By staff writers

February 7, 2018 -- Patients seeking a routine MRI scan for back pain can pay as little as $350 or more than $5,500 at imaging facilities within a few miles of each other, according to an investigative report by WBRC-TV in Birmingham, AL.

Interviews with several patients in different states found that one Army veteran was billed more than $8,000 after undergoing two MRI scans for back pain at Lakeview Regional Medical Center in Covington, LA. The cost of the same MRI scan was $350 at another imaging center within minutes of the Covington location.

The February 5 report also cited examples of a $3,000 MRI scan for lower back pain at Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center in Richmond, compared with $399 for the same procedure at nearby Tuckahoe Orthopaedics.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital charges $5,800 for an MRI, while the same scan at American Health Imaging, less than a mile away, costs $525, according to the article.

Patients should call several imaging centers and hospitals to find out what they charge for an MRI scan and how much of that fee will be covered by insurance, the report recommended. In addition, patients are encouraged to inquire about any additional fees for the procedure.

Copyright © 2018

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