Posted on November 10, 2010 17 Comments
Ever wonder what an MRI costs? My bills just came in for my knee injury – which still isn’t fixed, frustratingly – so I thought I’d share…
Here’s the rundown before the insurance kicked in:
- Bill 1: When my knee was injured, I saw a specialist. That cost $294 for a 20-minute session with the orthopaedic doctor. He ordered a few X-rays, which addded a cost of $167 to my bill. Based on this appointment, he recommended an MRI.
- Bills 2 and 3: The hospital charged me $2,950 for the radiology bill. Additionally, I received a charge from the Faculty Foundation, separate from the hospital, for $347 for “MRI outpatient.” Presumably this was the charge for the doctor to review my MRI results, though it’s difficult to tell unless I call and inquire about it.
- Bill 4: Then, for the follow-up appointment, I was charged an additional $131 for the specialist’s time to give me a diagnosis. (I’m now in physical therapy for five weeks – I’m considering those charges separately.)
So prior to insurance, provided that all the bills have come in, I owed the hospital $3,889. (About the amount in my designated “rainy day fund” that is separate from all my savings).
Thankfully I have insurance, unlike a lot of people I know. Here’s the breakdown of what I owe after insurance:
- Bill 1 (initial consultation and x-rays): I owe $36.40 (there was a nice reduction because I stayed in-network)
- Bill 2 (MRI from hospital): I owe $221.25
- Bill 3 (random “MRI outpatient” bill): I owe $26.20
- Bill 4 (second consultation): I owe $25 (again, in-network reduction worked here)
In total, I owe $308.85 - not insignificant, but a small portion of the original cost. I wish I had money left in my flex spending to cover the costs, but I wasn’t anticipating any major procedures this year and so only put in enough to cover routine care.
Looking at these bills, though thoroughly confusing, makes me consider how lucky I am that I can work with physicians and physical therapists to get myself back into running form. I hear so many sob stories on TV about people who “used to run” or “used to work out” and have since become overweight or obese. I really didn’t get how that was possible, but when I look at these numbers, it’s easy to see how it could happen to someone out of a job with no insurance – she may try to stay healthy and work out, but a fall, a slip, a tear, or just overuse can stop an athlete in her tracks. And without the right network of care, she might never get back to her passion.
I pray there’s never a day when I’m uninsured. My boyfriend has been off and on insurance for years – even a white collar professional can become one of America’s uninsured while between jobs. (And as a former financial services sector employee, he’s been there a few times.) Currently a full-time law student, he is on some kind of minimal catastrophic coverage plan through his University. I hope he has a rainy day fund