The Cost of Blood Tests

Last Updated on March 12, 2022
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

Blood tests are often used by your doctor, either for a routine check of your health, or to diagnose and monitor the evolution of certain diseases. Anemias, diseases, and serious organ problems can be detected early with the help of blood tests. Hemoglobin, leukocytes, and platelets can provide vital information about the health of the body, from a more common lack of iron to bacterial infections or even lymphomas and various tumors.

Blood tests are used to count blood cells and dose various substances in the blood. The interpretation of some blood tests takes into account two aspects: the relationship between the statistically established normal values and the existing context. Therefore, depending on the patient’s age, gender, and health history, the conclusions may be different.

How Much Do Blood Tests Cost?

If you have health insurance, be prepared to pay out of your pocket anywhere between $300 and $700 for the blood tests, with an average cost of $450. The total costs would be anywhere between $320 and $1,250, with an average of $800.

Usually, individuals who are covered by health insurance will have to copay nothing to $35, or slightly more; or 10% to more than 50% of the total costs. There are out-of-pocket maximums and deductibles applied.

In most cases, the costs of blood tests are covered by health insurance for diagnosis, treatment, and preventive purposes, but it all depends on the health insurance policy and the patient’s condition.

If you don’t have health insurance, expect to pay anywhere between $720 and $2,700, with an average of $1,600, according to online forums. Depending on the type and number of ordered tests, if these are done on an emergency basis and also depending on the fee paid for the doctor visit to order and interpret the tests, you should budget anywhere between $110 and $3,100, or even more for the blood tests.

You might also like our articles about the cost of STD tests, titer tests, or karyotype tests.

If done for a new patient exam or as part of an annual physical exam, routine blood work will cost $110 to more than $1,110. Usually, if you ordered in connection to an annual physical exam, expect to pay $15 to $160, or more for a complete blood count (CBC) test alone.

Most of the time, doctors order multiple tests to check for a wide range of conditions, depending on the patient’s symptoms. The costs of comprehensive panel tests would be anywhere between $85 and $1,550, or even more. Also, when combining several testing packages the total costs could reach $1,550 to more than $2,750.

Blood test details

Blood VialIn order for the tests to really reflect the body’s situation, it is very important to prepare the patient before collecting the blood sample. For example, specialists recommend not eating any food 8 to 12 hours in advance. The blood sample is collected by venipuncture at the level of the antecubital vein (arm joint), using special containers with or without anticoagulants depending on the specifics of the blood test.

Consumption of even a very small amount of food or coffee can drastically influence the results of your tests. You can drink water without problems, but the consumption of any other liquids or foods is strictly forbidden.

Also, you should not smoke, chew gum (even without sugar) or exercise intensely. These things can speed up your digestion, which can affect test results.

You can take the medicine that is prescribed to you but you shouldn’t take over-the-counter medicine without asking your doctor first. In some cases, your doctor may tell you to stop taking certain medications before taking blood tests.

However, many blood tests do not require special preparation, especially in terms of diet, and can be performed independently of meal times (e.g. blood type, Rh).

Immediately after your blood samples have been taken, you can eat and drink again. It is advisable to have a snack or a drink as soon as possible after the tests.

What are the extra costs?

There are situations when the doctor may order extra tests, depending on the results.

Important things to consider

It is important to always double-check if a lab or doctor’s office works within an insurance coverage before any blood work is done. For example, some patients are required by their health care plan to use “in-network” providers.

A blood test can be done at your primary care provider’s office, in a hospital, or clinic.

For those who want to remain anonymous or do not wish to have a doctor’s involvement, there are several companies that offer laboratory testing directly. These include LabCorp and Quest Diagnostics as well as Health Testing Centers, but one must always consult an actual medical professional before making any assumptions about their health concerns.

How can I save money?

The U.S Department of Health and Human Services has a locator for clinics that offer services on an income-based sliding scale, which is perfect if you’re looking to get help with your medical bills.

Some hospitals offer discounts for low-income or uninsured patients. For example, St Joseph Hospital in Orange CA offers up to 45% off billed charges when you’re not able to pay full price.

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