An MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) may not be on the top of your list of things to do, but when a medical problem arises, an MRI may become a necessity. Because your health is important and you want to be comfortable in any medical testing environment, take time in choosing an MRI center.

1. Receive your MRI testing orders from your physician. This information may include a referral to an MRI center that your doctor regularly works with.

2. Contact your health insurance provider. Your health insurance may limit which facilities it will cover, so verifying directly with your insurance whether a facility is “in network” is very important to save you money and problems in the future.

3. Know the type of MRI you can receive. MRIs can be “closed” or “open.” If you’re claustrophobic, you want to consider a facility that offers the “open” or “stand-up” MRI testing, but make sure your health insurance provider will cover these types of procedures.

4. Note driving distances from your home to an MRI center. Because you may have to take time off work or have someone drive you to your appointment, you need to make arrangements and schedule your testing at the most convenient times, taking into consideration the amount of time it will take you to get to the MRI center.

5. Research the history of the facility you’re considering. Determine if the MRI center has accreditation with the American College of Radiology. Also make certain that the MRI center will work with your physician in promptly sending the imaging reports to him and working with you and your doctor concerning any follow-up testing.

6. Ask about accommodations for family members accompanying you to your MRI. Know if there are waiting rooms or other locations nearby in which your family or friends may wait for you.

7. Determine costs and payment options. Know when the MRI center will bill you for your testing and how willing they are to work with your health insurance provider.

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