Last year, my doctor recommended I have an MRI prior to surgery. She referred me to an imaging clinic affiliated with the large conglomerate practice in which she worked, MarinHealth/UCSF.

I had had several MRIs in the past, when I lived in New York City, and usually paid cash due to lack of insurance or wanting a quicker result. My past MRIs all cost between $400 and $600. Imagine my surprise when I discovered the imaging facility tried to bill my insurance for approximately $10,000!

My insurance company refused to pay this amount, and the facility accepted approximately $4,500 for the MRI. I have a 20 percent coinsurance rate, so they told me I’d have to pay around $900. I told them the price was exorbitant and I would not pay it. They eventually agreed to accept about $450.

I feel sorry for people who don’t know you can negotiate, or those who don’t speak English well or are just intimidated by the system. It’s shocking that a healthcare facility would try to take advantage of people.