With lifestyle-based disease on the rise, it may not be a shock to know that the prices of healthcare are also on the rise.
However, being preventative can save you from dramatic costs in the future. The old adage "a stitch in time saves nine". Well in the case of healthcare $100 dollars now could save you from $900,000 in the future (or worse).
Simply basing your health off of a feeling is a dangerous pitfall many Americans fall into. For example, one in four (women and men) will have a heart attack without any previous symptoms. In other words, they "felt fine".
The good news is that many Americans actually do realize this and are beginning to take preventative steps towards their wellbeing. Health tracking is on the rise with the advent of wearables (Apple Watches, FitBits, etc.) as well as fitness programs with high adoptions (Pelaton).
However, many of the tracking initiatives we take are only a partial picture. Steps, calories, sleep patterns, while telling you important information, they are external. Meaning that it is not actually capturing the sum effect of your efforts on your internal health. Bloodwork gives you an objective look at what is happening inside your body. The only issue with blood work is usually it is performed at very random times throughout one's life. To add, we hardly keep track of it. Meaning that we don't know if we are trending towards health or away from it.
You can't manage what you don't measure and unfortunately, we often fail to measure our own wellbeing.
Blood tests are considered the gold standard for detecting and monitoring a wide range of acute and chronic medical conditions, ranging from pregnancy to diabetes and cancer. Many blood tests can be performed using at-home testing kits, making it easy for you to get high-quality results without going out. You may still need to visit a lab for specific blood tests, and you’ll need to meet with a doctor if you receive abnormal results.
The increase in the availability of at-home testing options offers you a chance to get your lab work completed from the comfort of your home. Detailed instructions and prepackaged mailing solutions make these tests a convenient alternative to long waits at the doctor’s office.
Below are some shocking (or not so shocking) stats on the prices of medical tests and procedures commonly performed. Treating an issue at its early stages always trumps waiting till it's full-blown. Most adults will agree with that - even if they don't act on it.
What at-home testing offers you is time. You don't need to make time in your busy schedule to go get the prescription to test, drive back and forth, wait in waiting rooms, get results you can't understand, and need follow-ups for. It also can increase decision-making processes for your healthcare provider. With Lab Me's share dash feature you can share your dashboard with your doctor loved one, friend, or family members. If you don't want to do that - no problem! You can also download a PDF report generated from the CLIA & CAP certified labs in our network. All for no additional charge.
Blood work pricing at a lab can range anywhere from $100 for one simple test, to $3,000 for several complex tests. On average, getting blood work done at a lab when the patient is uninsured will cost around $1,500.
For primary care physicians, patients only wait, on average, 18 minutes – but the length of time to get an appointment can be a hurdle. 60% of patients wait 2 weeks for a PCP appointment and only 10% see their regular doctor the same day they need care.
Average new patient physician appointment wait times have increased significantly. The average wait time for a physician appointment for the 15 large metro markets surveyed was 24.1 days, up 30% from 2014.
Appointment wait times are longer in mid-sized metro markets than in large metro markets. The average wait time for a new patient physician appointment in all 15 mid-sized markets was 32 days, 32.8% higher than the average for large metro markets.
It takes an average of 24 days to schedule a first-time appointment with a physician — a 30 percent increase since 2014, when the average wait time was 18.5 days, according to The 2017 Survey of Physician Appointment Wait Times and Medicare and Medicaid Acceptance Rates.
Take that time by what you feel you are worth per hour. It adds up quickly and it's also disruptive to your normal workday.
Comprehensive metabolic panel: A blood test that assesses liver and kidney function as well as electrolytes
Hospital charge: $179
Lab Me: $129 (and you don't drive, have to get a prescription first, get easy-to-understand results that are graphically trackable).
An Ultimate CBC Test Cheat Sheet You Should Check
Lipid Panel: A blood test that checks total cholesterol and breaks it down into good and bad components.
Hospital charge: $68
Lab Me: $69 (and you get a lot more than just lipids!)
Urine Analysis: Looks for blood, infection, or protein in your urine.
Hospital charge: $92
Lab Me: We do urine analysis but only for Neurotransmitter and Hormone Testing.
Hemoglobin A1C: A single blood test that checks your average blood sugar for the last 3 months.
Hospital charge: $61
Thyroid Stimulating Hormone: A blood test that evaluates your thyroid function.
Read: Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) Ultimate Cheat Sheet
Hospital charge: $108
Lab Me: $79 (TSH only), $299 (plus 14 other biomarkers including heavy metals, toxic elements, free T3/4, and thyroid antibodies)
PSA: A blood test that helps to check for prostate cancer.
Hospital charge: $117
Lab Me: $109 (and you also get testosterone and vitamin D) or for a more comprehensive look at $129 you get all of that plus full lipid panel and more.
What can proactively approaching your health, save you from in the future? Below are some common procedures and tests that are done once an issue has reared its ugly head. Although please note that some of the below scans or procedures are very proactive if done in advance of any disease process. For example, mammograms, colonoscopies, and ultrasounds.
Some hospitals even allow you cheap access to proactive screening. For example, Parkview Health in Fort Wayne, Indiana. They offer $50 "Heart Smart" CT scans which use CT imaging to look at your heart for signs of calcification which is a predictor for both heart disease and stroke. Taking advantage of these types of programs is well worth it.
EKG: A screening test for abnormal heart rhythms and other signs of heart disease.
Hospital charge: $367
Echocardiogram: An ultrasound of the heart to look at valves and assess function.
Hospital charge: $4,361
(Price includes a fee for Radiologist)
Chest X-Ray: To look for lung disease and some forms of heart disease, or broken bones.
Hospital charge: $375
Mammogram: A screening test for breast cancer
Hospital charge: $336
Ultrasound of the Abdomen: Can assess Kidneys, Liver, Gall Bladder, and other organs.
Hospital charge: $1,440
Ultrasound of the Pelvis: Images of the Uterus and Ovaries
Hospital charge: $1,106
CT of Head: Often used to look for lesions in the Brain.
Hospital charge: $2,621
CT of Chest with IV Contrast: Can accurately evaluate lung disease and other problems in the chest.
Hospital charge: $5,295
CT of Abdomen with IV Contrast: Accurately images the abdomen for tumors or another disease.
Hospital charge: $5,680
CT of Pelvis with IV Contrast: Often done at the same time as the abdominal CT.
Hospital charge: $5,030
MRI of the Brain: A more accurate way to image the brain than a CT scan but it’s more expensive and can’t be done as quickly or easily.
Hospital charge: $3,422
MRI of the Cervical Spine: Accurately images the neck
Hospital charge: $3,041
MRI of the Thoracic Spine: Accurately images the upper back
Hospital charge: $3,422
MRI of the Lumbar Spine: Accurately images the lower back.
Hospital charge: $3,535
The amount billed varies substantially for different medical groups but it usually ranges from $1,000 to $8,000 for each.
Colonoscopy, Diagnostic: A screening test for colon cancer where the entire colon is examined through a fiber-optic tube.
Private insurance: $504 Medicare: $464
Colonoscopy with Biopsy: If a lesion is found on screening colonoscopy a biopsy is needed.
Private insurance: $603 Medicare: $555
Upper endoscopy with Biopsy: Evaluates problems in the esophagus and stomach, again through a fiber-optic tube.
Private insurance: $447 Medicare: $410
|Comprehensive Metabolic Panel||$179|
|Lab Test||Lab Me|
|Comprehensive Metabolic Panel||Coming Soon|
|Urinalysis||Neurotransmitters & Heavy Metals|
These current healthcare stats clearly show that healthcare isn't cheap. Being proactive isn't necessarily cheap either, however, it's less expensive than waiting till something really goes wrong. Even medication costs are getting out of hand.
Annual average out-of-pocket prescription drug expenditures for all adults are $177, but people age 65 and older pay much more for their medications. People age 65 to 79 pay $456 out-of-pocket. People age 80 and older pay even more.
Let alone, the costs of serious issues, such as heart attacks.
The average cost of a less severe heart attack is about $760,000. Amortized over 20 years, that's $50,000 per year for a severe heart attack and $38,000 per year for a less severe heart attack.
So in closing...
Consumers like home testing because it is convenient. A simple quick test at home avoids a trip to the doctor's office, which can take a large chunk of time. Home testing is also anonymous. You may get fast results, or have to set up a private personal identification number (PIN). Either way, the results are for you alone.
At-home laboratory testing has its obvious advantages. One can have multiple important tests without even leaving the apartment. It’s private and convenient, moreover, such tests can remove a serious burden off the shoulders of healthcare systems. In the U.S., these can also become the first step for uninsured Americans to finally access healthcare.