Should an iron test be $21.48 or $256.25. It depends on who pays.

I had some lab work done due to low iron. The original charge from the lab was $256.25. My insurance then got a “plan discount” of $234.77. The health plan then paid $17.18 and my share is $4.30. So, the total for the test was $21.48, of which my share was negligible.

If I was uninsured, I would owe 100% of the original charges. The most I could hope for is a modest cash discount. if late in paying, I would be beset upon by a collections department.

So, I ask, what does this test really cost? Apparently it can be done for a bit over $20 profitably, as that is what the lab ended up getting. It looks like just marking prices up to mark them down later (for some payers).


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