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Basic Metabolic Panel: Procedure, Costs, & Where to Find

Jacqueline Slobin30 Apr 2021

Basic Metabolic Panel: Procedure, Costs, & Where to Find

A basic metabolic panel is a blood test that evaluates your kidney function, metabolism, and electrolyte balance. On average, a basic metabolic panel costs $235 without insurance, but prices can vary depending on where you get tested. You can significantly reduce this cost with health insurance or alternative coverage options.

A membership with Mira, an alternative coverage option, can give you access to a health panel test, which includes the basic metabolic among other tests, for only $49. Sign up today.

Basic Metabolic Panel Procedure Overview 

A basic metabolic panel (BMP) is taken through a blood sample and tests for 8 different substances in the blood. These substances are glucose, calcium, sodium, potassium, carbon dioxide (bicarbonate), chloride, creatinine, and blood urea nitrogen. 

These substances are able to give important indicators related to your kidney function, metabolism, electrolyte balance, and blood sugar levels. A doctor may suggest getting a BMP as part of a routine health visit, if you are feeling sick, or to check the effectiveness of medications you are taking. If you go to the hospital, a BMP may also be done to help with diagnoses and to evaluate your health status. 

You may need to fast for about 10-12 hours before getting a basic metabolic panel test in order to yield the most accurate results. Results of a basic metabolic panel may be available in as few as 24 hours. 

Basic Metabolic Panel Cost 

The cost of a basic metabolic panel can vary depending on where you get the test done. In general, the median cost of a basic metabolic panel is $214; however, there is significant variability depending on where you get tested. 

For example, if you get a basic metabolic panel at a lab, you can pay as little as $35. But if you get this test at a hospital, you can get charged up to $7,000 to cover additional fees for staying and being treated in a hospital. Therefore, if you are getting a basic metabolic panel as a routine test, it is best to go to a lab, urgent care, or primary care physician rather than a hospital. 

If you are trying to get blood work done, Mira offers a health panel test that includes a comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP), complete blood count (CBC), urinalysis, and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) test for only $49. 

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Where to Get a Basic Metabolic Panel 

There are several locations where you can get a basic metabolic panel test. Some of these locations include labs, urgent care facilities, doctor’s offices (primary care physicians), and hospitals. Each will get the job done but are slightly different in cost and potentially in the procedure.

Here is a breakdown of where you can get a basic metabolic panel:

  • Labs: laboratory facilities such as Labcorp and Quest Diagnostics offer tests such as a basic metabolic panel. The cost of a basic metabolic panel at a laboratory is typically between $30 - $80.
  • Urgent Care Facilities: most urgent care facilities offer bloodwork and can do a basic metabolic panel. Without insurance, you will likely be charged a visit fee, which is typically $100-$200 in addition to the cost of the basic metabolic panel. The cost of the basic metabolic panel will depend on whether the sample is tested in-house or at an external laboratory, such as Labcorp or Quest Diagnostics.
  • Primary Care Physicians: like urgent care, most doctor’s offices also are able to run basic metabolic panels. You will likely be charged a visit fee and potentially an additional fee for the cost of the test.
  • Hospitals: hospitals can also order basic metabolic panels; however, this is the most expensive way to get this test. If you are just getting routine blood work and are not experiencing an emergency health situation, you should avoid getting a basic metabolic panel at a hospital. However, if you are experiencing a life-threatening health condition and go to the hospital, the doctor may run a basic metabolic panel to aid in diagnosis.

Basic Metabolic Panel Test Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the difference between a basic metabolic panel and a comprehensive metabolic panel? 

A comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP) includes the same 8 tests as a BMP but also has 6 additional tests that look at proteins and liver enzymes. The six additional tests are for albumin, total protein, ALP, ALT, AST, and bilirubin. 

In general, a CMP is recommended over just a BMP if there are concerns about liver or kidney function. A CMP may also be ordered if you have a known liver condition and your doctor wants to monitor its progression. If you have no symptoms or health conditions, your provider may decide that a BMP is sufficient for a routine checkup. 

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What are normal results for a basic metabolic panel?

Below we outline normal levels for the eight substances tested in a basic metabolic panel. Note that the normal cutoff levels may vary based on the lab you are tested at, age, gender, pre-existing health conditions, or current medications. These normal levels are just meant to serve as an example and are not to be used as a substitute for medical advice. 

When you get the results of your basic metabolic panel, it will be indicated if you fall outside the normal levels set by the particular lab that ran your test. 

Normal Levels For Metabolic Panel Substances

Tested Substance

Normal Levels

Glucose70 to 99 mg/dL
Calcium8.6 to 10.3 mg/dL
Sodium135 to 145 mEq/L
Potassium3.6 to 5.2 mmol/L
Bicarbonate23 to 30 mEq/L (varies by age)
Chloride96 and 106 mEq/L
Blood Urea Nitrogen7 to 20 mg/dL
Creatinine0.74 to 1.35 mg/dL for men and 0.59 to 1.04 mg/dL for women

What do the results of a basic metabolic panel mean?

The results of a basic metabolic panel can be used to help diagnose health conditions or screen for certain diseases. It is important to discuss your results with a healthcare provider so that your results can be looked at in the context of your current health status.

In addition, having one versus multiple abnormal results on a basic metabolic panel can be indicative of different health conditions. Your health care provider may decide to follow up with additional tests depending on the results of your basic metabolic panel. 

Some of the conditions that a basic metabolic panel can be used to diagnose include, but are not limited to, kidney disease, diabetes, and pre-diabetes, metabolic problems, or hormonal abnormalities. 

Bottom Line

A basic metabolic panel is used to assess kidney function, metabolism, and electrolyte balance that can be indicative of a variety of health conditions. The average cost of a basic metabolic panel is $235, but prices can range depending on where you get tested. It will likely be less expensive to get this test at an urgent care, doctor’s office, or lab rather than a hospital and it is always important to review your results with a healthcare professional. 

For $45 per month, Mira members get access to discounted urgent care visits, prescriptions, and lab tests. With a Mira membership, you can avoid high prices and get a health panel, which includes a basic metabolic panel, for only $49.