Lab Tests Costs: Part I - Blood Work Costs

Submitted by Fantestico on Wed, 06/22/2022 - 12:30.

lab tests costs blood work costsLab tests costs range from a few dollars to several thousand US dollars, according to the tests conducted. Going to community health clinics or ordering online lab work at home are two options for lowering the cost.
Seventy percent (70%) of medical decisions are based on lab work. Lab tests can tell if you have a disease, prompt to get it, progress, respond to medication, have enough vitamins and hormones to maintain your health balance, catch an infectious disease, and many more.  

Yet, many people avoid necessary lab work due to the expense. Lab work and lab tests costs varied a lot by several factors including:

  • type of collected sample (blood, urine, stool, saliva, hair, tissue, sweat, breath), 
  • place of sample collection (in-person vs. clinic), 
  • place of analysis (in the home with a rapid test or at a lab. A sample can be collected at home but still need to be mailed to a lab for analysis)
  • type of the analytical method (antibody, antigen, enzymatic reaction, small chemical molecule presence, genetic analysis of DNA or RNA, etc.)
  • What is actually measured (visual, cell counting, chemistry colors, light, specific analytes, DNA, RNA etc.)
  • Who can interpret the results (the user or healthcare professional or an expert like in special genetic tests)

This blog focus on lab tests performed in blood and such blood work cost.

Types of Blood Work and Cost of Lab Tests
There are thousands of different tests that can be done by blood work the following list represents the most common tests and those that be ordered online without a doctor. 

  • A1c: An A1c test, also called the hemoglobin A1c (or HbA1c), measures your average blood sugar level over the past 2 or 3 months. It is used to diagnose type 1 and type 2 diabetes and to monitor how well treatment is working in people with these conditions. It is also used to identify prediabetic people (prediabetes is when your blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes) that a diet change can prevent the development of their diabetes type 2. A1c test costs are varied a lot and their price range is between $25 to $89 for the same exact test.
  • Complete Blood Count (CBC): A CBC test measures your red and white blood cells, platelets, and hemoglobin (a protein found in red blood cells and carries oxygen from your lungs and delivers it to your tissues and organs). CBC tests can tell you a lot about your health conditions related to infections, anemia, and blood disorders. CBC test costs are a relatively cheap test when the blood is collected in a clinic with the price range of $13 to $29 but can be up to $129 for an at-home test.
  • Basic or comprehensive Metabolic Panel (BMP/CMP): BMP test measures your blood sugar levels and kidney function. It can reveal whether your kidneys are healthy, whether you may be at risk for diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA, a series of complications of diabetes), whether you have low blood sugar (known as hypoglycemia), and other health conditions. A CMP test measures the same analytes as BMP but adds liver function biomarkers to check also your liver health. BMP and CMP are routine tests and their price range between $20 to $49  
  • Liver Function Test (LFT): LFT can be ordered separately or as part of the CMP. In addition to certain proteins that are made by your liver like albumin and globulins or liver waste products like Bilirubin, ALP, ALT, and AST are enzymes that help break down proteins and are found mainly in your liver. If your liver is injured, it releases these enzymes into your bloodstream. Several liver diseases can be detected if you have an elevated level of liver enzymes. Ordering LFT alone can be more expensive ($59) than ordering a CMP test which contains most of the enzymes measured in LFT.
  • Lipid Panel: A lipid panel is a type of blood test that evaluates your body's fats and fatty compounds such as your total cholesterol, triglycerides, HDL cholesterol, and LDL cholesterol. Higher-than-normal levels may increase your risk of heart disease and developing atherosclerosis—a hardening and narrowing of an artery—that can lead to a blockage, which could result in a heart attack, stroke, or even death. Lipid panel test costs range from $21 to $59 for an in-person visit, $49 to $93 if blood collection will be done at-home and shipped to a lab, and $299 for an in-home analyser.
  • Viral Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI): If you have health insurance, you may be able to undergo viral STD testing for free or at a discounted cost. In fact, Medicaid and other government programs can also provide free or low-cost STD testing. And depending on your budget, several clinics, including many Planned Parenthood health centers, provide free or low-cost STD tests.  Nevertheless, without insurance, at-home STD blood testing can range from $24 to more than $350 depending on how many STI infections are measured 
  • Thyroid Stimulating Hormone Test (TSH): Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) testing is a frequent blood test used to assess how effectively the thyroid gland functions. On the front of the neck, in the bottom part, is the thyroid gland. The pituitary gland, a pea-sized organ situated near the base of the brain, produces TSH. The cost of lab tests without insurance ranges from $49 to $99 depending on if additional Thyroid tests like Free Thyroxine concentration (FT4), Free Triiodothyronine (FT3), and Thyroid peroxidase (TPO) are included.
  • Vitamin D: Vitamin D, sometimes known as the "sunshine vitamin," is necessary for strong bones, a healthy immune system, and the reduction of depression. If you believe you are in danger of developing soft or weak bones, a vitamin D test may help you decide on a treatment plan. The cost of a vitamin D test will most likely range from $39 to $99.
  • Vitamin b complex: Vitamin B complex, consists of eight B vitamins, including B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (Pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), B7 (biotin), B9 (folate) and B12 (cobalamin). B-group vitamins have a limited capacity for storage within our body, and since they are not produced naturally, they must be consumed through food or supplements. Each of these vitamins has a different function but in general, these vitamins have a critical role in our metabolism, antioxidant, DNA repair, red cell production, and more. The cost of a single vitamin b test can be as allow as $15 for a single vitamin B12 test, through $159 for most essential vitamin B panels, and even up to $279 for a vitamin B7 (bioton) test.

The following table summarizes the main blood work test and their costs when purchased online without a doctor and without insurance.

Cost for blood work online:

Blood Work Sample Collectiom Method Type Price Range Comments
A1c

In person + At-home

Enzymatic

$25 to $79

An In-home rapid A1c test is available by pts diagnostics

CBC

In person

Electronic Cell Sizing/Counting, Cytometry, Microscopy

$13 to $29

LabMe offers at-home collection at $129

BMP

In person

Chemistry

$19 to $79

 

CMP

In person

Chemistry

$10 to $189

 

LFT

In person

Chemistry

$49

at-home collection is available for $119

Viral STI

In person + At-home

Antigen/Antibody

$24 to $49 to one virus type

An In-home rapid HIV test is available by OraQuick for $40

TSH

In person + At-home

Immunoassay

$49 to $89

Includes additional thyroid analytes

Vitamin D

In person + At-home

Immunoassay

$39 to $99

 

Vitamin B Complex

In person + At-home

Immunoassay + Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry

$26 to $129

Depends on the vitamin B type and number of vitamins in a panel

Where to get blood work
Blood work can be done in many places including urgent care facilities, hospital labs, clinics and physician groups, and at home. Today many lab providers offer users direct access to lab testing and users can order all the above blood work (and many more) without a doctor’s visit or a prescription. You will be charged for each individual test ordered and sometimes also processing fees per test. However, taking an at-home test can be less expensive compared to visiting a doctor’s office lab co-pay. It is recommended however to interpret the results with a healthcare professional to ensure that the right care you might need. Although at-home lab work cost is paid out-o-pocket most of the lab providers accept HAS/FSA payments. 

How to save on blood work
First, always explore free clinics in your area (if any): Free clinics are usually the cheapest places to go for blood work, especially for STDs.  Then, check which services are covered under your health insurance plan and the co-pay you’d need to pay for your office visit and lab services. Normally your annual physical visit is at no cost and it would be only the lab co-pay if your doctor orders the tests you want during your annual visit. The list of medical procedures and laboratory tests that are covered by a specific health insurance policy is always available on a member’s plan document. Asking about them could save you from being billed unexpected charges. Finally, use the Fantestico search engine to compare thousands of lab tests that are offered online. If you just search the internet you’d be overwhelmed by the number of options and it would take you a lot of time to understand the differences between the labs and offered tests. 

Conclusion
With many lab test options from numerous online vendors, it is challenging to identify which test suits your needs the most and compare tests’ functionality and prices. Fantestico solves this problem by gathering information about hundreds of lab tests and providers from across the nation and presenting the available options to you for a simple comparison. As a metasearch engine, Fantestico conducts your thorough search and presents your options, so you can focus on simply choosing which test is right for you. Similarly, to a travel search engine for identifying the best hotel room deals or flight prices, Fantestico is your search engine for at-home lab tests.

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