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Coverage

An MRI scan is used to detect abnormalities in the organs of the body. Most MRI scans will be covered by Part B as long as they are deemed medically necessary, ordered by your doctor, and performed by a provider who accepts Medicare assignment. The scan will likely be subject to an 80 percent copay as well as the Part B deductible.

Costs

MRI scans are expensive, averaging about $2,600 for a single scan in the United States. Depending on the type of scan you need, the cost can run between $500 and $3,000. An MRI of the brain or spinal cord will likely be more expensive than an MRI of the knee or other extremity.

What to Know

An MRI uses magnets and radio waves, and not x-ray radiation. If you have a pacemaker or a cochlear implant, you should not get an MRI.

MRIs can cause some people to feel claustrophobic or anxious. Ask your doctor about taking a sedative or listening to music while in the MRI machine. The scan can last from around 15 minutes to over an hour.
You will be given access to a button that you can squeeze to call for help if needed, as well as earplugs to diminish the sounds the machine makes.

Medicare By State

Medicare is regulated by the federal government. However, private insurance companies are allowed to offer various parts of Medicare, and these plans can differ from state to state.

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