Health News Review

The Clear Health Costs blog published a two-part piece on the variable costs of MRI tests.

Excerpt of part 1:

Different facilities (hospital, radiology center, doctor’s office) charge vastly different prices for MRIs. For example, the cash price of a lumbar spine MRI at a hospital in California can reach more than $3,000, while the cash price of the same test at an independent radiology facility can be as low as $400. (For our sampling of cash or self-pay prices of lumbar spine MRIs in the San Francisco area, go here.     For our sampling of cash or self-pay prices in the New York area, go here. Using our search tool for Medicare prices, you can see that several providers will undercut the government price, which is interesting.)

There are also private radiology facilities that offer exceptionally low costs, such as $295 at RPN of California, a low-cost MRI services network with headquarters in Ontario, Calif.  Read more about RPN on our blog. RPN has also opened facilities in Phoenix and Tempe, Ariz., with low  prices for an MRI.

Some  hospitals and radiology clinics post prices online. At Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in New Hampshire and Vermont, the price for a spine MRI is listed at $3,693.

At Metro Imaging in St. Louis, the “average charge” for an MRI is listed at $998.

At QuakerBridge Radiology in New Jersey, the self-pay price is $465.

At Denville Diagnostics in Denville, N.J., the self-pay price for an MRI without contrast is $475.

In part two of its mini-series, the Clear Health Costs blog looked at different kinds of MRIs and what additional charges there might be.

This is helpful, albeit maddeningly frustrating, information.

But what an important project Clear Health Costs is.

 

Comments

Jeanne Pinder posted on November 15, 2012 at 4:57 pm

Thank you so much! We are huge admirers of HealthNewsReview and the service you provide in clearing away the murk in health and medical reporting.

On costs: Now that the election is over (and post Supreme Court ruling), people are seriously focusing on the cost.

In what other marketplace could such a maddeningly opaque pricing system persist for so long? And what will it take to change it?

When someone like Andy Grove, the former Intel chairman, can write a piece like this in Wired magazine ( http://www.wired.com/business/2012/10/mf-health-care-transparency/ ) , and people like the indie rock star Amanda Palmer can conduct something like her runaway #insurancepoll,
( http://www.amandapalmer.net/blog/20121015/ ),
it starts to feel like change is at hand in the last big remaining opaque marketplace.

This is the biggest problem we face today as a nation. Together, we can fix it.
Cheers jeanne