MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) FAQ (frequently asked questions)

This page describes the MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) services that may be requested and the MRI units (full or partial) required to perform them.

Page last updated: 17 June 2015

The questions

  1. Which MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) services attract a Medicare rebate?
  2. Where do I find details of specific MRI ( Magnetic Resonance Imaging) services?
  3. What is meant by full Medicare-eligible MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) units? What is meant by partial Medicare-eligible MRI units?
  4. Which MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) services can a partial Medicare-eligible MRI unit perform?
  5. How do I locate a Medicare-eligible MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) unit?
  6. Which MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) units can provide all four GP requested services and can these services be requested by a specialist?
  7. Can a specialist or physician doctor request GP (general practitioner) MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) items?
  8. How do I qualify for a subsidised breast MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)?
  9. How do I locate an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) provider that offers a Medicare rebate for an MRI of the breast?
  10. Which patients qualify for MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) services for patients that are under 16 years of age? Over 16 years?
  11. Must I attend the recommended (or form-listed) diagnostic imaging practice?
  12. What is the process for seeking to obtain Medicare eligibility (either full or partial) for MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) equipment?
  13. Where can I locate further information?

The answers

1. Which MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) services attract a Medicare rebate?

To receive a rebate for an MRI scan, the service must be:
  • listed on the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS)—see Group 15—63001-63523
  • specifically requested and referenced (using a unique item number) by a general practitioner (GP) or specialist doctor
  • performed on a Medicare-eligible MRI unit

2. Where do I find details of specific MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) services?

The MBS is an up-to-date listing of Medicare-subsidised health services and associated conditions of their use. It includes a brief description of each service, the anticipated fee (note—providers are entitled to set their own fee, so the actual fee may be different to the anticipated fee), the Medicare benefit (that is, the dollar rebate), provider requirements (if any) and referral requirements (if any). See MBS Online, Group 15—63001-63523.

3. What is meant by full Medicare-eligible MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) unit? What is meant by partial Medicare-eligible MRI unit?

  • Full Medicare-eligible MRI units are able to perform all MRI services listed on the MBS with a Medicare rebate for the patient.
  • Partial Medicare-eligible MRI units are only able to perform a small set of specific services listed on the MBS for which there is a Medicare rebate for the patient.

4. Which MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) services can a Partial Medicare-eligible MRI unit perform?

Industry-accredited and approved Partial Medicare-eligible machines may be used to provide up to:
  • six GP requested items for children under the age of 16 years
  • four GP requested items for patients 16 years and over
  • specialist or consultant physician requested services for:
    • cancer staging
    • Poly Implant Prostheses (PIP) breast items that are currently approved
    • approved Crohns disease MRI services.

5. How do I locate a Medicare-eligible MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) unit?

A complete list of (full and partial) Medicare eligible units is searchable by state and territory and available on this site at MRI unit locations

6. Which Medicare-eligible MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) units can (and cannot) perform GP requested services?

Both Partial and Full Medicare-eligible MRI units have the capacity to perform all MRI services requested by GPs.

7. Can a specialist or physician doctor request GP (general practitioner) MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) items?

Neither a specialist nor consultant physician (hospital doctor) may request a GP (general practitioner) specific item. These items may ONLY be requested by a GP. If requested by a specialist or consultant physician a Medicare rebate will not apply.

However: equivalent services (with different item numbers) may be requested by specialist and/or consultant physicians.

8. How do I qualify for a subsidised breast MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)?

Medicare rebates are available for MRI breast scans for women who have been referred by a specialist doctor (not a general practitioner GP) and who are:
  • under 50 years of age
  • have no signs, history or symptoms of breast cancer
  • considered at high risk of developing breast cancer due to family history or genetic mutation.

9. How do I locate an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) provider that offers a Medicare rebate for an MRI of the breast?

Users may locate suitable providers (that is those whose equipment includes a breast coil) by going to MRI unit locations and selecting Full/partial Medicare-eligible unit as required.

10. Which patients qualify for MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) services for patients that are under 16 years of age? Over 16 years?

  • A patient will only qualify for MRI services for ‘patients under 16 years of age’ if the patient is under 16 years of age on the day that the service is performed.
  • Similarly, a patient will only qualify for MRI services for ‘patients over 16 years of age’ if the patient is over 16 years of age on the day that the service is performed. This means that the patient may be less than 16 years of age on the day that the service is requested.

11. Must I attend the practice listed on the referral form or may I choose a provider?

You may choose your own provider.

Patients may take a GP request form to any accredited and approved diagnostic imaging business that can perform the designated service, including a private facility or a public hospital however, consumers may be wise to discuss their options with the requesting health provider.

12. What is the process for seeking to obtain Medicare eligibility (either full or partial) for MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) equipment?

Medicare eligibility for MRI is typically granted under formal application processes. There is currently no application process open for providers to obtain Medicare eligibility.

13. Where can I locate further information?

Further information regarding MRI (under Medicare) can be forwarded to the MRI team