When we talk about high priced medical procedures, MRI scans are one which instantly makes their way into the list. It costs about $2,611 and insurances may or may not cover it. Many people criticize the medical practitioners and hospital owners for charging so much but is it really their fault.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging is a highly specialized and sophisticated piece of machinery. There are only five companies who make these and their types and intensities vary. A normal MRI machine has the magnetic field strength of about 0.2 – 0.3 teslas and can be as cheap as $150,000 and if we move to the ones which have more magnetic field strength, it can cost you for a large sum of $1 million. Then if we move to the highest powered state of the art MRI machine with a magnetic field strength of 3 teslas, it costs you for $3 million grand! Now, why are these so expensive?
The room made for MRI machines
It is not as easy is as just buy and place, MRI rooms are called MRI suites and are made especially for the procedure. It requires a lot of space costing you extra hundreds and thousands of dollars and you must also ensure that the room is such that it keeps all others safe from the magnetic fields that are outside of the room.
Other than this it requires another room away from the one with the machine so that the computer can be kept away from the magnetic field strength. Intercoms and other safety precautions such as emergency switched again cost you extra dollars. There are so many costs involved such as installation and maintenance costs which brings your bill to an easy $5 million and here’s the thing, the story does not end here.
The doctors and Hospitals
The bad thing about this procedure is that many studies show that medical centers and doctors can charge you whatever they wish to charge you. The costs can vary from 474 dollars up to as high as 13,259 dollars. This difference is highly unethical and it is dependent on the place you get it done from. Other than this, there can be other costs involved. Your physician might tell you to get a can done with or without contrast dye or even both! This will cost you for two MRI scans like one was not expensive enough. The dye itself will be a separate expense as it is a specialized paramagnetic dye which is used to enhance the images of abnormalities so that they are seen clearly.
They also might charge you for the additional reading of the MRI by the radiologist again raising your bill. If there are certain sedatives involved for people who are claustrophobic or children, these will also cost you additionally. So you are basically paying for the machine, the procedure, the reading and the dye which will raise your costs to a sky-high limit.
So to sum it up they will bundle charge you which itself is an error in medical centers so one must always check all the thing they have charged you wish to avoid any errors and overpaying.
There is no alternative or cheap alternative to an MRI scan which can make it very difficult for poor people to get diagnosed correctly as not everyone can afford such high costs. Medical centers and doctors should come up with ways to make this procedure less pricey or at least compensate the less fortunate.