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Does Medicare Cover MRI Scans?

Christian Worstell

by Christian Worstell | Published October 27, 2023 | Reviewed by John Krahnert

Medicare may cover an MRI scan if a doctor orders one to diagnose or rule out an illness or condition. But although Medicare Part B covers diagnostic testing services, there are some limits and requirements for getting them.

Couple looking out over a mountain lake

MRI Basics

An MRI scan is a type of non-laboratory diagnostic testing that a doctor may order to diagnose certain injuries and medical conditions. Your doctor may order an MRI to:

  • Provide more information about a problem seen on an X-ray, ultrasound or CT scan
  • Examine any part of the body surrounded by bone tissue (such as the brain or spinal cord)
  • Find abnormalities (such as tumors), and show bleeding or swelling in the brain
  • Evaluate the structure of your heart and detect heart defects
  • Examine problems associated with spinal inflammation
  • Examine your joints, soft tissues (such as kidneys, liver and spleen), and bones

MRIs give very detailed pictures, and can provide valuable and accurate information on many parts of the body. This makes them especially helpful in disease detection. 

MRI Costs

The cost of your MRI will depend on several factors, including:

  • The type of MRI performed
  • Where you choose to go for your MRI 
  • Whether or not additional services are administered at your MRI visit

Generally, if an MRI is ordered by a doctor who accepts Medicare assignment — and your doctor deems the scan necessary to treat a medical problem — Part B will pay 80 percent of the Medicare-approved cost, and you will pay 20 percent (after you meet your Part B deductible).1

The best way to know whether Medicare will cover your MRI is to talk with your doctor first and confirm. Before you seek treatment, ask for a written quote of what your visit will cost, and make sure your doctor participates in Medicare. 

Also keep in mind that you are responsible for numerous out-of-pocket Medicare costs, including your Part B deductible (which is $240 per year in 2024).


Medicare Supplement Insurance can help cover your out-of-pocket MRI costs.

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