Re: what's an upper GI and how much does it cost
I just had an Upper GI series (the one with barium, not the Endoscopy the first poster told you about), and they told me it will cost $425. I haven't received the bill yet, so there might be some additional costs for the barium liquid. My test included the regular upper GI that looks at the Stomach and esophagus, and the Small Bowel Follow-through, which looks at the small intestine. The doctor told me that the Small bowel test rarely shows anything. The regular Upper GI might be a little less.
I'm also scheduled for an upper Endoscopy (which the first poster told you about), and I'm guessing it will cost a lot more because of the anasthesia. I don't know if it's really necessary to have both tests done, or which one is considered best.
If you're having stomach pain or pain on the right side (under your ribs), the doctor might also want you to have a HIDA scan and an Ultrasound of your liver and gallbladder. Just for reference, I got my bill today for a HIDA scan (which tests your Gall Bladder function) and all the charges totalled about $750. Insurance paid $280, I paid $42, and $432 was listed as an insurance company "write off."
I saw your question before I called the lab about my bill, and I asked her how much it would cost if I didn't have insurance. She couldn't give me a number, but she said they usually do charge less if someone doesn't have insurance coverage. Many doctors will reduce their charges if you don't have coverage, but you should ask them first before it goes to their billing office. Based on the "write-off" shown on my bill, I suspect that you might pay less than half of the regular charge.
If your income is low enough, you might also qualify for free or lowcost insurance. In my state it's about $150 a month if you make less than about $2100 a month. It's free if you have low income and less than $3000 in savings. If you think you might be able to get coverage soon, it might be wise to wait to get any tests done, because many policies don't cover pre-existing conditions. But otherwise, don't let a lack of insurance keep you from getting the health care you need.