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If you were looking for an answer to how much does a colonoscopy cost with insurance, you might go ask your insurance company. Mine – United HealthCare — has a treatment cost estimator online. (Wait, should I link here to the news story about United Healthcare and price-fixing? To web site, with the happy strawberries? To the Wikipedia article, with some not fully promotional information? To the parent company’s Web site?)

Just a note: as a preventive treatment, for some companies the colonoscopy is free. It is also a powerful predictor of future problems, which is why it is recommended for most adults over 50.

My insurance company predicted this: “Estimated Treatment Cost: $1,464-3,609; Plan Responsibility: $1,125-2,952; Member Responsibility: $339-657.”

My actual experience: Bill totaled $2,797; plan paid $2,263.85; my co-pay was $90.

A girlfriend’s experience: Bill totaled $5,544, plan paid $2,750.08, her copay was 0. (She had a different provider and has a different insurance plan.)

She also had $950 in lab charges, while I had $250. You don’t need to think about that too long, but still.

If you wanted to ask the question “How much does a colonoscopy cost with insurance?” you might go on the Web. There are a lot of services and sites out there that seek to answer this question. You can see a number of them on our links page. Here’s a sampling.

One said the range would be from $1,480 to $5,044.

Another site pegged the price at a cool $1,550, and offered a printable detailed pricing agreement.

A third said the range of prices was from $1,750 to $23,500. Yep, $23,500. And they helpfully offered to send an e-mail to providers asking them to submit a bid.

A fourth site said the range would be from $2010 to $3674, with the average out-of-pocket payment ranging from zero to more than $1,000.

Another site, this one the Medicare reimbursement rate schedule, aid the cost would be $2,470, with the average Medicare reimbursement $329. Oddly, in Saratoga, the average submitted charge for this procedure is $799, while in Queens, the average submitted charge is $4,500.

Or you could go to, which is essentially a Priceline site for medical procedures, where you name your price and see if anyone bids, but without William Shatner. (Update: The site is now defunct.) I went and offered a price of $2,797 for a colonoscopy. Sadly, there were no takers. (I even named a price of $10,000, but got no takers there, either.)

So how much does a colonoscopy cost with insurance?

Jeanne Pinder

Jeanne Pinder  is the founder and CEO of ClearHealthCosts. She worked at The New York Times for almost 25 years as a reporter, editor and human resources executive, then volunteered for a buyout and founded...