Lab tests can cost anywhere between $100 and $3,000. How much you pay depends on whether or not you have insurance, but also on the type of test and collection sample, where the test is carried out and the pricing schedule of each individual lab.
Let’s take a closer look at how each of these factors affects the cost of lab tests without insurance.
On average, a lab test without insurance can cost about $1,543.
Typically patients without health insurance (there are around 31 million in the US right now) pay between $700 for a simple test and $2,589 for numerous test panels.
On the other hand, patients with health insurance pay an average of $755 for lab tests.
Generally, your insurer covers between $29 and $525 from the cost of your lab tests, depending on your insurance plan. This means that you can expect out-of-pocket fees as well, which can range from $283 to $675, or an average of $432. This again depends on what kind of insurance plan you have—those with high deductibles, for instance, can expect to spend more out of pocket.
You should also keep in mind that your insurance is only likely to pay for lab tests that have been ordered by a doctor. If you choose to order your own blood test, you will have to pay for the full cost even if you have a valid insurance policy.
So, how much is bloodwork without insurance exactly?
Here is an overview of the most common types of bloodwork and their cost for uninsured patients.
The complete blood count (CBC) examines the number of white blood cells, red blood cells, platelets, and hemoglobin in your body. It is one of the most common lab tests done in the US and can help determine whether a patient has an infection or is suffering from anemia (low blood count). Actually, many healthcare providers recommend getting a CBC at least once a year to keep your health in check.
The costs of a complete blood count may vary between $140 and $622 for those without insurance.
This blood test measures the level of certain components in your blood that affect your body’s ability to carry out basic metabolic processes. These include blood sugar, calcium, sodium, potassium, chloride, and creatinine among others. A BMP is a good indicator of potential issues like diabetes, respiratory problems, kidney issues, and dehydration, which means you need one at least once a year as part of your annual physical.
This panel costs an average of $235, but prices can range from $330 up to $1,309, depending on where you get it.
A comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP) comprises all the tests in the BMP, plus liver function tests. CMP testing is often required when doctors want a complete picture of illnesses related to the liver and kidneys. The cost of CMP falls in the same range as the basic metabolic panel, i.e. between $330 and $1,309.
This blood test measures different types of fat molecules in your blood, including low-density lipoprotein (LDL), high-density lipoprotein (HDL), and triglycerides. A lipid panel test provides insight into how fat is utilized in the body and helps determine the risk of a stroke, diabetes, or heart disease.
While insured patients can pay as little as $25 for a lipid panel test, people without insurance should expect to spend between $303 and $843.
An A1C test determines the blood sugar level in your body and is intended for people suffering from diabetes. The cost of this test is between $129 and $643 for uninsured patients.
A TSH test relates to your thyroid and help diagnose hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism as well as evaluate the effectiveness of treatment. A TSH blood test cost without insurance varies among health institutions, but in general, expect to pay between $35 and $500.
A urinalysis test analyzes the appearance, concentration, and composition of urine. It identifies and monitors a wide range of diseases, including urinary tract infections, kidney illnesses, and diabetes.
Depending on the location and comprehensiveness of the test, the price can cost anywhere from $30 to $250.
This lab test checks patients for sexually transmitted infections, such as HIV, chlamydia, and syphilis. How often you need one depends mainly on your sexual activity, age, and gender.
STD testing costs an average of $108, but it can go up to $300 or $350, depending on the number of infections you test for and where the test is administered.
These check nutrient, vitamin, and mineral levels in your body to determine whether or not you have any vitamin deficiencies. They’re normally used by doctors to prescribe vitamin supplements. A vitamin panel can cost between $108 and $350, or even up to $450 if you opt for a more comprehensive test.
Where the tests are carried out also affects the cost. Let’s get into more details.
The cost varies on the type of hospital service you use, i.e. emergency room, independent lab, and outpatient clinic, but typically you should expect to pay around $100 or more per test.
This is how much lab tests cost in hospitals:
Hospitals are one of the most expensive places to get lab tests done. If you have a non-life-threatening condition, it might be better to get tests done at a private lab or urgent care facility.
Urgent care facilities are medical centers designed for people that have non-emergency requirements. When visiting one of these medical facilities, you are likely to be charged for lab tests and a visit fee, which can start at $80 for a simple visit or $140 for a more comprehensive check-up. A doctor's appointment costs between $300 and $600 for patients without coverage.
The cost of the actual blood tests depends on whether the tests are done in-house or by private labs, as well as the pricing schedule of each facility.
Even so, urgent care facilities are much cheaper than getting lab tests done at hospitals, so if you are managing a chronic condition or are not facing a medical emergency, get blood work done at a doctor’s office.
You can get tests done at independent labs, like Labcorp or Quest Diagnostics. Prices are usually cheaper than hospitals or urgent care facilities (since they do not charge a visit fee), but these labs often lack the expertise of hospitals and physicians.
Here is a quick breakdown of the average cost of blood tests at independent labs
Nowadays, many companies offer at-home lab tests. You can order a test online and receive a kit to collect the samples at home. You then mail the sample back to the laboratory.
At-home lab tests are the cheapest alternative for patients without insurance—you can save up to 85% on costs. However, you will still need a medical professional to look at the results, especially if some values are out of the normal range, which translates to more expenses.
Healthcare professionals typically order more than one blood test—for example, during your regular physical, a doctor will order a CBC and CMP to get the complete picture of your health status, the combined cost of which can go to $1,500 or more.
Similarly, if you are exhibiting concerning symptoms or suffering from an undiagnosed illness, your healthcare provider is likely to order several lab tests to get to the cause of the issue. Combining multiple testing packages may end up costing between $1,500 and $2,700 or even more.
As you can see costs can easily add up (with and without insurance), so when getting tested, make sure you budget for more than one panel.
Lab tests can be quite expensive, particularly for those without insurance. To reduce costs, try some of the following tips:
The high cost of lab tests without insurance can deter many from getting the treatment they need. In fact, statistics on ACA reveal that as many as 24% of uninsured Americans delayed getting medical care due to high costs. This leads to a delayed diagnosis of the underlying condition, which worsens the prognosis and increases the cost of treatment.
To avoid situations like that, it is best to get health insurance coverage as soon as possible—there are ways uninsured patients can reduce lab test costs, but none are as cost-effective in the long run as a comprehensive insurance plan.
Over 7 billion clinical lab tests are carried out every year, says the American Clinical Laboratory Association. This may seem like a huge number, but expenditure on blood work is actually quite low given the amount of critical data these tests provide and especially considering the small share they account for in the annual $3.65 trillion healthcare budget.
Usually yes, but not always. Your insurer typically covers 50 to 80% of the cost, so there will be out-of-pocket expenses as well. To find out how high these can go, contact your insurer and ask what they consider elective procedures—these are not usually covered by your insurance provider.
Nevertheless, even with out-of-pocket expenses, the cost of lab tests without insurance is always higher than what insured patients pay.
Yes, Medicare insures about 72 million Americans and covers the cost of some blood tests. More specifically, Medicare Part A and B pays the cost of lab tests if your primary physician or a doctor has ordered them in order to diagnose or monitor a health condition. To get lab tests for free under Medicare, the tests must be deemed a medical necessity and carried out at Medicare-approved clinical diagnostic laboratories (or while receiving in-patient care at a nursing facility or hospital).
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