What Factors Affect the Cost of Lab Test?


Quick Answer

Factors that affect lab test costs include hospitals' overhead expenses and hospitals' needs for facility renovations and new technologies, says the Washington Post. In the health care industry, institutions often recoup losses in certain areas by increasing the prices of unrelated services. As a result, lab test price increases are often disconnected from test-specific factors. Another factor that affects lab test costs is negotiation between insurance companies and health providers, reports ABC News.

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Full Answer

Looking at California hospitals, researchers from the Unviersity of California San Francisco found that costs for routine lab tests were not significantly affected by labor costs, according to the Washington Post. Neither were test costs affected by case load mixes or available hospital bed numbers.

Lab test costs are affected by the type of hospital offering the test, says the Washington Post. Generally speaking, county hospitals and teaching hospitals charge less for tests than non-teaching hospitals. Due to the difficulty of accessing data about hospital charges, it is tough for researchers to analyze the causes of test cost inflation.

Blood test pricing practices are not transparent and it is hard for thrifty patients to shop for low-cost tests, according to Time. Even when hospitals publically release lab fee lists, these lists often feature codes that are difficult for patients to understand.

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