Blood testing can often serve as an important part of your health journey. It is used to take a closer look at the makeup of the blood, measuring the levels of various substances such as cells and proteins, and is a key way in which medical professionals can gauge health.
Blood work is commonly part of a routine checkup but is also utilized for other purposes, such as diagnosing diseases, monitoring chronic conditions, checking the functionality of various organs, and measuring your immune system.
If you are regularly seeing your primary care provider for checkups or an acute or chronic condition, they will likely order blood work to gain more insight into your health.
Since this is a regular part of your care, you may wonder how much it costs and if it is covered by insurance. Below, we’re diving into many things you should know about blood tests — what they are, the various tests you may receive, how often you should get them, where you can get them done, and how much they cost.
During a blood test, a lab professional or health care provider will usually take a sample of blood from a vein in your arm using a small needle. You may feel a slight pinch when the needle pierces the skin, but other than that, it’s generally painless. You’ll then wait a few minutes while the blood collects in a vile.
Unlike some other types of tests, you usually don’t have to do any preparations for a blood test. Some may require you to fast before the test, but your health care provider will let you know if there are any specific instructions.
If blood work is going to cost you, your next question may be how often you need to have the test done.
Most health care providers recommend that you get your blood tested at least once a year. However, this is a maintenance measure and only applies if you do not have any underlying conditions.
If your health status requires it, your provider may order more specific blood tests, which may occur more frequently.
Other blood test recommendations and screenings may come up based on factors such as age and gender.
Below are several different types of common blood tests that your health care provider may order for you:
Also written as “CBC” — this is one of the most basic tests to evaluate overall health. It measures red and white blood cells and other blood platelets. The “once a year” recommendation includes this test.
Also written as “BMP” — this is another basic test that measures substances involved with your metabolism and chemical balances. It tells us how our bodies are processing energy and can indicate certain health problems and the status of certain organs. This is also recommended to be done once a year for adults.
As the name implies, this is a more robust test of metabolism biomarkers. Providers may order this test when looking for liver and kidney disease or diabetes.
This test measures average blood sugar levels over previous months and is usually ordered to diagnose diabetes.
Health care providers can test the blood for the levels of various vitamins. Vitamin deficiencies can cause unpleasant symptoms, but can often be corrected with dietary strategies and supplementation.
Certain STIs are tested through blood, like syphilis and HIV, and are recommended based on your age, gender, and level of sexual activity.
This is an extremely common blood test now that indicates past infection with the COVID-19 virus. It is important to note, however, that the antibodies caused by the vaccine are not the same as those caused by the natural virus — this test will not indicate anything about vaccination status.
This test is done to see how well your thyroid is functioning. It’s most commonly ordered to diagnose hyper- or hypothyroidism and can be more prevalent depending on your age and other risk factors.
You have a few options when you need to get a blood test and the cost can vary from place to place.
Most urgent cares and offices offer blood work, and the cost of the blood test is generally separate from the cost of the visit (co-pay). Some labs are done “in house,” and some are sent to other sites — this could affect the price if you’re paying out of pocket.
If your blood tests are recurring due to a condition, sticking with a provider that is familiar with your medical history is recommended.
Hospitals can provide blood work services, however, this will likely be the most expensive option. If you are not experiencing a life-threatening emergency, there are likely more affordable options.
There are facilities now that are solely for blood work and other lab tests. With these, you are not usually paying for a visit with a provider, just for the labs themselves.
Some companies are now selling at-home blood tests. These can be ordered online and performed yourself. They generally consist of finger pricks rather than the traditional vein collection method and are often not as costly as visiting a medical office in person. You should talk with a health care provider if your results are abnormal.
Most medical insurance companies will cover the cost of blood work ordered by your provider. This includes federally funded health insurance programs like Medicare and Medicaid, but with some minor limitations.
It can be difficult to pinpoint what the cost of blood work without insurance will be, due to several factors. The answer depends on how often you get tested, where the labs are done, and the specific types of blood tests you take.
The cost of blood work in 2022 is currently hovering around $400. However, individual tests can range from $50 to upwards of $1,000.
For another point of reference, the most general blood test, the Complete Blood Count (CBC), ranges from around $150 to around $600, depending on where it’s done and what channels you go through to get it.
If you’re looking for expedient blood work services for an affordable price, Fast Pace Health can help. Check your location online or give us a call to confirm that we can administer any specific tests you need.
We accept most insurances, so your blood work will likely be covered by your insurer, subject to any patient responsibilities.
Beyond blood testing, we offer primary care, urgent care, telehealth, and more. Our providers are passionate about bringing quality and convenient care to rural and underserved communities across the South, Mid-Atlantic, and Midwest regions.
Blood tests can play a critical role in monitoring your health, and they help in diagnosing and managing many health conditions. It is a good idea to stay consistent with yearly labs, and to get tested at the direction of your health care provider if you’re dealing with any type of condition.
If you are paying for blood tests without insurance, it can become very expensive very quickly. However, there are ways of bringing down the cost based on where you go for labs and how you do them. Talk to your health care provider — they will help you devise a strategy based on your specific needs.
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