Whether you have health insurance or not, lab work can get pretty expensive.  If you have insurance but still haven't paid your deductible, the insured rates for blood tests are liable to cost hundreds of dollars depending on the work-up, and if you aren't insured, you get screwed because you don't even get the negotiated rate.  This CNN article outlines a new service that drastically decreases the cost of otherwise expensive lab tests.  I perused PrePaidLabs.com myself, and the claims aren't exaggerated.  You can still rack up a bill if multiple tests are needed (again, depending on the tests), but the final price will be a fraction of what one would pay under normal circumstances.

From the article:

Here's how it works: Patients needing lab work can go to the medical society's website and click on the big yellow box in the middle of the page. From there they choose the tests their doctor says they need, give the doctor's fax number, pay with a credit card and print out the order. They then take the order to any LabCorp location in 47 states and have the work done. Results are sent securely to the patient and the doctor, often within 24 hours.

Here is another snippet for purposes of comparison:

For example, a lipid panel (cholesterol test) in Lefton's area can cost as much as $148 for an uninsured person. The same test is available for less than $18 through the site.

It's worth popping over to CNN to get the full details on how the process works, especially for those who've forgone getting blood tests due to prohibitive costs.  The service isn't available in New York, New Jersey, or Rhode Island, but for everyone else, this could be a godsend.

This article is cross-posted at Foolish Human.