No one likes to be told what to do, but unfortunately, many doctors and health care practitioners don’t realize that that is exactly what is happening on a daily basis – insurance coverage and medical algorithms often determine the tests that a health care provider will order.
You can request that your family practitioner order a set of lab tests, but it is, unfortunately, a low likelihood that they will acquiesce to your request. Why? Besides the algorithms and insurance restrictions mentioned above, they may not know how to interpret the results. This puts their license at risk, and no doctor or health care practitioner wants to lose a license that cost them so much time and money to obtain – even if it is for the good of the patient!
The good news is that there are now direct-to-consumer-labs that don’t require an order from a practitioner. These labs often negotiate lab fees with national lab companies, and ordering through one of these is actually less costly than paying a lab’s cash fees or paying for labs that insurance denies. For example, a basic CBC may cost $15 with a direct-to-consumer-lab, but insurance could be “charged” $100 for this and decide whether or not they want to actually pay for it. If they deny payment, that cost goes to the patient.
Don’t let insurance and your health care provider be the reason you don’t get your blood work evaluated. Advocate for yourself, and learn about your health risks before they become health problems.
Forbes article on the benefits of direct-to-consumer lab testing: https://www.forbes.com/sites/stevedickman/2016/06/16/direct-to-consumer-clinical-lab-testing-wont-kill-us-it-will-make-us-stronger/#d304f1d284f1
Factors affecting laboratory use and prices: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4191351/