Do-It-Yourself Blood Tests Becoming Preferred Option For Some

CHICAGO (CBS) — The latest news about health care reveals that just over half of Americans have put off some sort of care because of the cost.

There are ways to cut costs without risking your health. CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker takes a look at the latest order-your-own  blood tests that get results without breaking the bank.

Peter Mango recently learned he has high cholesterol. To control it, he needs to monitor it. But instead of going to a doctor, Mango ordered his own blood test online.

He signed up at It meant he didn’t have to visit a doctor for the test, something he was trying to avoid because he pays $5,000 before his insurance picks up the tab.

“I remember thinking that the cost for a test that I got would probably be in the $500 to $800 range,” he says. “Having it done for $29.95 was a huge benefit.”

There are a number of ways to save money on medical tests. Tucker also signed up at directlabs for a cholesterol test. She was sent to a lab in downtown Chicago where they drew blood, and she got the results the next day. Cost: $29.

There’s also a do it yourself kit. Tucker ordered it from It took a week for the kit to arrive from a lab in Buffalo Grove, and it took two weeks to get the results. Cost: $26.

Getting a cholesterol test at the CVS “minute clinic” was the fastest. Tucker got her results the same day. The cost was $89.

Still, the alternatives are cheaper than a doctor’s visit, which can easily cost you $150.  Plus, you could pay $90 or more for the cholesterol test.

People can also order tests for many other issues, including  diabetes, sexually transmitted diseases, hormones and vitamin levels. But doctors say once you get your results, it’s time for an office visit. 

“They bring them to me and then we kind of go over them together and really look at them in the context of their own health, their own risk factors,” says Jennifer Earvolino of Rush University Medical Center.

Mango eventually took his results to his doctor, who put him on medication, but he’ll continue to monitor his  cholesterol on his own.

“The balance of between taking care of your health and weighing the impact of that on families’ finances is huge in this economy,” he said.

Doctors we spoke with say being able to order your own tests is an important tool for patients. But, to ensure accuracy, make sure the online company sends your test to a lab that’s accredited by an organization like the College of American Pathologists.

Even though the online companies will alert you if your results are abnormal, it’s best to share your tests results on a regular basis with your physician.

  • Steve Horvath

    Hello! I believe that the number 1 protection against high cholesterol is to do not eat fatty Red meat; Common should dictate this. In order to avoid Diabetes,
    people should stay away from drinking Soft Drinks that I call Sugar Water because it spikes one’s Blood Sugar levels like Colas, 7-Up, and etc.. As far as STDs are concerned, stay away from Prostitutes; I one can’t, than always wear a Condom! Hormones are Natures way to make sure out bodies run in a timely fashion; As we age, Hormone production becomes less effective. As far as Vitamin intake is concerned, if one consumes a balanced, healthy diet, there is no alarm for concern. Oil Soluable Vitamin supplements can be dangerous if taken in the wrong quantities; Refer to you High School Biology Class to know which Vitamins are Oil Soluable and which ones are Water Soluable!
    Fundamentally, common sense and knowledge rules when it comes to one’s health and its proper maintanence. Best Regards

    • I'm juss sayin'

      No Mensa card in this guy’s pocket I bet….

  • Andrea Seidner

    what a wonderful service you have provided by introducing us to the Do It Yourself Blood Test. Thank you so much

  • me

    “But doctors say once you get your results, it’s time for an office visit.”

    Of course, they don’t want to be cut out and be forced to give up their racket. The first thing they’re going to want to do is administer their own test to confirm the results of the at-home. CH-CHINNNGGG! These DIY kits could actually be a blessing to them.

  • Bryon Mayhew

    I’ve got much better advice that I would like to share.Forget about paying for a Cholesterol test.Why make CVS rich?What have they ever done for you?Forget all about buying those kits.Wanna know how to get it done free?Go to LifeSource blood center and donate blood.They have several locations throughout Chicagoland.Bring an I.D. card and register with them.Sign up for the Bright Life program and you will have you records at you fingertips every time you donate.This not only includes your cholesterol count,but also your blood pressure,temp and pulse.

    • Tyson

      What about HBA1c for diabetes, TSH, PSA, CRP, Vitamin D. You can get all of these at
      This is great!

  • JIm Shover

    WBBM TV News has performed a great disservice. This is a very disturbing misrepresentation that ignores the complexities and pitfalls of clinical laboratory testing. This story was superficial and sensationalized to attract viewers during a tough economy. The reporter commented that the doctors she spoke to thought this was fine; she clearly never talked to a pathologist or any doctor who understands the topic. The attempt at clever dialogue between reporters at the end of the story trivialized the subject and preyed on the notion that doctors might be upset because they’d loose money. This is false. Most testing is covered by insurance directly and the ordering doctor does not profit. If WBBM were serious, they would consult experts not DIY labs.

    • BOB

      Your comment makes me wonder, if you don’t work for a laboratory that doesn’t perform the kind of testing this report was about. I feel your interested more with corporate America rather than helping the average American, who has high deductibles because of this economy. And what about those individuals who have no coverage at all and are trying to do something about their health.

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