How Much Is a Colonoscopy Without Insurance?

Colonoscopies play a big role in preventing various colon diseases, with the big one being colon cancer.

However, procedures can be expensive if you aren’t covered by your insurance or if you don’t have insurance. 

So, let’s have a look at how much a colonoscopy is without insurance.

How Much Is A Colonoscopy Without Insurance?

Not having insurance and wanting to get a colonoscopy done will certainly cost you more than a few bucks. 

If you have insurance, chances are that the colonoscopy will be covered fully, or you may need to pay a smaller fee. 

The average cost of a colonoscopy in the United States can range anywhere between $1250 and $5000. 

The national average is around $2750, the outpatient facility average is $2550, and the inpatient facilities have a higher average sitting at $4350.

What Affects The Cost Of A Colonoscopy

Certain aspects will affect the cost of the colonoscopy, and it’s important we understand this before rushing into the procedure.

State/Location

The price of a colonoscopy, or any procedure for that matter, will differ from state to state.

For example, if you’re living in Los Angeles, you will find that almost every procedure will be double, if not triple, the price of most major cities. 

If you don’t have insurance, you’ll want to go to a hospital outside of the city. Phone around for the best possible quote.

However, don’t venture into an unreliable hospital. Do your research and if the price is right, get the colonoscopy.

Prescriptions

Throughout the US, almost all colonoscopies will require some form of anesthesia, meaning that patients will be asleep or barely conscious during the procedure.

The stronger your sedative, the higher your prescription fee.

If the fee you’re paying is too high for your liking, ask your doctor if they can recommend the most affordable and generic versions to lower the cost

Risk Factor

You may find that patients who are at a high risk of developing colon cancer will be charged more than the average patient.

The reason being is that the more intense cases need to be dealt with immediately.

Also, if a patient has any pre-existing medical conditions or hereditary syndromes, like adenomatous polyposis, then they will be charged more.

Office Costs

If you’ve had a consultation before the procedure, then that cost will fall under this section.

It also includes any follow-up visits to your doctor after the procedure has concluded.

This cost will affect all colonoscopies without insurance.

Whether you’re being booked into a hospital or going for a check-up from your primary care practitioner, you’re bound to pay a fee.

Outpatient Vs Inpatient Colonoscopy Costs

Another factor that affects the cost of a colonoscopy is whether you’re in an inpatient or outpatient. But what exactly does that mean and what are the differences?

INPATIENT

In its most simple terms, an inpatient service is when a person gets admitted to the hospital and stays there overnight. The reason for this is that the patients need to be monitored closely.

The most common examples of inpatient services include surgeries, childbirth, high acuity illness, and continuous monitoring.

Inpatient colonoscopies are less common but have their fair share of benefits.

The first is allowing doctors to accelerate and advance the assessment of patients who end up waiting months for an outpatient procedure.

Another advantage is that it enables doctors to facilitate pre-procedural care for patients who need it.

With these benefits comes a price increase.

Since inpatient facilities require admission and overnight stay, you’re looking at a price anywhere between $4000 and $5000 without insurance.

You will also need to consider anesthesia costs as this option is mostly catered towards people who don’t want to be awake during the procedure.

OUTPATIENT

Outpatient is a service where a patient requires no hospitalization. In other words, simply going to your primary care practitioner for a check-up is an example of an outpatient service.

If a patient goes to an emergency department and walks out on the same day, it’s still regarded as an outpatient service.

You will find that outpatient colonoscopies are the most common type and are significantly cheaper.

The doctor will perform the procedure while you’re awake and the level of anesthesia is less than if you were admitted to the hospital. This means the fee for the anesthesia will be less.

The doctor will guide you through the process and communicate if there are any signs of polyps.

Once the procedure is finished, the doctor will watch you closely to ensure that there haven’t been any complications post-procedure.

In most cases, it’ll be a few hours before you get home, and you won’t be able to drive home because of the anesthesia.

Without insurance, you’re looking at a ballpark price of around $2000 and up.

The Importance Of Colonoscopies

Our GI tract is susceptible to many diseases, with the most common and deadliest of them all being colon cancer. It’s a malignant growth that occurs in the large intestine and is typically found in those over the age of 50, but it can affect anyone.

If you don’t treat your colon cancer in time, it can affect you for the rest of your life. Many patients end up getting chemotherapy or surgery as part of the treatment.

So, we must try to prevent colon cancer to avoid these drastic changes in our lives and colonoscopies are key.

A colonoscopy allows doctors to get a direct visualization of the colon. They use a flexible camera with a light to traverse throughout the rectum and survey the colon. Doctors are on the lookout for any polyps, and upon discovery, they are safely removed.

Not removing these polyps causes growth in the colon which then turns into colon cancer.

As much as colonoscopies sound and feel unpleasant, you must go through with them so that these polyps don’t grow.

Colonoscopies are generally geared towards those over 45 as it’s very uncommon in your 20s. 

If you’re in your 70s or 80s, you should consult your general practitioner as it may be dangerous.

How To Prepare For A Colonoscopy 

Seven days ahead of the procedure, your doctor may prescribe a form of laxatives to cleanse your system before the procedure takes place. 

They will also recommend moist wipes as regular toilet paper might be harsh after constant trips to the toilet from the laxatives. 

You should also implement some dietary changes. Start including low-fiber foods and plenty of water. Try to stay away from fatty, processed foods and spicy foods.

Your doctor will inform you in more detail about the process of taking laxatives before your procedure. 

On the day of your colonoscopy, it’s important that you don’t drink or eat anything. The reason for this is to prevent you from getting sick post-procedure. Many who drink water or juice before the procedure end up vomiting. 

At the end of the day, your doctor will advise you on how to prepare for the procedure. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How will I know if I need a colonoscopy?

Knowing whether you need a colonoscopy or not depends on if you have any of the symptoms of colon cancer.

One of these symptoms includes a change in bowel habits like constipation and diarrhea lasting for 2 or more days.

Another is the narrowing of your stool. If your stool appears narrower than usual or has a different size or shape than usual. The cause of this is due to an external polyp.

Finally, you may have abdominal pain or bloating with pain in the lower back region.

There are less common signs like bleeding from the rectum and vomiting, but either way, there’s no harm in getting a colonoscopy to check everything out. 

It is recommended to start screening for colon cancer with a colonoscopy from age 45 and repeat every ten years. 

How long is the procedure?

Colonoscopies are relatively quick and take under an hour to be completed.

You will however need to wait around 2 hours before heading back home, and you won’t be able to drive yourself either.

The procedure itself is around 30 minutes and another 15 minutes will be dedicated to your doctor informing you about any polyps.

Do I need anesthesia for a colonoscopy?

In most cases, unless you have a high pain tolerance and rarely feel discomfort, then you will need some form of sedative.

However, sedation is optional, and if you opt for a sedative-free procedure, you still have the chance to use a sedative.

Otherwise, you may want to consult a physician who is experienced in sedation-free colonoscopies as they will know how to reduce the level of discomfort.

What are the side effects of a colonoscopy?

If you have a polyp removed from your colon, you may notice that your stool will be red. This is due to the rectum recovering from the procedure.

In most cases the bleeding is subtle, but if you notice you’re bleeding too much, then you should have it treated immediately.

Most doctors are extremely careful when performing the procedure so situations like the puncturing of your rectum wall are unlikely. Should this happen, however, the damage can be repaired with surgery.

Lastly, you may have reactions to the anesthesia instead of the procedure itself.

Conclusion

Not having insurance when going through with procedures and operations will certainly cost you. In fact, in most cases, the insurance covers the colonoscopy fully. 

There’s this stigma that insurance coverage costs a fortune, but that’s not true. Whether you have a low income or struggle to find insurance plans, usingEnhance Health is a perfect way to get started.

You’ll be able to find reliable and affordable insurance and get that colonoscopy done and dusted.