When my cardiologist and I had a small miscommunication about the tests he was ordering at the end of December (which mattered because I had hit my huge deductible so was trying to get all necessary medical expenses done in 2015!) I learned two things:
- You can save HUNDREDS of dollars on lab tests if you shop around – key if you are paying out of pocket because you have a high deductible.
- You can order your own lab tests – you don’t need a doctor’s prescription for many tests, including cholesterol testing!
Here’s what happened… and how you can save money and get your cholesterol tested at any time YOU choose.
I started out with an actual prescription; my cardiologist wrote me an Rx for a VAP Cholesterol Test, which included a diagnosis code. Googling it, I learned the VAP test was exactly what I was looking for – the ‘basic’ fasting lipid test. “The VAP test assesses levels of all the blood lipids measured in a standard lipid profile (total cholesterol, LDL, HDL, and triglycerides), plus subclasses of lipids that are known or emerging risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as LDL particle size and lipoprotein(a).”
Then I called the two conglomerate blood drawing facilities I’m used to using with the test name and diagnosis code, and found this simple cholesterol blood panel was going to cost $210.
Yikes. Especially because if this test had been included – as I thought it had been – in the blood test my doctor ordered in December, it would have cost me ZERO out of pocket.
So I searched online and found a company called Walk-In Lab. Their website slogan is, “Convenient. Affordable. Confidential,” and that is exactly what it was. Instead of $210, I ordered the VAP test – the very same test – for a grand total of $82. I was thrilled to save $128 (!!!) and their blood drawing facility was actually closer – and cleaner – than the one I normally go to!
PLUS – you don’t even need the doctor’s Rx to get this test done. You just order it yourself, online. (NOTE: LabCorp does NOT operate in some New England states. According to their site, “New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Maryland state laws prohibit direct-access testing and LabCorp has temporarily suspended testing in Massachusetts.”)
So if you don’t want to spend money on a doctor visit but feel it’s time/important for a cholesterol check – OR – if you have an Rx from your doctor for a lipid panel but are paying out of pocket and would prefer NOT to pay $200+ for a test, check out Walk-In Lab for a VAP #1 Baseline test. Right now, instead of the $92 – $10 coupon total cost I paid in December, the VAP is a veritable bargain at $69!)
A few things to note:
- Make sure there is a blood drawing laboratory convenient to you BEFORE you order your test online. There is a lab locator on the Walk-In Lab site (Walk-In Lab does not draw the blood – those are separate facilities and you must be sure you have one nearby BEFORE you buy your test!)
- Watch and/or read the Walk-In Lab “How It Works” before you buy your test.
- Cholesterol tests offered are listed here: Walk-In Lab Cholesterol Tests. As I’d had a detailed test done the prior year, I just needed the ‘baseline’ test…but you can order more detailed tests – for more money, of course.
While it’s critical to meet with your doctor about your cholesterol levels and heart disease risk, if you wind up like me, in a situation where you just need a simple test done quickly, check out Walk-In Lab!
P.S. Apologies for lack of posts: had a big technical issue that took a few weeks to solve.