Let’s Talk About the Cost of a Colonoscopy

Before a big procedure like a colonoscopy, patients will likely have many questions about what to expect during the colonoscopy and what the recovery period looks like. But, patients don’t always ask about the cost ahead of time.

A colonoscopy is an exam of the inside of the large intestine using a colonoscope, a long and flexible tube with a lighted camera on the end. These may be done to investigate intestinal signs and symptoms, screen for colon cancer, look for polyps, and/or treat a related issue. If your doctor has recommended a colonoscopy, you’ll want to ask what to expect from the procedure and after you have recovered. You’ll also want to know what costs to expect and reduce the chance of a surprise bill.

On the Wear The Cost website, the colonoscopy “episode of care” includes the total cost of all covered services related to the procedure, whether the service takes place in a hospital or in an outpatient facility.

By including the related services before, during, and after the procedure, Wear The Cost captures the total cost of care of a colonoscopy. The costs are based on health insurance claims data, which reflects what health insurers actually paid providers for their services and the patients’ out-of-pocket costs.

In Maryland, the cost of a colonoscopy can range from about $1,700 to over $2,100 with private insurance and about $2,000 to over $2,200 with Medicaid, depending on the hospital where the procedure takes place. These costs include things you expect, like the colonoscope and anesthesia. They also include treatments for complications that you hope not to experience and could potentially be avoided. Common potentially avoidable complications for a colonoscopy include atrial flutter/fibrillation, cardiac arrhythmias, urinary tract infections, and fluid and electrolyte problems. Some hospitals have more costs associated with potentially avoidable complications than others. Knowing both the costs associated with the procedure and the rate of potentially avoidable complications can help patients as they consider where to get their procedure – something everyone should think about.

To learn more about what colonoscopies cost in Maryland and which hospitals may offer a better value, check out https://www.wearthecost.org/episodes/colonoscopy. Or create your own custom report to compare hospitals: https://www.wearthecost.org/report_step1.html.