Blue Cross VT Streamlines Access to Low-Cost, High-Quality MRI Services

Patient preparing for an MRI

To help enhance health care accessibility, Blue Cross VT announced the removal of prior authorization to Open MRI in Vermont and New Hampshire, effective February 1, 2024.

Berlin, Vermont — Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont (Blue Cross VT) announced the removal of prior authorization to Open MRI in Vermont and New Hampshire effective February 1, 2024. This strategic decision is part of Blue Cross VT’s commitment to enhancing health care accessibility, directing care towards high-quality, cost-effective services, and reducing the administrative burden on health care providers.

The singular focus of the state’s only local, nonprofit health plan is to make health care work better for Vermonters. This change improves member access to a high-quality service that has a four times lower cost than other Vermont facilities that perform MRIs and will improve access and convenience to a quality service for members, while lowering premium costs. 

“We live and work here, and we know implicitly that our neighbors endure long wait times for health care services and all too often struggle to pay the bill,” said Dr. Tom Weigel, Chief Medical Officer at Blue Cross VT. “Removing prior authorization requirements for services at Open MRI, we are supporting Vermonters to access a lower cost service that can cut the line on long wait times.” 

With this policy change, providers may refer their patients with a Blue Cross VT health plan to Open MRI without the need for prior authorization. This will simplify the process and expedite access to essential diagnostic imaging services. Open MRI has extended hours (7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Saturday and occasional Sundays), adding convenience for members scheduling an MRI.

One of the driving factors behind this decision is the exceptional quality and technology offered by Open MRI. Their recently installed state-of-the-art 3-Tesla (3T) MRI machine has garnered exceptionally positive feedback from referring physicians for its advanced imaging capabilities, which aids in providing accurate diagnoses and comprehensive patient care.

“Since the addition of our 1.2T Open Scanner in 2021 our patients’ access to MRI services nearly doubled,” said Todd Kummer of Vermont Open MRI. “The decision to add the 3T wide-bore scanner was simply to keep up with demand and meet the needs of referring specialists. We strive to support our patient’s by consistently delivering timely, comfortable, high-quality, low-cost imaging.”

By removing the prior authorization requirement, Blue Cross VT is empowering patients and their health care providers to make informed decisions swiftly while ensuring access to high-quality MRI services without unnecessary administrative hurdles.

"We are thrilled with this partnership with Open MRI to streamline access to essential services," said Dr. Weigel. "This initiative aligns with our mission to prioritize patient care while promoting efficient, cost-effective health care practices. The innovative technology and positive feedback received for the 3T MRI machine further reinforce our commitment to supporting superior care for our members."

This significant policy change emphasizes our commitment to patient-centric care and highlights Blue Cross VT’s dedication to collaborating with providers who deliver exceptional quality health care services while managing costs effectively.

For more information or inquiries about these changes, please call (802) 223-6131 or visit

Visit or to learn more about their services, read patient reviews and see pictures of their scanner options.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont is a local, not-for-profit health plan. For over 40 years, the company has been enhancing the health and well-being of the Vermonters we serve by offering innovative plans to individuals, older Vermonters, and businesses. Our employees are dedicated to developing new ways to support high-quality care, programs, and events that promote wellness.