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How much does a colonoscopy cost?
May 26, 2022
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How much does a colonoscopy cost?

A colonoscopy can cost anywhere from $1,250 to just under $5,000. Booking a colonoscopy screening or consultation on Sesame guarantees you the best price on gastroenterologist services near you. The cost of a colonoscopy often depends on your insurance plan, where you live, and whether or not the examination is being done as an outpatient or inpatient procedure. If you require sedation for a diagnostic colonoscopy or biopsy, the cost of the anesthesiologist’s services and the facility fee can increase your out-of-pocket costs or copay. In addition, these preventative screening tests may be more expensive if you are uninsured. That’s why it’s important to understand the average cost of a colonoscopy nationally and in your specific region to make a more informed and financially sound decision.

National Average Colonoscopy Cost: $2,750

National Range: $1,250-$4,800

Sesame Average: $2,545.50

Sesame Range: $1,000-$4,985

What is a colonoscopy?

A colonoscopy procedure is a type of endoscopy used to detect abnormalities in the large intestine (colon) and rectum. This is performed by inserting a long, flexible tube, known as a colonoscope, into the rectum. A tiny video camera at the tip of the tube allows a doctor to see inside the entire colon.

This tube also allows doctors to remove polyps and other abnormal growths, and take tissue samples (biopsies).

Why do I need a colonoscopy?

Colonoscopy procedures are used as colorectal cancer screening exams and a tool for colon polyp removal before they turn into cancer. In addition to being a tool for colon cancer screening, they may be used to look inside your large intestine to find the causes of things like abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, or changes in bowel habits. They can help doctors diagnose inflammatory bowel disease and differentiate between Chrone's disease and ulcerative colitis. A doctor may also schedule a follow-up exam if any polyps are removed during the procedure.

If you're age 50 or older and at average risk of colon cancer and have no family history of colon cancer or other risk factors your health care provider may recommend a screening colonoscopy every 10 years or sometimes sooner to screen for colon cancer. If you are at high risk for colon cancer (with a family history of colon cancer), or an African American male, you may be get your first screening earlier and more frequently. Research shows that African American men are being diagnosed at a younger average age than others. Therefore, the American Cancer Society (ACA) suggests that African-American men should begin their screening at age 45.

What is an endoscopy procedure?

Endoscopy procedures are nonsurgical tests used to examine the internal organs. The traditional endoscopy procedure involves inserting a small, flexible tube into the body’s cavities to view the internal organs. After the patient receiving the procedure is sedated, the gastroenterologist inserts the flexible tube - with a camera at its end - into the body through the mouth. This tube snakes through the digestive tract, allowing the gastroenterologist to view the internal organs.

Another procedure, capsule endoscopy, involves the patient swallowing a small pill-sized capsule that houses a tiny camera. As this capsule moves through the digestive tract, the small camera takes pictures of the internal organs from inside the body. These images are then sent to a recording device in the doctor’s office for review.

Why would I need an endoscopy?

Endoscopy is a diagnostic test used to examine the internal organs for disease.

This proceduce can help detect and diagnose conditions such as:
- Cancers of the gastrointestinal tract
- Anemia
- Inflammation of the internal organs
- Polyps
- Internal bleeding
- Foreign objects trapped in the GI tract


Endoscopies are relatively straightforward procedures that require little recovery time. You may be asked to stay at the doctor’s office while the sedation wears off, but this usually only takes an hour or so. After the procedure, you may experience mild symptoms of gas or bloating, but these sensations will usually go away within several hours. If these symptoms persist, talk to your health care provider.

What determines the cost of a colonoscopy?

The factors that determine the total cost of a colonoscopy include your insurance coverage, the location of the gastroenterology clinic, and whether or not you receive the screening as a part of an inpatient (requiring an overnight stay) or outpatient procedure.

Insurance: Your health care costs for a colonoscopy depends on your insurance provider and insurance plan. Because of the Affordable Care Act, most colonoscopies are at least partially covered by insurance companies. However, some high-deductible plans or low-cost health plans may mean that the insurance carrier covers less of the procedure. Talk to your health insurance provider and gastroenterologist before you schedule a colonoscopy to get a more informed idea about how much of the medical procedure will be covered - and what you will have to pay for out-of-pocket.

Location: Depending on where you live, the cost of a colonoscopy may vary. Below are a range of prices for this procedure from major metropolitan areas around the country. The national average cost of a colonoscopy is $2,750 without insurance. The average cost of a colonoscopy booked through Sesame is $2,545.50. Because Sesame works directly with health care providers, you are guaranteed the best price on a colonoscopy booked through our marketplace - no matter where you live.

Facility: Most diagnostic colonoscopies are performed at outpatient facilities such as a gastroenterology clinic. However, if a biopsy is being performed, or if the colonoscopy is being done in conjunction with other procedures, you may require an inpatient stay at a surgery center or hospital. In general, inpatient procedures are more expensive than outpatient procedures, and may increase your out-of-pocket expenses.

Is a colonoscopy painful?

In most cases, patients are sedated for the procedure and don't feel anything. Afterward, it is not uncommon to experience some cramping, bloating, passing of gas, and even some blood in your stool. If you bleed more than just a little or experience abdominal pain, fever, or chills, call your doctor right away.

When should I see a gastroenterology specialist?

Gastroenterologists specialize in any conditions related to the digestive or gastrointestinal tracts, which encompass the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, colon, rectum, pancreas, gallbladder, bile ducts, and liver. Your primary care provider may refer you to a gastroenterologist if you're experiencing abdominal pain, chronic diarrhea or constipation, heartburn, acid reflux, bloating, black bowel movements, rectal bleeding, sudden and unexplainable weight loss, having difficulty swallowing, and more. Starting at the age of 50, it is recommended that you start getting screened routinely for rectal and colon cancer via a colonoscopy.

What is colorectal cancer?

Colorectal cancer is a form of cancer that affects the colon or rectum, which are located at the lower end of the digestive tract. Early cases may begin as noncancerous polyps. These polyps often have no symptoms, but can be detected by screening. For this reason, regular colon cancer screenings are highly recommended, particularly in individuals over 50.

How do I get a fair price for a colonoscopy?

As with any procedure, it is important to review the total cost of a colonoscopy with your gastroenterologist. Talk through each cost, and whether or not it is necessary for you. Because inpatient visits are often more expensive, you can ask your doctor if the procedure can be performed as an outpatient appointment. It is also recommended that your browse gastroenterology providers in your area to get an informed sense on how much the procedure costs in your area. When you look for health care services on Sesame, the upfront cash price of the procedure is listed alongside those of other participating providers. This guarantees you the best price available - without the surprise bills and fees associated with insurance networks.

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