Kim Kardashian is facing major backlash for promoting a $2,500 MRI scan on Instagram: ‘People can’t afford food right now’

Update, August 10: The story now reflects an exclusive quote from Prenuvo regarding Kim Kardashian's Instagram post and the cost of their scans.

Kim Kardashian has taken to Instagram to promote a “life-saving machine” that she claims can “detect cancer and diseases such as aneurysms in its earliest stages” — and now, she’s facing backlash.

In its first 24 hours, the post quickly gained viral attention, generating over 2 million likes and 18,000 comments — many of which are roasting Kardashian, accusing her of being “disconnected from the average American’s realities.”

This isn’t the first time a member of the Kardashian/Jenner clan has faced backlash for flaunting their privilege. Last year, TikTok was shocked to discover the cost of Kylie Jenner’s kids’ teddy bears, which some said could pay off their student loan debt.

But this latest post from Kardashian seems to have struck a nerve with viewers, promoting a level of access to medical care that many Americans can’t afford.

In a caption to the post, Kardashian wrote, “I recently did this @prenuvo scan and had to tell you all about this life saving machine. The Prenuvo full-body scan has the ability to detect cancer and diseases such as aneurysms in its earliest stages, before symptoms arise. It was like getting a MRI for an hour with no radiation. It has really saved some of my friends lives, and I just wanted to share #NotAnAd.”

Almost immediately, the post — which Kardashian states is not promotional, per the hashtag #NotAnAd — garnered a wave of angry comments.

“Kim, this is for wealthy people. People can’t afford food right now,” wrote @sdeelorenzo, a comment that was liked by over 27,000 users.

“Love a billionaire recommending preventative care that is totally inaccessible to 98% of your fan base, total vibe,” wrote @littlemissfingerguns.

“If only it was affordable and accessible to the average person. As usual you’re disconnected from the average Americans realities,” commented @sunziedavis.

Others commented in order to correct Kardashian’s assertion about MRI scans producing radiation (which, according to Johns Hopkins University, they do not).

“(X-Ray tech here): MRI’s don’t have any radiation. 😊 but this is a really cool machine! Hoping to one day get the chance to operate it,” wrote @celina.drozier, a comment that was endorsed by many other X-ray technicians.

However, not everyone took issue with Kardashian’s post — particularly other celebrities.

“Love @prenuvo 🙌😍,” commented Paris Hilton.

“Booked it,” wrote Dee Ocleppo Hilfiger, former wife of fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger.

What is Prenuvo?

The company at the heart of Kardashian’s post is Prenuvo, a medical technology startup based in Vancouver, B.C.

According to their website, Prenuvo is “a world pioneer in the development and application of clinical-diagnostic quality multiparametric MRI screening in a clinical setting.”

“Rather than wait for symptoms to present and disease to progress, Prenuvo provides early insight into what is going on under the skin,” the website adds. “Armed with detailed health information, you’ll be able to make proactive, informed decisions about your health.”

It continues, “Fast, safe and non-invasive, we provide deep insights for earlier detection with findings delivered in one clear, complete report. Spend more time on what is important — improving health outcomes.”

Screenshot from Prenuvo’s <a href="" data-ylk="slk:Instagram;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Instagram</a> Stories (<a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:@prenuvo;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">@prenuvo</a>)

Prenuvo shared Kardashian’s post to its Instagram Stories, writing, “Thank you @kimkardashian for your generous goodwill support. With 1 in 20 patients of Prenuvo getting alerted to potentially life-saving findings, you are literally saving lives.”

They continue, “We cannot wait to keep working on our side to make this more widely accessible, lowering cost, and convincing the insurance systems to start covering proactive health care. We’re also so glad to hear we’ve impacted the health trajectory of your friends!”

How much does a Prenuvo scan cost?

According to the company’s pricing information, patients have a choice of three scans:

  • Torso: $999

  • Head & Torso: $1,799

  • Whole Body: $2,499

On its FAQ page, the company addresses the question of whether or not the scans are covered by health insurance.

“Not at this time. We are at the cutting edge of revolutionizing whole body screening. While many studies are showing the effectiveness of whole body MRI, no public facility is conducting these examinations,” they explain.

“It might take years, unfortunately, for healthcare plans to cover preventative MRI scans. Many of our members have been able to get full or partial reimbursement [through] their insurance/[extended] insurance providers. We recommend you check with your provider to confirm coverage.”

112 million Americans struggle to afford health care

In a 2022 press release from West Health, it was announced that an estimated 112 million (44%) American adults are struggling to pay for health care, and more than double that number (93%) feel that what they do pay is not worth the cost.

The release, which contains findings from Gallup, the global analytics and advice company, explains that, according to the Healthcare Affordability Index, poll respondents are considered “cost desperate” if they report that they are experiencing three key financial challenges:

  • Unable to pay for needed medical treatment over the prior three months.

  • Skipped prescribed medication due to cost over the prior three months.

  • Unable to afford quality care if it was needed today.

“Over one-third (35%) of cost desperate adults report that they have cut back on utilities, and half have cut back on food in the past 12 months to pay for necessary health care, rates that are 10 times greater than their cost secure counterparts,” the release states.

“Another 14% of this group know a friend or family member who has died in the last 12 months after not receiving treatment due to an inability to pay for it.”

Tim Lash, president of West Health, said in the release, “These indices are tracking the healthcare cost crisis in America and its impact on everyday Americans. Bottom line — Americans are increasingly getting priced out of the system and many of those who can still afford to pay don’t think they’re getting their money’s worth relative to the cost. We must begin to change this trajectory with smarter policies that put patients over profits.”

In The Know by Yahoo reached out to Prenuvo for comment and received the following response:

"Prenuvo doesn’t pay for sponsorships or public advocacy. We are grateful to Kim for sharing her story and spreading awareness about the potentially life-saving detections of a Prenuvo scan."

The representative continued, "On cost: We are actively working on our side to make this more widely accessible, lowering cost, and convincing the insurance systems to start covering proactive healthcare – this has been our goal from the beginning since opening our doors."

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