I recently had some issues with my gastrointestinal tract and the specialist felt that I should go for an Endoscopy and a Colonoscopy to get it thoroughly checked out. Just thought I would share the costs with everyone as well as my experience.
So first things first, if you do require such a procedure, and you have an Integrated Shield Plan (ISP) that allows you to go to private hospitals, I would advice that you go to a specialist that is in the panel of doctors for your insurer. It just saves a lot of hassle and will definitely minimize your out-of-pocket expenses. Having chose my specialist, I decided to go to Mount Elizabeth Novena for the day surgery. Yes, colonoscopy and endoscopy are considered day surgeries and is covered under Medishield but only if it is non-elective, i.e. you have existing symptoms and issues that a doctor warrants is necessary to investigate and not just for regular screening.
For those who do not know, the preparation phase for Colonoscopy is the most unpleasant part of this entire process. You will need to take strong laxatives to purge your bowels and intestines, so that the doctor can have a clear view inside. It is usually better to schedule your procedure in the morning as you will need to fast before the procedure. My procedure was scheduled for 10am in the morning. And the instructions for purging is as follows:
48 hours before op: No fruits, vegetables or high-fiber foods.
6pm: Dinner (no more solid food after but water, barley/honey water is acceptable after dinner)
7pm: Take first course of laxative which comprises of 2 tablets and a small bottle of sourish liquid that is to be diluted with 250ml of water. I should finish this course within an hour.
8pm: Take second course of laxative which comprises of a huge packet of powder to be diluted in 1-litre of water. I should finish this within the next hour.
4am: No more liquids
I started feeling the urge to go to the toilet mid-way through my 2nd course. I went 4 times to purge from 830pm till 11pm. After that it felt pretty clear already. However I had to go to the toilet again 2 more times from 2am – 3am. And that was it. Personally, it wasn’t too bad, but of course it varies from individual to individual.
Now on to the cost. You can see the final bill for the entire procedure. Total bill came out to be: $5,538. That is definitely higher than if you had gone through the government hospital route, but I think you will probably have to wait a much longer time to get it done. After subtracting all claimable items and deductibles and co-insurance, I had to fork out $553. Pretty decent amount to pay in my view.
But before you decide whether you should go through the private hospital route, please go and make sure that your shield plan will cover it if you don’t want to be the one bearing all the costs. I read that a similar procedure in government hospital is about $1.5k-$2k, but I maybe wrong. If there is anyone willing to share your experience or costs, that would be most welcome!
So hope this helps your journey and I do strongly feel that we should ALL go for colonoscopy and endoscopy after we hit 50. To pre-emptively detect any possible developments of cancer far surpasses the inconvenience and costs we have to bear.