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US man stunned by low price of medical bill overseas, sparking health care debate

A US man who has moved Down Under has been left in shock after discovering the cost of an MRI.
Noel Mulkey was in the midst of training for the Ironman World Championship, but daily 20-mile runs led to him needing an MRI in Australia.
“Total price $300,” he said, stunned. It roughly equates to USD $200.
“My last one in the US was $1700.”
MRI’s in Australia can have various costs depending on which body part needs looking at.
5 Noel Mulkey was shocked when he saw his medical bill after getting an MRI in Australia. @noelmulk0/TikTok
Some can be covered under Medicare, specifically if a GP or specialist refers you for an MRI.
Typically, it can cost anywhere between $66.23 and $198 for the scan. In some cases it can cost as much as $1500.
Mr. Mulkey, who was eventually diagnosed with a femoral neck stress reaction and needs to walk with crutches for the next two months, had to pay out of pocket as he isn’t an Australian citizen.
5 “Total price $300,” he said, stunned. It roughly equates to USD $200. @noelmulk0/TikTok
While he was over the moon at the low cost compared to his experience back in the United States, some Aussies were unimpressed.
“$300 for an MRI? That’s crazy,” one social media user commented.
Another said: “The way that it would ruin my day if I had to pay that much for this as an Australian.”
5 Some people can be covered under Medicare, specifically if a GP or specialist refers you for an MRI. RFBSIP – stock.adobe.com
One said: “Yeah, sorry we had to charge you.”
Another said they’d had four MRI scans in the last six months and each one of them was with no cost.
Earlier this year, content creator Imogen Blow went viral after bursting into tears in her car following a specialist appointment as she kept losing her voice.
5 Content creator Imogen Blow went viral after bursting into tears following a specialist appointment. TikTok/Imogen Blow
The specialist spent exactly 13 minutes examining her, leaving her more than $350 out of pocket.
“What the heck is wrong with our world right now,” Imogen tearfully asked while sat in her car immediately after the appointment.
“I paid $80 for my GP, and she’s amazing she gave me six different specialists. I called them up to ask the prices to see which one was the cheapest,” she said.
5 The specialist spent exactly 13 minutes examining her, leaving her more than $350 out of pocket. TikTok/Imogen Blow
“I found one that was the cheapest — but only by about $20.”
Imogen said she was in the waiting room longer than the 13 minutes she was in the doctor’s office.
“She charged me – and it’s not her fault, it’s just what it is – $354.90,” Imogen said.
“But it gets worse. I know I’m not even the worst case. My income and expenses are not as terrible as they could be I know there’s people out there who have life-threatening surgeries and they can’t pay it.
“But the worst thing about my situation is this doctor put this little light and camera down my throat to see my vocal cords. She was there for about eight seconds and that got added to the bill.”

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