It's No Surprise Why Consumers Use The Internet to Order Lower-Priced Clinical Lab Tests

July 1, 2015

It’s No Surprise Why More Consumers Use the Internet to Order Lower-Priced Clinical Laboratory Tests

It’s nearly impossible to do a web search for any term that includes “medical laboratory tests” and not have the search engine return paid listings for numerous clinical laboratory testing companies organized specifically to allow consumers to order their own lab tests over the Internet. This is a sign that the direct-to-consumer medical laboratory testing marketplace is booming.

One clue as to why these laboratories are springing up can be found in their message to consumers. “Save Up To 60% on Direct Lab Testing!” says one site. “Accurate and affordable medical tests online!” declares another. Those headlines promise that the consumer can save money—plenty of money—if they will bypass traditional brick-and-mortar clinical laboratories. By using the Internet to order medical laboratory tests, consumers can save remarkable amounts of money.

Even CNN has noticed this “order your lab tests over the Internet” phenomenon. When CNN did a news report on this trend last December, one online test provider got an immediate boost in sales from consumers nationwide.

Three categories of people who have a motivation to order lab tests from an Internet-based company:

  • First, growing numbers of people have health insurance coverage that mandates high deductibles. It is becoming more common for the annual deductable to be $1,500 or more. For consumers with a health savings account (HSA), the individual yearly deductible can be $2,600 and the family deductible can be $5,600.
  • Second, more people are under-insured. Their current health coverage may offer limited benefits. That motivates them to find medical services and laboratory testing at the lowest possible price.
  • Third, the number of uninsured in the United States has increased significantly since the advent of the recession in late 2008. With unemployment continuing at relatively high levels, these people must pay cash for their healthcare.

Online marketers are organized to serve these three sizeable categories of consumers. They target consumers who seek to keep the cost of clinical laboratory tests as low as possible. Patients who fit into one of the three categories listed above are typically acutely conscious of the cost of medical lab tests.

It is a reality in today’s healthcare market that there is a sizeable group of consumers who cannot afford to pay the patient list prices for medical laboratory tests typically charged by the national laboratory companies. That is why the business goal of these Internet-based lab testing companies is to offer medical lab tests at prices that are very low when compared to the patient list prices charged by local hospital labs in their community.