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Health Care: How To Save Money

When You Need Lab Tests

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There is not really much negotiating with respect to fees for lab tests. With the exception of the most basic testing (such as urine dip stick or glucose blood strips), the doctor generally refers lab tests to commercial labs he or she works with regularly.

The best way to save money with respect to lab tests is to avoid unnecessary tests. When the doctor recommends a test, ask whether the test is necessary -- particularly if you had the same test recently. Many doctors practice "defensive medicine" (they order more tests than necessary in order to avoid law suits), or because it is local custom.

If the test is necessary,consider asking:

  • Are (inexpensive) do-it-yourself tests available for simple procedures?
  • If not, is there a less expensive alternative?
  • Does it matter where you have the test done? Some doctors feel strongly that a particular test be done by a facility or specialist they know and trust. If no particular facility or specialist is required, you can shop around for the best price.

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