If you ever went to a doctor and did not have health insurance, then you know from experience that a lab bill can be EXPENSIVE. As a health insurance agent I have always been amazed that some people get lab work done without having insurance. Even the most basic health insurance policy will get you the carrier rate on the lab work. This usually means paying $30 to $40 for a basic lab panel rather than $500. Yes $500 is what some people pay who do not have health insurance coverage.
However, with new health care reform mandatory preventive benefits many policies will cover a basic lab panel once a year for you. This is included with a physical. OBGYN, PAP, Mammograms, and other services also fall under that coverage as well. So by simply having basic health insurance, you can get a great deal of testing done for free.
If you do have health insurance, choose your lab carefully
If you do have health insurance and you are in the process of being tested for diseases or illness, most health care decisions involve a great deal of lab work and testing. Lab results can be absolutely critical to your overall health and life expectancy.
Here is my advice. If you know you are in for a great deal of testing, make certain your lab is in-network. Yes, that is correct not only can your doctor and hospital be in or out of network, but also your lab can be in our out of network. Many companies, such as Aetna use Quest Diagnostics to process lab results. Quest Diagnostics is a preferred lab for Aetna insurance. This means you pay far less than you would pay from an out of network lab. This is most important if you have not met your deductible. Simply staying in-network can save you a ton of money, and headache!
How much money can you save on lab work if you have health insurance?
Golden Rule Insurance published in their brochure that the average retail cost of a General Panel in Pennsylvania was $161.95. The average Golden Rule Insurance member only paid $21.31. This is a savings of 87%. This may seem too good to be true, but you must remember once you have health insurance, you have a billion dollar company in your corner. One of the benefits is they provide safety in numbers and allow you to access services at extraordinarily low rates.