Ideally, colonoscopy cost should not be the determining factor on whether someone has the procedure, but in today’s economy the concern over medical procedure prices is on many people’s minds. In 2010, the number of people in the US without health insurance rose to nearly 50 million or 16.3% of the population. While a colonoscopy procedure is an invaluable tool in colon cancer screening, for those without insurance colonoscopy costs is a real concern. It is also easy to understand why someone would not want to pay a lot of money to put themselves through colonoscopy preparation voluntarily. Some factors can help lower the overall cost of a colonoscopy, such as where you have the procedure done and the manner in which you pay.
With ranges from around $1000 all the way up to $8000 it is nearly impossible to give an accurate estimation of what you might expect to pay. Average colonoscopy prices fall usually between $2000 and $4000. With all the factors that can influence colonoscopy cost, there are a few that have the most impact.
Colonoscopy Cost – Facility
Where you get your colonoscopy done can have huge consequences on your medical bill. Having the procedure done in a hospital usually adds significantly to the bottom line. Hospital fees include the cost of hospital personnel, hospital equipment and drugs used in the colonoscopy procedure. This is probably the single biggest area to save when it comes to colonoscopy cost. Having a colonoscopy done in a outpatient surgical center or a specialized endoscopy center can eliminate the hospital fees and could reduce your colonoscopy cost by as much as 50%.
If money is tight, explain to your doctor your situation and see if they can recommend somewhere outside of the hospital setting where you can have your colonoscopy done.
Other than the facility fee, you may see other charges on your final bill. These include items such as labs, doctor fees, prep fee, blood tests and pharmacy fees. If anything is found during your colonoscopy additional fees may be charged for colon polyp removal and tissue biopsies. After the procedure is finished, there may also be fees for the follow up examinations. Also, the anesthesiologist used during the colonoscopy may have a separate fee as well.
Most centers usually do not do financing, but if you offer to pay your bill in cash they might offer you a significant discount on the procedure. Don’t be afraid to ask if the prices they list are the best prices that they can offer. You might be surprised.
It is okay to shop around to try and get the best price. When you are going through this process ask the physician or the surgical center staff if they can give you a print out of all the expected fees associated with your colonoscopy procedure. A bunch of little fees can really add up and inflate the total colonoscopy cost.
Affordable Care Act
Under the new Affordable Care Act in the US, those receiving Medicare and patients with new private health insurance plans are entitled to free colonoscopy screening as recommended for patients over 50 years of age. While the colonoscopy is supposed to be free as it used as a preventative measure in the screening for colon cancer and other diseases, if anything is found and removed during the colonoscopy you may be charged for the removal procedure. Even though they technically can, some insurance companies and Medicare are not charging for removal. It is important to go over your policy and speak to someone beforehand to see if you will be charged if anything is found.
It is understandable to not want to shell out a thousand or a few thousand dollars on a procedure that “might” find something, but the alternative to not finding that something in time comes with a much higher price. Colon cancer found early enough has a high survival rate. Colonoscopy cost may seem exorbitant and may stretch the budget for the uninsured, but it is hard to put a price on early detection. Speak to your doctor about what you can expect with regards to colonoscopy cost, and shop around, it’s worth it.