February 27, 2019

Saint Vincent cheapest for MRI services

Photo/Grant Welker
Saint Vincent Hospital in Worcester provides the cheapest MRI among 14 Massachusetts hospitals studied by the Pioneer Institute, whose report showed a wide range of costs for the same exam.

A new report from the Pioneer Institute aims to spotlight how widely varied costs for an MRI can be at Massachusetts hospitals.

Fortunately for anyone looking to get a magnetic resonance imaging exam in Central Massachusetts, Worcester's Saint Vincent Hospital was found to be the cheapest among 14 hospitals studied by the Pioneer Institute in a report released Tuesday.

The average cost for an MRI at Saint Vincent was $476, the Boston-based think tank found. That's vastly cheaper than the $1,423 average cost at Boston Children's Hospital, which topped the list, and well below the average among the hospitals of $742.

As for average out-of-pocket expenses for patients after insurance coverage is factored in, Saint Vincent placed third cheapest. A patient at Saint Vincent could expect to pay $87 for an MRI, a bit higher than Tufts Medical Center in Boston, with a $62 average, and Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, where the average cost was $51.

Saint Vincent was the only Central Massachusetts hospital among those studied.

The report found little correlation between a patient's out-of-pocket cost and either the amount insurers pay or the overall price of a procedure. The authors recommended better price transparency for consumers and for financial incentives to move consumers to lower-cost providers even when out-of-pocket costs are similar.

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