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Medicare Coverage for Colonoscopy Screenings


Medicare coverage for colonoscopy screenings is available for eligible people. However, it’s essential to keep in mind the type of coverage Medicare offers.

Our country’s health program is federally funded, offering various plan options. Although each plan type provides different benefits, your plan cost of a service may change.

Does Medicare Cover Colonoscopy Screenings

Getting right to it, yes, Medicare pays for colonoscopies. Coverage includes a broad range of preventive care services, including screenings.

Part B pays for colonoscopy coverage for screening services like colorectal cancer testing. Doctors use preventive tests to help expose diseases during their earliest stages.

Screenings often detect the early onset of cancer and precancerous growths (polyps). Again, costs and benefits vary.

Medicare Coverage for Diagnostic Colonoscopy

Diagnostic colonoscopies differ from preventive screenings. Therefore, diagnostics and preventives may have different costs; every plan may have its value set in place.

Those with Parts A and B insurance typically pay 20% of the price for each service allowable by Medicare. The other 80% is under either Part A or B. Inpatient, and hospital services fall under Part A insurance; Part B pays for diagnostic and outpatient services.

Medicare Advantage plans may help with some out of pocket costs. Part C plans are popular due to the benefits they offer that aren’t part of Medicare.

Does Medicare Cover Screenings for a Colonoscopy

Part B pays all costs for preventive services, including the anesthesia used during the procedure. However, coverage is only when your doctor accepts the assignment.

Meaning, the Part B deductible doesn’t apply. Over 4,500 Americans get cancer diagnosis every day, and the risk grows with age.

Screenings and cancer treatments are part of Medicare benefits. Those with a Medigap plan and Part D find their treatment has incredible coverage.

Medicare and the Gastroenterologist

Be sure to talk to your plan directly or ask the doctor if they accept your insurance. However, not having a Gastroenterologist (GI) in your network is terrifying.

Take the advice of the famous Fresh Prince of BelAir (Will Smith). After turning 50, it was his time to get a screening. GI doctors are specialists that perform this test.

What better way to celebrate and increase awareness for colorectal cancer – he made his colonoscopy public!

His Gastroenterologist, Sophie Balzora, MD, even went on record about it. She mentioned Will Smith’s behavior in his vlog discussion before the procedure.

She said, “asking questions and sharing his concerns, even in a humorous way – helped normalize the procedure.”

How Much Does a Colonoscopy Cost Out of Pocket

The bill following a colonoscopy for an uninsured person can range from as low as $600 to more than $5,000. Out of pocket costs are different depending on location, CPT codes, and how long it takes. Self-pay patients should consider all the fees and compare rates before shelling out hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Determining the cost of a colonoscopy can be difficult due to all the different aspects of the procedure. Moving parts include the anesthesiology, performing doctor’s fee, facility fee, prep costs, consultations, and follow-ups.

How Much Does Medicare pay for a Colonoscopy

Part A or B pays for a colonoscopy in full when the procedure is preventive. The test becomes a diagnostic service when tissues or polyps are detected and removed.

Medicare pays 80% of the allowable costs, and you’re going to pay the remaining 20%. Part C offers similar or better coverage when using in-network doctors.

How much your plan pays for screening isn’t cut and dry. Many factors play into the cost of service.

Contact your carrier directly and talk to your doctor to determine an estimated value.

If your doctor suggests a colonoscopy that exceeds the amount Medicare covers, you may need to cover the balance.

Before the actual screening, ask your doctor about costs and why you need the test.

How Often Does Medicare pay for a Colonoscopy

Some patients are more likely than others for a colon cancer diagnosis. These patients are known as high-risk beneficiaries by CMS. After reaching one of Medicare’s requirements, at-risk patients are covered for one colonoscopy every two years, with zero out-of-pocket costs.

Otherwise, non-high-risk patients have one screening every ten years. Of course, there are some exceptions to the rules.

If you undergo a similar procedure that doesn’t probe the entire colon, Medicare pays the full cost once every four years.

Will Medicare Pay for Colonoscopy after age 70

Medicare starts paying for screenings at the age of 50 until 85 years or older. Stool DNA tests are otherwise known as Cologuard. Those showing no colorectal cancer symptoms or increased risks may get one Cologuard check every three years.

The US Preventive Services Task Force recommends screening guidelines to include all colon cancer tests, any method from ages 50 to 75.

However, Medicare pays or reimburses the costs of a colonoscopy – no matter the age. Medicare doesn’t stop paying for colonoscopies at a set age.

The American Cancer Society suggests that doctors analyze a patient’s life expectancy and overall health rather than their age.

Does Medicare Require Prior Authorization for Colonoscopy

Before a specific service, your doctor may need prior authorization from Medicare to treat your condition. Each plan option is available to qualifying members.

Many people have extra coverage. However, Medicare requires prior authorization for a colonoscopy before most advantage plans start paying.

Pre-approval means your doctor must get a green light before sending you to a Gastroenterologist.

Check with your insurance provider directly; terms are different for each coverage type.

What Does Medicare Consider High Risk for Colonoscopy

Medicare covers colonoscopy screenings the most frequently for any high-risk patient.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services identifies you as high-risk if you meet one or more of the following:

  • Having an immediate family member who has or had colorectal cancer or polyps. Direct family such as a child, sibling, or parent.
  • Have a family history of colorectal cancer — a family history of familial adenomatous polyps or having Lynch syndrome.

Does Medicare pay for Prep Kits for a Colonoscopy?

Prep kits are often for patients before having a colonoscopy. Doctors usually order osmotic laxatives for colon cleansing and constipation. Part D drug plans and most advantage plans cover prep kits; there are both generic and name-brand options.

Co-pays may start at $20 or be as high as $112. Amounts depend on plan benefits and drug type. Generic versions are more affordable than most name-brand drugs.

How Much does a Suprep Bowel Prep Kit Cost?

One of the most popular osmotic laxatives is the Suprep Bowel Prep Kit. GoodRx prices are generally 15% less than the retail amount. Manufacturer coupons are often possible; you could pay as low as $40 for your prescription.

Although the price relies on the coverage and the plan values change after meeting the Part B deductible.

However, plans define the copayment amount for each policy.

Medicare Colonoscopy FAQ’s

Does Medicare pay for colonoscopy anesthesia?
Yes, Medicare covers anesthesia for colonoscopies; the level of coverage depends on the type of procedure.

The deductible and coinsurances are both waived for anesthesia used as a preventive.

On the other hand, if any growth is detected and then removed, the surgery becomes diagnostic.

In this case, Medicare covers deductible fees, and you’re responsible for 20% of the cost.

Does Medicare cover an endoscopy?
Outpatient procedures such as endoscopy are paid for by your Part B benefits. Endoscopies are just like any other diagnostic service or outpatient treatment.

Part B may help pay the bill after your doctor determines you medically need the procedure.

The endoscopy must be first Medicare-approved and at a participating facility. Part B deductible applies and covers 80% of costs.

Does Medicare cover colon polyp removal?
Your doctor may begin the testing only to find abnormal tissues or polyps. A polyp is a growth inside the colon that could become cancerous.

Removing any polyps may prevent cancer. Medicare covers colon polyp removal, but the level of coverage varies.

When does a screening colonoscopy become diagnostic?
The costs change whether a test is diagnostic or preventive.

If your doctor must remove any abnormalities, tissues, or any growths during initial preventive testing – the screening becomes diagnostic.

Does Medicare cover Avastin?
Yes, Medicare covers Avastin through Part B with FDA approval for the treatment of various forms of cancer.

Get Extra Coverage on Your Medicare Colonoscopy Screening

New, current, and future recipients can all use a helping hand in the Medicare world. That’s why we’re here!

Those that need a Medicare Colonoscopy Screening and have a Medigap plan could have little costs.

Give us a call today at the number above to learn more. Our team of agents can help compare plans near you and give you the best options.

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Lindsay Engle

Lindsay Engle is the Medicare expert for MedicareFAQ. She has been working in the Medicare industry since 2017. She is featured in many publications as well as writes regularly for other expert columns regarding Medicare. You can also find her over on our Medicare Channel on YouTube as well as contributing to our Medicare Community on Facebook.

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