New coronavirus tests from lab-testing giants Laboratory Corp. of America Holdings and Quest Diagnostics Inc. will cost roughly $50 to $100, according to George Liakeas, a physician in Manhattan, and Janice Johnston, a physician in Phoenix, each of whom were told the price tags in their dealings with the companies.
LabCorp and Quest are crucial players in the effort to expand U.S. testing, which has so far lagged demand, beyond federal, state and local labs.
The entry of commercial labs also has raised questions about cost, already a thorny issue in the U.S. health-care system and especially during a pandemic, where it could dissuade patients who fear getting a bill for seeking medical help.
In addition to the expense of lab testing, patients access it through a doctor’s office or hospital visit, compounding the costs.
A Quest spokeswoman said on Wednesday she did not yet have a definite answer about the cost, but that changes have been proposed to make the test a cost covered by insurance.
LabCorp confirmed in an email an expected price of $51 for all patients but said the price paiid by the government’s Medicare program hasn’t been finalized and the company will not bill until that happens.
Northwell Health, which is the largest health system in New York and also began running its own coronavirus tests this week, has not yet determined its exact pricing but “anticipated the per-test cost to be a couple hundred dollars,” a spokesman said in an email.
Johnston, the Arizona doctor, said in an interview earlier this week that she was expecting the coronavirus testing to cost about $50.