Massive COVID-19 Testing Price Variations Discovered

May 6, 2020

Independent research finds COVID-19 testing costs can vary by hundreds of dollars per test, with billions of dollars at risk nationwide.

MMS Analytics Inc., dba MyMedicalShopper, a leading provider of healthcare price transparency solutions and big data analytics, has identified significant variations in COVID-19 testing costs to patients, with billions of dollars in potential waste at stake across mass population testing efforts, according to a release.

“Our analysis exemplifies the need for price transparency across the entire healthcare system,” says CEO of MMS Analytics, Inc., Mark Galvin. “The industry has taken steps to limit the financial burden of COVID-19 testing and treatment on consumers, which is obviously a benefit to all patients who need care during this health crisis. Still, the impact of coronavirus-related testing and treatment on future health insurance premiums is only now beginning to take shape. It is the total cost of this care-not just the patient responsibility portion of it-that will drive the cost of our health insurance down the road."

Related: CVS Reports Strong First Quarter

After analyzing tests from both official CDC and non-official CDC testing facilities, MMS Analytics Inc., dba MyMedicalShopper found:
• Charged amounts range from $51 to $351
• Allowed amounts (the insurance-negotiated discounted amounts actually paid) range from $39 to $157.

“While it’s still early in the collection and analysis process, our early findings on COVID-19 DNA/RNA identification tests expose yet another example of significant variation in medical care prices,” says Evan Young, head of Data Analytics for MMS Analytics, Inc. “Based on our preliminary analyses, it appears that the price differences for these COVID-19 tests are similar to the differences we observe across thousands of other types of routine medical care. Providing patients with accurate and timely information about cost and quality, as has always been the case, remains an essential step towards mitigating our collective exposure to unnecessary insurance costs over the long term."