.

Most important factors outside of price:

1)High field magnet preferably 1.5 Tesla or higher. Outside of field strength the most important is how old is the magnet and is the the software up to date. These are relatively minor however I would definitely ask when the last software and hardware upgrade was performed if the magnet is more than 7-8 years old. Don't go to an "open" magnet unless you are truly claustrophobic since these are usually low field magnets which leads to poorer image quality.

2)Radiologist reading it- Spines are fairly routine and so a specialist is not necessary, but Board certified is a minimum and a neuroradiologist is better (but not required)

BTW- very few if any imaging centers actually get $2,500 for a MRI. You bill the insurance company and they basically pay out what they want according to their set fee schedule which is usually much, much lower.

chess9
08-18-2008, 04:10 AM
Interesting stuff! Thanks, goober!! The public is not told such stuff. Open MRIs are advertised here like they are the cat's meow. I have no clue what the VA has, and am now worried about it.

I'm trying another massage tomorrow, in hopes that helps.

-Robert

TheShaun
08-18-2008, 06:23 AM
I had an MRI on my lower back in 2005 and it was free, I had to wait 6 months for it.

must be canadian?

Fedace
08-18-2008, 06:34 AM
Good grief! This is the quote I got from a local back doctor. (I was hit by a drunk while out training on my bike about 10 years ago. Am having some issues in the lower back.)

Is this typical of MRI costs? That fee includes the fee to the Radiologist to read the MRI. What's the cheapest way to get an MRI? I have a 20% copay with my Medicare Insurance Company.

I think I'll go to the VA and see if they'll do it. :)

Maybe I should invest a few thousand in a few shares of an MRI center? LOL! These guys must be making money by the bags full.

I shoulda' become a radiologist....

-Robert

That includes the fee for the MRI machine as well as Pre-medication if needed. also includes the MRI technician fee as well as the fee for the Doctor. If you go to the local county hospital, it might be cheaper but waiting period will be longer.

goober
08-18-2008, 07:21 AM
That includes the fee for the MRI machine as well as Pre-medication if needed. also includes the MRI technician fee as well as the fee for the Doctor. If you go to the local county hospital, it might be chaper but waiting period will be longer.

Don't bother reading this since he has not clue what is he talking about. If any premedication is needed it is not included in a quoted price of the MRI. That is completely seperate and is typically ordered by the refering physician.

"MRI technician fee". First, they are called technologists and many will get ****ed if you refer to them technicians. Second, they are paid on a salary and do not bill seperate fees or as a item in the technical component.

Hospitals- in general are more expensive than imaging centers because of their overhead costs.

Do you just make stuff up and post it?

Gemini
08-18-2008, 07:51 AM
My last MRI was about $1100 U.S.

ollinger
08-18-2008, 03:05 PM
I guess they factored in the "abort" fee....about 30 percent of MRIs in the US are aborted because the patient says "get me out of this coffin!!" (And the closed MRI produces a better film than the less anxiety-provoking open machines.)

chess9
08-18-2008, 03:46 PM
I called back and spoke to the woman in billing. $147 for an MRI with contrast will be my co-pay. She said whoever I spoke with on Friday 'had already gone home for the weekend'. ;) That's in a 3 Tesla machine. Thanks to goober, I asked! :)

-Robert

10sfreak
08-18-2008, 05:57 PM
^^^So basically, someone in that office was making a $353 mistake in the office's favor? Also, I guess the actual cost of the MRI will be $735, of which you'll pay 20% ($147)? If so, I guess the cost of MRIs have gone done quite a bit since I last heard. A friend had one a few years ago, and cost was close to $2000, although she only had to pay a certain % of that...

goober
08-18-2008, 06:05 PM
I called back and spoke to the woman in billing. $147 for an MRI with contrast will be my co-pay. She said whoever I spoke with on Friday 'had already gone home for the weekend'. ;) That's in a 3 Tesla machine. Thanks to goober, I asked! :)

-Robert

3.0 Tesla magnets are currently state of the art. Not a lot of places have them so you should be in good hands and good to go.

Ocean Drive
08-19-2008, 10:18 AM
must be canadian?

No, nowhere near.

Julieta
08-19-2008, 11:39 AM
Interesting stuff! Thanks, goober!! The public is not told such stuff. Open MRIs are advertised here like they are the cat's meow. I have no clue what the VA has, and am now worried about it.

I'm trying another massage tomorrow, in hopes that helps.

-Robert

Have you tried buying one of those inversion tables?

chess9
08-19-2008, 12:24 PM
Have you tried buying one of those inversion tables?

I've done some reading about them, and the conclusion I've reached is that they are a waste of time and money. Do you have one?

-Robert

chess9
08-19-2008, 12:27 PM
3.0 Tesla magnets are currently state of the art. Not a lot of places have them so you should be in good hands and good to go.

Pics of my back will probably be x-rated. ;) But, there are a lot of possible solutions out there. Everything from doing more stretching and physio to radical surgical approaches. But, today I'm also having pain running down the left leg as well, so I think I'm at a critical point. Massage and stretching haven't helped. My days playing tennis may also be numbered.

-Robert

Gemini
08-19-2008, 08:10 PM
I've done some reading about them, and the conclusion I've reached is that they are a waste of time and money. Do you have one?

-Robert

I have an inversion table and I love it. I use it mainly for gentle stretching of my hips and back as well as general relaxtion. Hasn't been a waste of money for me but YMMV.

chess9
08-20-2008, 01:06 PM
I have an inversion table and I love it. I use it mainly for gentle stretching of my hips and back as well as general relaxtion. Hasn't been a waste of money for me but YMMV.

What back problems did you have that led to that solution? How long have you been doing it?

-Robert

Julieta
08-20-2008, 01:28 PM
A friend of mine has one and swears by it. I think he has a disc problem but I'm not sure. They are not that expensive so it might be worth a go.

In pilates we use a machine called a Cadillac. One of the exercises you can do on this machine is hang upside down in the straps which is very similar to the inversion table. It is incredible for any back problems.

The courts at my college were notorious for back injuries and lots of people found help though using this technique. If you have a pilates studio near you they can help. But you must go to a certified instructor, not someone with a weekend certification. If you want to disclose your area I can recommend someone. Here is also a good list of quality instuctors. http://www.classicalpilates.net/directory.php

Good luck! I think if you try a lot of techniques including inversion, massage icing and pilates you can keep playing.

chess9
08-20-2008, 02:40 PM
A friend of mine has one and swears by it. I think he has a disc problem but I'm not sure. They are not that expensive so it might be worth a go.

In pilates we use a machine called a Cadillac. One of the exercises you can do on this machine is hang upside down in the straps which is very similar to the inversion table. It is incredible for any back problems.

The courts at my college were notorious for back injuries and lots of people found help though using this technique. If you have a pilates studio near you they can help. But you must go to a certified instructor, not someone with a weekend certification. If you want to disclose your area I can recommend someone. Here is also a good list of quality instuctors. http://www.classicalpilates.net/directory.php

Good luck! I think if you try a lot of techniques including inversion, massage icing and pilates you can keep playing.

Thanks for that! I see a guy about one mile from me. :) I have taken three Pilates classes, but my back was killing me after the classes. I'm wondering if that's normal, or a sign I needed to stop? I assumed stopping was a good idea because I listen to my body, even when it speaks with a forked tongue. ;)

-Robert

Julieta
08-20-2008, 03:46 PM
Thanks for that! I see a guy about one mile from me. :) I have taken three Pilates classes, but my back was killing me after the classes. I'm wondering if that's normal, or a sign I needed to stop? I assumed stopping was a good idea because I listen to my body, even when it speaks with a forked tongue. ;)

-Robert

Pilates does work the back/core so some discomfort is normal but not severe pain. Good idea to stop. Since you have back problems though you probably should skip the group class and do a private session. The sessions are expensive, but can be worth it. You want someone who has trained with Romana - those certifications take at least a year so the person really knows what they are doing to get through it, and they were dedicated enough to stay with it that long. The instructor should ask you extensively about your medical history and customize a program that will help you. Lots of the instructors come from dance backgrounds are used to dealing with all kinds of injuries.

Do you have a Relax the Back store in your area? You can demo the inversion tables there.

Yet another thing that may help would be a cold plunge pool. If your gym has one, that would be good too.

chess9
08-20-2008, 04:51 PM
Pilates does work the back/core so some discomfort is normal but not severe pain. Good idea to stop. Since you have back problems though you probably should skip the group class and do a private session. The sessions are expensive, but can be worth it. You want someone who has trained with Romana - those certifications take at least a year so the person really knows what they are doing to get through it, and they were dedicated enough to stay with it that long. The instructor should ask you extensively about your medical history and customize a program that will help you. Lots of the instructors come from dance backgrounds are used to dealing with all kinds of injuries.

Do you have a Relax the Back store in your area? You can demo the inversion tables there.

Yet another thing that may help would be a cold plunge pool. If your gym has one, that would be good too.

http://www.relaxtheback.com/fitness-and-therapy-subcategory-6389779

I'll drop by tomorrow at lunch time. I'll be right there. Might as well. They are pretty cheap too. :) I guess I could put it in the garage....

I'm not sure Pilates is for me right now. I have an ortho appointment coming up, and an MRI, so I'll see what they show. I've had some pretty bad bike accidents and have done some really stupid jock stuff as a young man. ;) My T-12 vertebra is a triangle, for instance. I've lost about an inch and a half in height since my 20's. (I was over 6'1" at 18.) So, I have some bad discs, obviously. And the VA MRI of my back about 5 years ago found spondylolisthesis and stenosis and I was almost symptom free then. LOL. So, I'm pretty sure I need some major 'brickwork'. But, that's the doctor's call, eh?

-Robert

Phil
08-20-2008, 05:10 PM
That includes the fee for the MRI machine as well as Pre-medication if needed. also includes the MRI technician fee as well as the fee for the Doctor. If you go to the local county hospital, it might be cheaper but waiting period will be longer.
Just curious: what "Pre-medication" are you talking about?  I've had a few MRI's over the years, and have never been given any "Pre-medication".

I'm wondering if this is what you were taught at "Stanford Medical School"?

chess9
08-20-2008, 05:26 PM
Just curious: what "Pre-medication" are you talking about?  I've had a few MRI's over the years, and have never been given any "Pre-medication".

I'm wondering if this is what you were taught at "Stanford Medical School"?

I think he's talking about the contrast material, assuming you are getting an MRI WITH CONTRAST. I can't imagine not getting contrast because the MRI will then disclose any soft tissue injuries, tumors, etc. If you are getting your body imaged, seems prudent to get the big picture, not the little one.

-Robert

Phil
08-20-2008, 05:54 PM
I think he's talking about the contrast material, assuming you are getting an MRI WITH CONTRAST. I can't imagine not getting contrast because the MRI will then disclose any soft tissue injuries, tumors, etc. If you are getting your body imaged, seems prudent to get the big picture, not the little one.

-Robert
Don't remember this being used in my MRI's, Chess (The last one I had was July 2007). How is this material applied and in what form is it (e.g. in jell or powder form)? I better know what to expect for the next one I get (which hopefully won't be for a long time).

chess9
08-20-2008, 06:14 PM
Phil:

See this article:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiocontrast

Your MRIs were probably without contrast in the past.

-Robert

Gemini
08-21-2008, 03:51 AM
What back problems did you have that led to that solution? How long have you been doing it?

-Robert

"Slight" hip impingement according to my ortho surgeon. Also, had a herniated disc years ago. Inversion definitely helps with the stretching to keep pressure off for me.

Teamtomo
08-21-2008, 04:39 AM
Healthcare here in the UK is free

larry10s
08-21-2008, 04:55 AM
chess9 if you have tried conservative therapy and your symptoms are severe enough than an mri with contrast sounds like the test that would give the most info.talk to your doctor to be sure this will give them the most info to make a decision. you still may need other studies to clarify what the mri shows .once you have the pics and the recommendation from your doc as far as what treatment he/she recommends you can always get a cpoy of your test and get a 2nd opinion on what treatment would be best

chess9
08-21-2008, 05:01 AM
Healthcare here in the UK is free

It's free and scary! Have you been to East Surrey Hospital? LOL! Tried to get oxygen if you have COPD?

How many of your Hospital Trusts are bankrupt this year? Does your Health Secretary have a clue? Yet?

I've recently returned from spending almost two years in England, and I love England. But, your heathcare system is horrible, IMHO. I watched one of my friends get some of the worst care imaginable at East Surrey. Also, she was scheduled for a neurological consult, but when she showed up a GP showed up who had no neuro training! He didn't even tell her he was a GP at first but she sussed him out when he mispronounced her possible condition. (this woman is a high Mensa)

I support socialized medicine,but not the way it's done in England by passing out Pounds Sterling to local administrators who then decide how to spend it! This system smacks of something out of 17th century English civil service frauds. Why don't you just bring back Charles II? ;)

-Robert

goober
08-21-2008, 07:20 AM
Just curious: what "Pre-medication" are you talking about?  I've had a few MRI's over the years, and have never been given any "Pre-medication".

I'm wondering if this is what you were taught at "Stanford Medical School"?

Feddie medical posts are almost as clueless as his posts about tennis- although I have to say that I find his taste in underwear and shoes amusing.

The only medication that is typically given before an MRI are typically anti-anxiety drugs since some people get antsy in the tube and start moving which leads to bad images. So usually Valium or Xanax, but these are not covered in the cost of the MRI as Feddie stated earlier.

chess9
08-21-2008, 08:47 AM
chess9 if you have tried conservative therapy and your symptoms are severe enough than an mri with contrast sounds like the test that would give the most info.talk to your doctor to be sure this will give them the most info to make a decision. you still may need other studies to clarify what the mri shows .once you have the pics and the recommendation from your doc as far as what treatment he/she recommends you can always get a cpoy of your test and get a 2nd opinion on what treatment would be best

Oh, yes, you are absolutely right. I'm interested in an MRI in part because I had one about 5-6 years ago and know they found issues then, but I had no symptoms. So, is this changes in the bones, soft tissue, or what? I'm just TALKING right now. I will opt for the most conservative therapy possible, consistent with maintaining functionality.

-Robert.

Julieta
08-21-2008, 09:30 AM
Don't remember this being used in my MRI's, Chess (The last one I had was July 2007). How is this material applied and in what form is it (e.g. in jell or powder form)? I better know what to expect for the next one I get (which hopefully won't be for a long time).

I've had three MRIs and only on one they injected the dye. I wasn't expecting it at all!

Julieta
08-21-2008, 09:31 AM
http://www.relaxtheback.com/fitness-and-therapy-subcategory-6389779

I'll drop by tomorrow at lunch time. I'll be right there. Might as well. They are pretty cheap too. :) I guess I could put it in the garage....

I'm not sure Pilates is for me right now. I have an ortho appointment coming up, and an MRI, so I'll see what they show. I've had some pretty bad bike accidents and have done some really stupid jock stuff as a young man. ;) My T-12 vertebra is a triangle, for instance. I've lost about an inch and a half in height since my 20's. (I was over 6'1" at 18.) So, I have some bad discs, obviously. And the VA MRI of my back about 5 years ago found spondylolisthesis and stenosis and I was almost symptom free then. LOL. So, I'm pretty sure I need some major 'brickwork'. But, that's the doctor's call, eh?

-Robert

I guess you can hang clothes on it if it doesnt work. Seriously though, good luck with it. Make sure you get the experts.