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Celiac Disease Treatment Cost

How Much Does Celiac Disease Treatment Cost?

average costWith Health Insurance: $10-$50 Copay or 10%-50% Coinsurancehigh costWithout Health Insurance: $50-$200+
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Celiac Disease[1] is a digestive condition characterized by an inability to tolerate gluten, a protein in wheat, rye and barley. When a Celiac sufferer ingests gluten, it sets off an immune response in the intestines that gradually causes damage and can interfere with the absorption of nutrients. Left untreated, Celiac can cause a host of health problems including malnutrition, anemia and fatigue.

Typical costs:

  • Patients seeking medical care for Celiac would start with an office visit to a primary care physician, which is typically covered by health insurance. For patients covered by health insurance, out-of-pocket costs typically consist of a copay of $10-$50 or more, or coinsurance of 10%-50% or more. For patients without health insurance, an office visit typically costs $50-$200 or more. It often takes trial and error before it is successfully diagnosed.
  • According to one study[2] by Canadian researchers, the average price for gluten-free products was $1.71 compared with $0.61 for regular products, and on average, gluten-free products were 242% more expensive than regular products. A 2007 report[3] found the same disparity, with gluten-free bread typically priced at $6 while a regular loaf cost about $1.
  • For example, a package of Bisquick Gluten Free Pancake and Baking Mix[4] typically retails for $13; a package of 20 oz Crunchmaster Multi-Grain Crackers Gluten Free[5] costs $13, and Tinkyada Brown Rice Pasta Spaghetti Style Gluten and Wheat Free[6] costs about $8.
Related articles: Nutritionist, Health Insurance

What should be included:
  • There is no cure for Celiac Disease, and the only treatment[7] is a strict gluten-free diet.
  • Patients who experience symptoms[8] of Celiac, such as abdominal bloating and pain and diarrhea, would typically start by seeing a family doctor or a general practitioner, but may be referred to a gastroenterologist, a doctor who specializes in diseases of the digestive tract.
  • Because celiac symptoms vary and may be similar to other digestive disorders, a doctor will typically order a wide range of tests[9] , including blood tests to check for certain autoantibodies.
Additional costs:
  • Celiac sufferers who accidentally eat or use a product with gluten may experience abdominal pain and diarrhea. Over-the-counter aids to help control constipation and diarrhea typically cost about $4-$25, depending on the quantity and whether the patient buys a name brand or its generic equivalent. For example, 120 capsules of the fiber supplement psyllium (Metamucil)[10] costs $14,while six caplets of the anti-diarrheal OTC medication loperamide (Imodium)[11] costs $5.
  • Because Celiac can interfere with the body's ability to absorb nutrients, vitamin and mineral supplements may be needed. Supplements typically cost about $5-$25 or more. For example, 125 tablets of Centrum Silver[12] multivitamins cost $13.
  • According to the Mayo Clinic[13] , when first beginning a gluten-free diet, it may be helpful to consult a dietitian. For patients not covered by health insurance, a one-hour initial consultation with a registered dietitian, or RD, typically costs about $100 - $200.
  • In some cases, a doctor may recommend prednisone, which charges less than $20 for a one-month supply, or other corticosteroids to help control inflammation.
  • Discount stores such as Walmart and Costco that have an organic section may be good places to shop[14] for lower cost gluten-free products. For example Alf's Natural Nutrition puffed brown rice cereal by costs just $1 a bag at Walmart.
  • Buying regularly used products in bulk online may help to lower costs and some retailers offer discounted shipping. For example, at, a 12-pack of 8 oz. Ancient Harvest Quinoa Organic Pasta Gluten Free, Elbows[15] costs $28, or $3.50 a box, with free shipping.
Shopping for celiac disease treatment:
  • The American Dietetic Association includes a free locator[16] to help patients find a registered dietician by zip code. The American College of Gastroenterology also offers a physician locator[17] .
  • The Mayo Clinic offers a list of foods to avoid on a gluten-free diet[18] , as well as naturally gluten-free foods.
  • Several websites detail ways in which shoppers can cut costs. For example,[19] offers coupons and samples for gluten-free products and[20] has links to gluten-free products lists from major supermarkets around the country.
  • Celiac sufferers may be able to claim the condition as a tax deduction, if their total medical expenses, including the added costs of buying gluten-free products, for the year exceed 7.5% of their adjusted gross income, according to the Celiac Disease Foundation[21] . However, sufferers will need to include proof of diagnosis.
Material on this page is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Always consult your physician or pharmacist regarding medications or medical procedures.
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