When you don’t have health insurance, you’re likely to keep a closer eye on all of your medical costs. However, staying informed about your potential medical expenses can be time-consuming, and it can also be difficult to find all the information you need in one place.
When you need lab tests done, the cost of that lab test can vary depending on the type of collection sample (does it require you to pee in a cup, or do you need to have your blood drawn?), the type of test (does it require highly technical equipment to produce results, or can it be easily interpreted?), your geographic region, and each lab’s pricing schedule, according to research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
Oftentimes, when you go to a healthcare provider, the lab tests themselves are not conducted on the premises but, instead, sent to a lab offsite. All of these factors go into determining the price of a lab test, according to JAMA
It’s important to know about blood test costs, and where to get blood work done without insurance.
Types of bloodwork
A huge variety of blood tests are available within the American medical system. However, according to the US National Library of Medicine, some blood tests are more commonly used. Here is a description of the most common tests, as adapted from the US National Library of Medicine.
Complete blood count (CBC)
This blood test evaluates the various components of your blood, including red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, and hemoglobin. A CBC can be a helpful test to show if you have an infection (viral or bacterial), but it can’t determine which specific organism has caused the infection. A CBC can also be helpful if you are experiencing excessive bleeding or bruising, or if you have concerns about a low blood count (anemia).
Basic metabolic panel (BMP)
This blood test evaluates certain components of your blood such as your blood sugar, calcium, phosphorus, sodium, chloride, and potassium. These chemicals are all crucial when it comes to your body’s ability to carry out basic cellular processes, and they can be a helpful way to determine if you are having a problem like dehydration, diabetes, breathing problems, kidney problems, or a specific electrolyte abnormality.
Comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP)
This blood test evaluates all the components of a BMP but also includes liver function tests. These tests can give a healthcare provider more information about the state of your liver, including whether it is inflamed, infected with a virus, or having difficulty performing its functions.
Blood enzyme tests
This is a category of bloodwork that can check for levels of proteins in your blood called enzymes. You may have an elevated enzyme known as troponin if you’ve had a heart attack. Alternatively, your creatine kinase enzyme level may be elevated if you’re experiencing a condition of severe muscle breakdown, known as rhabdomyolysis. These tests are more likely to be ordered within an emergency department or hospital setting, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
A lipid panel measures the different types of fat molecules in your blood, such as triglycerides, high-density lipoproteins (HDL), and low-density lipoproteins (LDL). These levels can help provide a window into the state of your metabolism and fat utilization, both of which are tied to your risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.
Hemoglobin A1C (HbA1C)
This type of blood test might be performed to monitor your condition if you have a pre-existing diabetes diagnosis, or to make an initial diabetes diagnosis. The A1C test is a measure of the average level of your blood sugar over the past three months, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA).
Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH)
This type of blood test can help a healthcare provider determine the state of your thyroid regulation. If your thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) level is too high, it might mean that your brain is trying to communicate to your thyroid gland to produce more thyroid hormone because the level of thyroid hormone in your blood is too low (a condition known as hypothyroidism), according to the US National Library of Medicine.
Cost of bloodwork without insurance
Blood tests can provide a healthcare provider with valuable information when it comes to determining a diagnosis and treatment plan. So how much does a blood test cost when you don’t have insurance? Check out this helpful table, compiled with assistance from the Healthcare Bluebook, for a better idea of the cost of each common blood test.
Price Without Insurance
Range: $6 to $28
Range: $8 to $38
Range: $9 to $45
Blood enzyme test
Range: $11 to $58
Range: $12 to $58
Range: $10 to $51
Range: $15 to $73
When you’re being evaluated in a healthcare setting, particularly if you have an unknown illness that is causing concerning symptoms, a healthcare provider will likely order more than one test, according to Medline Plus. For example, a CBC and CMP are often ordered together, as they can give a full picture of your health status and help rule out many emergent conditions on the spot. Also, if a test is abnormal, a follow-up test may be ordered, which will have an additional charge. For these reasons, it’s a good idea to plan for the potential of more than one blood test if you’re contemplating paying without insurance.
Where to get bloodwork done
Most bloodwork is done outside the confines of a typical medical office. Many times blood is drawn at a provider's office and then sent for analysis to an outside lab. Sometimes a provider might just give you a prescription for a blood test and then you have to find a lab that can draw the sample. At Solv, we have urgent care locations nationwide that can provide you with high-quality, convenient, and affordable blood draws that will then be sent to a lab, and at times, even internal analysis performed on-site. Our partners are all highly skilled at making sure that you get precisely the evaluation you need—no more, and no less.
Ways to reduce the cost of bloodwork without insurance
If you need to reduce the cost of bloodwork because you are currently uninsured, one of your best resources may be a free or subsidized clinic. According to the Healthcare Bluebook, paying cash upfront for blood tests may also help you reduce their cost. Additionally, according to HowMuchIsIt.Org, an online lab could be a cheaper option.
You may also want to ask your healthcare provider if the cost of bloodwork varies based on the test being performed. For example, if you need to have documentation of your diabetes risk (for an employer, insurer, or otherwise), then you might be able to get a cheaper glucose reading from a mere fingerstick blood assessment than from a full-fledged metabolic panel or A1C test.
What can I expect during a blood test?
During a blood test, a health care provider such as a phlebotomist will take a small needle and insert it into a vein, usually located in your arm. This is called venipuncture. The test might be slightly uncomfortable but usually takes just a few minutes. According to the US National Library of Medicine, venipuncture is the most common way to do a blood test. However, there are other methods, such as a finger prick, heel stick, or arterial blood draw.
Does health insurance always cover blood work?
If you’ve been wondering if insurance covers blood work, the answer varies. Health insurance will often cover blood work, but this is not always the case. If you do have health insurance and are concerned about the potential for out-of-pocket costs, make sure to contact your insurance provider in advance of any bloodwork or other lab tests to avoid any surprise expenses.
How often should I get blood work done?
The frequency with which you should get blood work done depends significantly on your age, gender, and health status. For example, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that if you have diabetes, you may need to get bloodwork done at least twice a year, if not more frequently. However, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, people with no history of heart disease or high cholesterol should get their blood cholesterol checked every 4 to 6 years.
Where can I get a blood test?
Many different types of healthcare facilities provide bloodwork services, such as immediate care locations, emergency departments, hospitals, and primary care clinics. However, it can be hard to sort through all of your options to find the best, most accessible care. At Solv, we’ve made the blood test search process easy. Check out our blood test locator tool to find a high-quality blood test site near you.
Solv has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references.
- Association of Reference Pricing for Diagnostic Laboratory Testing With Changes in Patient Choices, Prices, and Total Spending for Diagnostic Tests (September 2016) https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/2536187
- What You Need to Know About Blood Testing (March 9, 2021)
- Troponin Test (September 9, 2021)
- A1C Does It All (2021)
- All About Your A1C (August 10, 2021)
- TSH (Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone ) Test (July 30, 2020)
- How Much Does a CBC Blood Test Cost? (August 7, 2018)
- Get Your Cholesterol Checked (October 7, 2021)
- Basic Metabolic Panel
- Hemoglobin A1C