Labor responds to cancer package criticism

“Cancer patients called up The Chris Smith Show claiming most of these costs were covered for them by Medicare already. But Shadow Health Minister Catherine King tells Chris Smith the costs of scans vary across centres. ‘People who are dialling in that are saying that have been very, very fortunate’. ‘The rate of bulk billing for diagnostic imaging is very low and this will increase it, particularly for MRI scans'”.


What is MRI?

MRI mean ‘magnetic resonance imaging’.
MRI helps doctors find cancer in the body and look for signs that it has spread. MRI also can help doctors plan cancer treatment, like surgery or radiation.


How much does an MRI cost?

Although the total cost of an MRI scan varies depending on the part of the body being imaged, costs generally range from $100 to $500. In many overseas countries, this procedure can cost several thousands of dollars.

Both Medicare and Australian health funds pay towards the cost of the MRI scan. They do so in the following ways:

  • Public patient in a public hospital (no health insurance). Medicare covers 100%
  • Private patient in a public hospital. Medicare covers 75% with the remaining “gap” covered by the health fund.
  • Private patient in a private hospital. Medicare once again covers 75% with the remainder paid by the health fund.
  • Out of hospital MRI scan with specialist referral. Medicare covers 85% of the cost.


Summary? Catherine King is talking through her hat

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