An Easier Way to Save Money on Lab Work

Consumers are always looking for the best deal for the highest quality. But when it comes to health care it may be harder to make comparisons. Think about the last time you were at the doctor’s office. Your doctor may have ordered a complete blood count (CBC) or thyroid panel, because physicians recommend lab work about 50 percent of the time. Did you comparison shop for which lab they sent you to?

Most likely you didn’t. When doctors order tests, labs are often chosen based on habit or historical practice and the physician may not realize there could have been a more affordable, higher quality option to offer their patients.

UnitedHealthcare launched the Preferred Lab Network (PLN) to make it easier to identify and choose lab providers who have committed to improving cost, outcomes and the patient experience within its broad network of more than 300 labs nationwide. While access to labs or lab services will not change, members will experience cost savings by staying within the PLN.

For example, pathology services for a biopsy in the PLN would cost about $89. Members could still choose an in-network lab, but the cost would increase to nearly $151. An out-of-network lab would cost even more.

Infographic: Lab Work Comparisons - General Health Panel, PLN $30, in-network $32, out of network $121 -- complete blood count, PLN $7, in-network $9, out of network $25 --- surgical pathology (biopsy), PLN $89, in network $151, out of network $196

In addition to the lower costs, members using PLN may experience other advantages, such as: 

  • shorter wait times for services,
  • online scheduling for patient service centers,
  • and higher quality of care.

UnitedHealthcare is working with your provider to ensure they are referring members to labs within the PLN. If for some reason your provider refers your lab test out-of-network, it requires UHC approval and a signed member consent form. These extra measures help to protect members from surprise billing. 

For more information about the Preferred Lab Network, click here.