I went through a $6500 out of pocket shoulder surgery this year. My plan is cheap but high on deds.
Both my knees hurt, and my right shoulder now (not the operated one).
My doc thinks it's just tendonitis mostly, but is concerned with how much clicks and pops my right shoulder makes (it has since my 20's). If I make fists both my hands give off nice sounds that haven't hurt me yet
Long story short, I need three MRI's, they won't authorize them. I am getting my shoulder done though.
Check out MRI costs in your area and find a doctor willing to work with you for cash. If you don't need contrast this should cost less than $1500. An MRI with injected contrast (a surgical procedure) is very expensive. I had to pay $2600 for my shoulder one. The first basic MRI was 100% covered. The second with contrast was the very same except for 10-15 mins of a doctor using a scope and a very long needle to shoot contrast into my shoulder.
Without a group plan, no one will treat pre-existing. Insurance <> health care.
If you were facing insurance running out, you really should have insisted on an MRI and resulting surgery if needed.
Usually if you are young and a male, something like a Blue Cross/Blue Shield plan is pretty reasonable to carry. Back in the 90's it was costing me $125-175 a month. I used to carry private insurance always since when I was young most group plans would cost me more for less coverage unless heavily employer paid.