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Top Reasons to Order Your Own Lab Tests

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Laboratory testing provides crucial information for understanding potential causes for symptoms and diseases, for learning how your body’s working, how you can take better care of yourself and for understanding your risk for developing diseases and what you can do about it. 

Unfortunately, lab testing can be incredibly inconvenient and expensive. In the US it’s a more than $20 billion industry, with lots of middle-men—sales reps, insurance companies and hospitals—increasing the costs. 

To give you some idea of the overhead insurance companies have to support, I took a look at the compensation of their CEOs. According to the healthcare business news website, FierceHealthcare, in 2018 the combined compensation of CEOs for UnitedHealth, CVS, Anthem, Centene, Cigna, Humana, Molina Healthcare and WellCare Health Plans collectively earned $143.5 million.

The CEO of UnitedHealth Group, David Wichmann, took home $18.1 million in total compensation, which includes salary, stock and other perks. This was more than 315 times the average UnitedHealth Group employee salary. And he wasn’t even the highest-paid exec. CVS Health’s CEO Larry Merlo took home $21.9 million in total compensation, nearly 620 times the median CVS employee salary. 

And that doesn’t even take into account the salaries and overhead other companies such as hospitals need to cover. All of this adds up to a lot of waste in the healthcare system that translates into higher prices for all of us. 

Because of the cost and inconvenience, many people avoid getting crucial tests done that could improve their health or save their lives. For many people, ordering their own lab tests is the best solution because there are advantages to doing so that you simply cannot get any other way.

Save Time and Money

NBI laboratory testing can save you time and money. Order the same tests doctors can order at your convenience anywhere you have internet access. Schedule your appointment at the nearest test center that works for your schedule. There’s no need to take time off work to see your doctor first, then have to take more time off to get the blood drawn a different day and maybe even have to arrange childcare and unnecessarily waste gas. Ordering tests through NBI is simple, efficient and cost-effective.

Pay with your Health Savings Account

In the US, there are more than 26 million health savings accounts (HSA), also called medical savings accounts (MSA). An HSA is a handy way to save for health expenses and decrease your taxable income. One of the advantages of an HSA is that the balance rolls over from year to year, so you never have to worry about losing your savings. Just like if you were going to your doctor if you have an HSA you can pay for your lab tests using an HSA-associated credit card. The tax savings can be significant. 

Learn What You Don’t Know 

Laboratory testing is an important way to learn more about your body, how it’s doing and what you may need. For example, lab tests for vitamin B12, folic acid and an iron panel can tell you if you need more of these nutrients. 

A serum chemistries panel, which provides information such as your blood sugar level, kidney and liver function can help you see if you need to see your doctor to and of these discuss potential issues. And hormone testing, such as a female hormone panel and a male hormone panel can provide insights as to how your body is producing and processing hormones such as estrogen and testosterone, and whether or not you have enough of these important hormones. 

Testing, and being able to decide which tests to get, is important for understanding what you can’t otherwise know. 

Decide What to Do Next

The knowledge learned from testing can be important for understanding your options and what you can do to feel better or decrease your risks. Discussing test results with your healthcare provider and doing your own research are important steps to combine with testing to learn all your options and which ones are the best for you.

Control Your Own Health

While I’ve heard it said that “knowledge is power,” I don’t believe it. Having knowledge for the sake of knowledge is useless. Taking action based on that knowledge —now that’s powerful. Testing can provide crucial information that helps you change your behavior. That can include improving your diet and making lifestyle changes to reduce your risk of heart disease or other diseases, taking iron because you discover you have an iron deficiency, or learning that your low in thyroid hormone and discussing that with your doctor to understand if you need thyroid hormone replacement. These are just a few examples of how testing can empower positive changes.

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