Blood work is a test done to measure the levels of different substances in the blood. Blood work helps to monitor a substance’s progress and to check for heart, liver, kidney, and other medical problems. Blood work, or testing, is one of the most common types of lab work done. The results from a blood test can also help to diagnose certain conditions and diseases.
In this article, I will list the average costs of all the different types of blood work, the accessible places for blood work to be done, and how you can save on this expense.
Different Types of Blood Work
Many different types of blood tests may be recommended to you by your healthcare provider. These include the following.
Complete Blood Count (CBC): This blood test is commonly ordered to diagnose your overall health status and to screen for disorders in the body. A CBC measures your red and white blood cells, platelets, and hemoglobin (i.e., the protein in your red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout your body).
Lipid Panel: Lipid panels measure the levels of fatty substances, such as your total cholesterol, triglycerides, HDL cholesterol, and LDL cholesterol in your blood. 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. The frequency of these screenings depends on your age and cardiovascular disease risk factors.
Basic Metabolic Panel (BMP): TA BMP 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 (i.e., a buildup of acid in the body), whether you have low blood sugar (known as hypoglycemia), and other health conditions. Many doctors recommend having this test performed once a year.
Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP): A CMP test measures the same markers as the BMP, but it also includes additional six tests that measure liver function. This test may be recommended by your healthcare provider if you have risk factors for liver disease, diabetes, or even kidney disease.
A1C: An A1C test, also called the hemoglobin A1c or glycosylated hemoglobin test, is used to diagnose type 1 and type 2 diabetes and to monitor how well treatment is working in people with these conditions. This test measures your blood sugar level over a period of two to three months.
Vitamin D: This blood test can check whether you have low levels of vitamin D in your blood. It determines your risk for vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency, which may lead to conditions such as osteoporosis or even decreased muscle strength.
Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI): An STI test is a blood test that can detect syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia. Some STI tests are performed through a blood sample, such as the test for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and syphilis. Your healthcare provider will order this test if you have symptoms of an STI or are at risk for an infection due to sexual activity. This test recommendation from your health provider will also depend on several other factors, such as your age and gender.
COVID-19 Antibody: This is an antibody blood test used to monitor patients with COVID-19 who are on immunosuppressive therapies. The test looks for the presence of antibodies related to a COVID-19 infection in your bloodstream. Usually, healthcare providers do not recommend getting an antibody test to see if your vaccine was effective, as the type of antibodies produced by vaccination may not be picked up on some types of antibody tests.
Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH): This test measures how much thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) is in your blood and assesses how your thyroid is functioning. A low TSH level may be due to hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, among other conditions. A recommendation of TSH testing by your healthcare provider will depend on your age, risk factors, and symptoms of a thyroid condition.
Cost of Blood Work
The cost of blood work can vary based on your insurance status, the frequency and number of tests you are required to take, the healthcare provider you need to get tested from, etc. Here is a list of the average costs that you can expect on different types of blood work:
|Type of Blood Work||Overall average cost without insurance|
|Complete Blood Count (CBC)||Hospital charge: $51 |
Private insurance: $11
|Lipid Panel||Hospital charge: $68 |
Private insurance: $29
|Basic Metabolic Panel (BMP) or Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP)||Hospital charge: $179 |
Private insurance: $15
|A1C||Hospital charge: $61 |
Private insurance: $14
|Vitamin D||$108 – $390|
|Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI)||$108 – $390|
|COVID-19 Antibody Test||$50-$100|
|Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone (TSH)||Hospital charge: $108 |
Private insurance: $24
Does Insurance Cover Blood Work?
Health insurance will often cover blood work, but that may not always be the case. While most health plans must cover a set of preventive services like shots and screening tests, you need to also keep in mind if there are any potential out-of-pocket costs.
Where to Get Blood Work
There are many places at which you can get bloodwork done:
Urgent care facility: An urgent care facility is a medical facility where people with nonemergency medical needs can seek help. You could potentially be charged an office visit fee as well as a facility fee for your urgent care visit. The facility will work with your health insurance on what they will cover for payment, as the visit and tests are typically diagnostic in nature and not considered an office visit by most, if not all, insurances.
Hospital: Hospital charges vary depending on whether you have insurance and what type of service you use within the hospital, such as the emergency room, an independent lab, or an outpatient clinic. You may be charged for laboratory services and professional fees separately.
Independent Lab Facilities: Independent lab facilities charge various amounts depending on the number of tests requested through your healthcare provider’s order. These facilities can also bill either to your healthcare provider or directly to your health insurer depending upon the terms of an agreement between those parties. You may find that you are paying a higher copay or coinsurance for services rendered by independents.
At-home labs: Today, many companies offer patients at-home lab tests. These companies will send you a kit to collect the samples at home, and then you mail them back to the lab. You will be charged for each individual test ordered as well as their processing fees per test. However, taking an at-home test can be less expensive as compared to visiting a doctor’s office or hospital and paying for both the doctor and lab fees.
How to Save on Blood Work
When you get blood work done, costs can vary depending on the clinic or diagnostic center you’ve chosen, how much they charge, etc. So, if you’re uninsured, be aware that you might end up with a big bill. Here are a few simple ways to save money on blood work:
Compare costs online: Use the internet to compare costs. It’s a good idea to look up at least three places you can go for blood work before choosing one.
Opt for at-home tests: Home tests are available for many of the most common blood work tests. They’re usually much cheaper than in-clinic tests, and you don’t need an appointment.
Ask your primary care physician to order it: If you have a primary care physician (PCP), ask them to run the blood test at their office instead of at another place. You can save some money this way because your PCP doesn’t have to pay anything out-of-pocket for running the test.
Explore free clinics in your area (if any): Free clinics are usually the cheapest places to go for blood work. If you can’t afford blood tests, check out your free clinic options.
Check which services are covered under your plan: 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.
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