MRI prices higher in the US

A data report released by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Peterson Center on Healthcare showed the U.S. has higher prices for many healthcare services compared to other high-income countries, including on MRIs and joint replacements, and how some prices have risen faster than inflation.

The average price of an MRI in the U.S. in 2015 was $1,119, higher than the average in the United Kingdom ($788), Switzerland ($503) and Australia ($215). This was one area where the U.S. has relatively high utilization, with 118 MRIs performed 1,000 population, topped only by Germany in the study. In other areas, the U.S. has among the highest prices but lower utilization.

MRIs also increased slower than inflation unlike other services. For example, the average price for a knee replacement went from $19,595 in 2003 to $34,063 in 2016. If the price increases had stuck to the rate of inflation, the procedure would cost almost $8,000 less on average.

Healthcare prices in general rose 21.6 percent between 2008 and 2018, according to the study, compared to the 17.3 percent increase in gross domestic product over the same time period.

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