Are You Eligible for a Free Colonoscopy?

 If you've been avoiding your colonoscopy because you think you cannot afford it, you might want to reconsider. Although the Affordable Care Act ensures that all people covered by health insurance are able to have this routine screening exam at minimal or no cost at all, it only protects the insured. What happens if you have no health insurance? This is not extraordinary -- loss of a job, change in income or marital status, or even a loss of your disability could place you at risk of losing health insurance.

With most routine exams costing upwards of $3000, it might be something that goes on your back burner. I hope you'll reconsider.

Out of Pocket Expense

Unfortunately, the $3000 figure quoted for an out of pocket colonoscopy is merely the start. You will most likely also get billed for the anesthesia, lab, biopsy and other additional fees. If, for instance, you have to have multiple polyps removed during the test, you will incur extra out of pocket expenses for each polyp. These figures are not meant to deter you from getting your exam -- they are meant to show you that there can be hidden fees and that out of pocket payment might not be the best bet when there are programs available to assist you, if only you know where to look.

Reduced Cost Programs

Locally and nationally, there are many different programs intended to help fund your colonoscopy. They do not provide 100 percent coverage, but they are a good start to see if you can find something a bit more affordable.


This program provides a guaranteed flat rate for a colonoscopy. You have to register and wait for approval, and then go to the selected endoscopy center near you. The promised out of pocket fee, despite how many polyps are removed or whatever other costs are incurred, is $1075. The organization will pay for well over half of your regular out of pocket cost, if you are approved.

Likewise, the program has funding to assist you with reduced costs for upper gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy and fecal occult blood stool tests. You can click on the link above to begin the application process.

Colorectal Control Program (CRCCP)

The Centers for Disease Control has partnered with local state and governments to allow for reduced or free colorectal cancer screening for eligible populations. Only for adults aged 50 to 64, this initiative provides resources at the state level for screening exams. The Centers for Disease Control website, which you can access from the link above, will give you more specific details on your region and availability of services. This program is responsible for the thousands of completely free colonoscopies that are being performed in New York and New Jersey during the colon cancer awareness month of March to the uninsured.

Your Local Health Department

Many people are unaware of the wealth of resources available from the local health department. Whether you can look it up online or open the phonebook, find the number for your local health department can assist you in finding resources for reduced and no cost screening exams as they become available.


American Cancer Society

The ACS is a bountiful resource when you are looking for cancer prevention, screening, or treatment resources. Available online or by phone, the trained professionals at the ACS can assist you in locating reduced-cost screening options as well as provide ongoing support and assistance if you were to be diagnosed with colon cancer. From the United States, they can be reached at 1-800-4-CANCER or 1-800-ACS-2345.

Don't Discount Your Doctor as a Resource

Although it may seem obvious, some people skip this valuable resource for fear, or shame, of asking about discounted or free screenings.

The next time you see your primary doctor, don't hesitate to ask if he or she is aware of any upcoming local resources to assist you in obtaining your routine colonoscopy for a discounted, or free, rate.


American Cancer Society. (n.d.). Free Colon Cancer Screening Options in New York and New Jersey. Accessed online July 29, 2015.

National Conferences of State Legislature. (n.d.). Colorectal Cancer Screening Laws by State. Accessed online July 29, 2015.

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