Prior to the Age of Enlightenment (the 1800’s), the idea of analyzing diseases afflicting the internal system of a live patient seemed a terrifying idea – if not practically unfeasible. The procedures back then were either ineffective at best or dangerous at worst.
But in 1806, a German doctor named Philipp Bozzini invented a diagnostic instrument that allows physicians to examine the inner channels of the body like the ears, mouth, nasal cavity, rectum, urethra, the female bladder, and even deep perforating wounds. More than 200 years of development has made the endoscope a viable tool for investigating physical symptoms that are not observable by the naked eye.
Today, endoscopy has become a standard procedure preceding any treatment. According to Web MD, general endoscopy is required for anyone who feels the following symptoms describing problems in the digestive tract:
- Stomach pain
- Ulcer or gastritis
- Difficulty swallowing
- Chronic constipation
- Chronic diarrhea
Prior to administering this invasive exam, the patient is required to fast for 6 to 8 hours. This means no consumption of solid or liquid substance. If it involves a lower endoscopy through the colon, it is advisable for patients to clear themselves of stool. Taking a laxative is often recommended the day before endoscopy.
During the day of the procedure, a patient is sedated to relax all muscles. The patient is asleep for an hour – enough time for the physician to examine the source of the symptom. Though the sedative wears off within 60 minutes or so, it is not advisable for the patient to drive home until the next day due to the potential risk of the medicine residue in the system.
National Average Cost
So, how much does an endoscopy cost? When it comes to knowing the usual EGD price, there is a huge difference between the rate paid by insured patients and uninsured patients. Those who are covered in their health insurance plans gets to pay only 10% to 50% of the procedure cost in addition to the specific co-pay deal.
For those who are paying for the procedure out of their own pockets, the broad price range is between $1,500 and $10,000. Amidst these two cost limits, the conservative estimate for the national average cost is anywhere around $4,078.
Top 15 Least Expensive Locations
Location can pretty much contribute to the differences in exact costs within the given out-of-pocket price range. In essence, there are certain locations in the United States wherein the average upper endoscopy cost is relatively much cheaper than the projected value. These are the following facilities and price spectrum highlighted by New Choice Health:
- $420 to $1,400: Same Day Surgery Center (Minot, North Dakota)
- $430 to $1,400: Ambulatory Surgery Center of Opelousas (Los Angeles, California)
- $430 to $1,400: Spring Creek Surgery Center (Hot Springs, Arkansas)
- $450 to $1,500: Mississippi Coast Endoscopy and Ambulatory Surgery Center (Pascagoula, Mississippi)
- $450 to $1,500: Southern Kentucky Endoscopy Center (Bowling Green, Kentucky)
- $450 to $1,500: Physicians Surgery Center of Chattanooga (Chattanooga, Tennessee)
- $460 to $1,550: The Surgical and Endoscopic Center of Stephenville (Stephenville, Texas)
- $460 to $1,550: Clearview Surgical Institute (Laredo, Texas)
- $470 to $1,550: Coral Desert Surgery Center (St. George, Utah)
- $480 to $1,600: Albermarle Hospital (Elizabeth City, North Carolina)
- $480 to $1,600: Peoria Day Surgery Center (Peoria, Illinois)
- $490 to $1,600: Lawrence County Surgery Center (New Castle, Pennsylvania)
- $490 to $1,600: Valley View Surgical Center (Lebanon, Pennsylvania)
- $490 to $1,650: Surgical Center for Excellence (Panama City, Florida)
- $500 to $1,650: Saint Charles Surgical Pavilion (Jasper, Indiana)
The MD Save Option
Aside from asking, ‘how much does an endoscopy cost?’ it would be better to inquire, ‘how can one get a discount without insurance?’ As it happens, one of the most well-known providers of quality health care service at a huge markdown rate is MD Save.
Instead of paying the national average cost, MD Save subscribers can avail of the procedure within the EGD price range of $1,107 to $2,605. These are the following states with MD Save endoscopy branches, entailing a total of 212 providers:
- Arizona: 3 providers
- Florida: 44 providers
- Georgia: 7 providers
- Illinois: 7 providers
- Indiana: 7 providers
- Kentucky: 6 providers
- Mississippi: 2 providers
- Missouri: 13 providers
- Nevada: 1 provider
- New Mexico: 4 providers
- Ohio: 9 providers
- Oklahoma: 33 providers
- Pennsylvania: 18 providers
- South Carolina: 10 providers
- Tennessee: 39 providers
- Texas: 24 providers
- Virginia: 5 providers
- Wyoming: 2 providers
The Capsule Endoscopy
A couple of centuries developing the endoscope have managed to produce a breakthrough. As of the mid-1990’s, the principle of the wireless camera was incorporated into the development of the capsule endoscopy. Apart from the encumbrance of the lengthy cable passing through the digestive tract, one of the key advantages of capsule endoscopy is its ability to examining narrower passages.
Case in point: its knack for easily entering the small intestinal mucosa makes the relatively expedient diagnosis of Crohn’s Disease possible. A capsule endoscopy takes 24 to 48 hours to complete its tour through the digestive tract. As of 2001, this procedure was granted the approval for standard use by the Food and Drug Association (FDA). There are over 500,000 capsule endoscopy procedures administered in the United States, with more than 1,000 medical journals reviewing its clinical use.
If there is one compelling advantage about capsule endoscopy, it is its improvement of the average upper endoscopy cost. According to a blog published by Harvard University, the broad price range for this medical procedure is roughly around $800 to $4,000.
Unfortunately, capsule endoscopy may have its own anecdotal limitations. An article published by the New England Journal of Medicine in 2009 has concluded that this method does not always stack up to a standard examination of polyps in the colon. However, it is important to take note that this result only reflects the performance of one particular brand (PhilCam).