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Health ministry to cut MRI fees below 180,000 won

Posted September. 14, 2018 07:22,   

Updated September. 14, 2018 07:22


Starting from October 1, patients getting an MRI scanning to detect potential brain tumors or cerebral infarction will pay maximum 180,000 Korean won. The Ministry of Health and Welfare called a health insurance policy deliberation committee on Thursday and confirmed an expanded application of such a revised health care coverage.

Currently, fees for MRI exams drastically vary from hospital to hospital in South Korea. According to a survey by the ministry and the Korea Medical Association, general hospitals typically charge 360,000 won to 709,800 won for brain MRI scans, while higher graded general hospital will charge 530,000 won to 750,000 won for the same medical procedure. And if no cerebral diseases are found from the examination, the patient is liable to pay full prices.

Thanks to the revised policy, patients can now enjoy insurance coverage if they exhibited symptoms of neurological disorders. The amount of examination fee will also drop to 143,844 won for general hospitals and 179,517 won for higher grade general hospitals. The period of insurance coverage for serious patients getting brain MRI scans will also be extended from six to 10 years.

The fallen costs of MRI scans will likely incentivize patients with mild headaches to take the scan first. The new policy of the health ministry will not allow patients to enjoy health insurance coverage in case they got MRI scans without any symptom or a past history of cerebral stroke or other related diseases.

Gun-Hee Cho becom@donga.com