I want to tell you a secret. You don’t have to pay the full retail price for hormone lab tests. That’s right. If your physician has given you a lab order for a panel of tests for your annual check-up or hormone testing, there are ways to reduce the cost by at least half, often times more. Here’s how.
I recently called Lab Corp, a national chain with 1500 patient service centers throughout the U.S., to find out the cost of seven hormone tests. The price tag, with my insurance discount, was to be more than $1400. !#!#! However, I was told that I could take advantage of their LabAccess Partnership (LAP) program, a menu of routine clinical tests that are available to self-pay patients at discounted prices. Patients who are uninsured, or whose health care benefits exclude coverage for clinical lab tests, or who have high deductibles and anticipate having to pay the net cost out-of-pocket anyway can take advantage of this program. To give you an example of the cost savings, a test to measure Estradiol dropped from $183 to just $65.
Direct To Consumer Lab Services
But I discovered that using a direct-to-consumer lab service brought this cost down even further. These online companies provide low cost lab testing by using established patient service centers in 2,000 communities around the country. In fact, the one I used, mymedlab.com, directed me to the Lab Corp facility near my home — the same location where I might have spent $1400 for the same tests had I not discovered these services.
The MyMedLab website guides you though an easy process of identifying and purchasing the tests you need. You generate your own lab requisition form, insert your physician’s name and license number, and take it to a lab nearest you. You can even make an appointment. You’re able to view and securely store the results online, and print the page so that you can review them with your physician. For a fee, you can purchase an expert review so you can understand what the test results mean.
Direct Labs is a similar direct-to-consumer service. A female comprehensive hormone panel, offering a snapshot of Estradiol, Progesterone, DHEA, Testosterone and Insulin levels costs $179 compared to $846 retail. A more comprehensive wellness panel for women, including the 10 most important tests costs $309 compared to more than $1400 retail.
Life Extension is a non-profit research organization whose long-range goal is “the extension of the healthy, human life span.” They offer a mail-order blood testing service with blood draws performed at – you guessed it – a LabCorp facility near you.
For example, they offer a Female Comprehensive Hormone Panel that includes a complete metabolic panel with lipids, making it an excellent all-purpose annual lab test that you can share with your internist, gynecologist or other hormone specialist. It includes a check for your levels of DHEA, Estradiol, Progesterone and Testosterone. (see the website for a complete list.) The cost is $398, but if you’re a member, (at a cost of $75 in the U.S., and $82 for Canadians), you pay a discounted rate of $299. Another panel, for around the same cost, includes Vitamin D, C-Reactive protein(high sensitivity), Homocysteine and until March 25th, two additional tests: Fibrinogen (a marker for tissue inflammation) and hemoglobin A1C.(a measure of blood sugar over the last two to three months)
The Canary Club is an advocacy group “created to help you take charge of your own health care.” A founding principal of the organization, as stated on their website, is that “diagnostic tests need to be accessible to you at home, without the added cost or inconvenience of an office visit. To be accessible, they need to be affordable.” Thus, they offer comprehensive hormone testing by ZRT labs, which makes saliva and blood spot test kits for home use. The AdvancedPlus Hormone profile includes 10 tests for thyroid, adrenal and reproductive hormones AND Vitamin D. The cost is only $255. You can also order individual tests such as the High Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein Blood Spot Test, which should be part of your annual check-up. The cost? $50.00
There are other direct-to-consumer lab services online. Have you found one that you like and can recommend to others?