Readers of this site may already know that one can order numerous blood tests without contacting a doctor in the United States. Often at prices that are lower than the discounted prices offered through health insurance plans.
I use UltaLabs. There are many others. I go to the website and select all the tests I need. Many are discounted and there are always sales. Then I search online for a coupon. Once my order is completed, I am directed to a nearby blood draw facility. Mine happens to be in a medical office in the back of a Safeway that I can walk to. All I need to do is show up with a printout of my order. UltaLabs uses Quest Diagnostics to process the blood work.
AI prompt: lab with vials of blood. pop art
Then over the next few days, the results will start coming in. I have Quest connected to my Apple Health app. I can also log in to their website to see the results. Charts and colored bars tell me if I’m in a good range and if things are getting directionally better or worse.
Often when I tell people I do my own blood work, they mention their doctor and health insurance. Enough with getting permission and getting reimbursements! Unless you have an amazing relationship with your doctor and awesome health insurance, my advice is to do it my way and pay out of pocket.
When I was with Kaiser, I did it the traditional way. I made an appointment with my assigned doctor. Drove to the appointment. Waited in the lobby. Had my meeting. Made the case for getting some blood tests. After getting permission, I had to go to another building for the blood draw service. Wait there. Then drive home. Weeks later I would receive the bill which showed the price of the tests and the discounted price I would pay because I had insurance. It was twice as high as UltaLabs and I didn’t get all the tests I wanted. Too much friction.
Go around the doctor. Get your own blood work. If you discover an issue, then make a doctor’s appointment. Apple Health lets you share your medical info directly from the app.
Another reason I like working with UltaLabs and Quest is because it is my account and my data. It is independent of my health insurance. Since I left Kaiser and had a phone upgrade, I have not been able to access those labs. I’ve spent numerous hours trying to get those records imported. I eventually gave up.
If you need more help picking tests and analyzing them, there are companies like Mareck and Inside Tracker that provide additional services.
I lost my Kaiser data from 2020. I had a 400-something reading.
I wish I could go back in time and get blood work every year. I missed last year, because of my hernia and surgery. I didn’t want junk data. I plan to get blood work done twice this year. In February and early autumn.
I am far from an expert on this topic. I’m learning more every year. Here is a Google Sheet that I use to write down blood test ideas.