What Does A BUN Test Cost?

Edit to add, for those who found this post googling “What does a BUN cost?”: it should be less than $20.  Pre-paid labs currently charges $11.85 (plus admin fee).


Perhaps I’ve mentioned it before, but I’m one of those people who actually reads their EOBs when they arrive in the mail.  Then I compare the EOB with my notes of where/when/why of the appointment, and check all of that against my bill.

It’s kinda nice, because I’ve been able to figure out what the charge is for many of the labs that have been ordered, and compare prices.  In theory, if one lab charges significantly more than another, I could choose to get my blood draws done at the place that’s most economical.

Today, then, an EOB arrived showing that my daughter’s labs done at Children’s Hospital were $477.

Um. No.

  1. No labs were done at Children’s.  Her labs on the date in question were done at the local lab, fifteen minutes from my house.  I had my blood drawn at the same time, and the EOB for my labwork looks perfectly normal.
  2. There’s only test she had that I don’t have a dollar amount on.  If I had to guess, I’d put it in the $10-$45 range.  Some tests are a bit more than that, but I seriously doubt that a BUN test costs $243.

Local lab might be interested to learn that their billing company is giving their money to a different provider.  My insurer might be interested to know that they’ve been billed inaccurately. 

I’m very impressed with the care we’ve gotten at Children’s Hospital, but they are seriously deluded if they think I’ll be paying them for work they didn’t do.  And now that I see their fees, I know that we’ll never have labs drawn at Children’s.  We’ll bring their lab slip to a different local lab and see if the billing company can keep things straight.

I’m in shock that there can be such a significant difference in what labs charge.


6 thoughts on “What Does A BUN Test Cost?

  1. Warmsocks,
    You are wise to be thorough analyzing the explanation of benefits and fees charged for everything. BUN costs $10-18 in my office.
    Some labs might subcontract some labs for children with the local children’s hospital. Lab charges for the uninsured are outrageous, like 20 or more times the agreed to fee for insurance companies. That’s part of the shameless bankrupting of America perpetrated by the medical industrial complex. None of the charges in health care necessarily relate to the agreed to charges with insurance companies. It gets pretty confusing.

    • Thank you. My guess was that BUN was another $10.70 test; no way it’s $243. Children’s is a 2-3 hour drive (depending on traffic/time of day) away from where we had the work done, and this local lab has done work for my daughter before without billing through Children’s. My guess is that the billing company made a mistake. I talked to someone this morning who will track down and correct the problem.

  2. Just compare those prices to spanish ones:


    Sums a total cost of… 60€!(On private clinic) Now, convert that into your usual $ , 60* 1,3 = 80$.

    Huge difference, isn’t? Definitely, US system is absolutely plagued by insurance companies.

  3. Socks: Just a thought. Sometimes when my doctors order tests to be done through the associated hospital, these are “prepaid” billed through the doctor’s office. That is, even though the test is done through the lab, the billing comes through the doctor’s office. This may have been “automatically” done in your instance when they ordered the tests. Then when you actually had the labs done at another facility, your lab would have billed directly (for a second time). You shouldn’t have to deal with this, but I’d suggest that you (1) contact the doctor’s office to see what the deal is and (2) also call your insurance company to let them know the situation.

    Good luck with all of this.

    • Preliminary guess is that Children’s is part of a network that the local lab is also part of. Whoever did the billing saw the order slip and didn’t realize that we’d gone to a different lab. If they get it straightened out with minimal fuss, we consider trying local lab again. If they don’t, next time we’ll go to a lab in an entirely different system. For that huge a difference in cost, I can drive an extra 30-40 minutes.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s