Report: Ariz. man stunned by hospital bill of $15K for MRI scans

By AuntMinnie.com staff writers

August 27, 2021 -- An Arizona man said he was "stunned" by a $14,500 hospital bill he received for two MRI scans that he thought would cost $400-$600 each, according to a news report on AZCentral.com.

Dan Exline was referred for the scans by his physician to help diagnose pain he was experiencing in his back and knee. He had short-term medical insurance with limited coverage, but he went forward with the scans after his doctor estimated they would cost $400-$600 apiece.

The scans were performed at Summit Healthcare Regional Medical Center in Show Low, a small city in eastern Arizona. A month later, Exline received a bill of $14,500 for the scans -- an amount that was twice the cost of a knee surgery he had recently, according to the article on AZCentral.com, a website operated by the Arizona Republic newspaper.

One reason the price was so high was that Exline did not prepay for the scans: That would have brought the total price for both scans down to $1,200. Instead, Exline waited to be billed for the scans, and as a result Summit would only lower the price per scan to $5,800.

The news article said the type of limited insurance coverage that Exline had was phased out by the Affordable Care Act in 2010. However, these types of plans became commonplace again after the Trump administration and the Arizona state government loosened insurance rules.

The report comes amid new scrutiny about wide variations in prices for healthcare, with radiology procedures such as MRI being a frequent target. An August 22 article in the New York Times highlighted disparities in prices for such procedures across different hospitals in the U.S.


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