Healthcare Cost

How Much Does it Cost to Test for Lupus Without Insurance?

Alexandra Thompson
Alexandra Thompson22 Sep 2022

The most common method to test for lupus is by performing complete blood count (CBC) labs and antinuclear antibody tests (ANA). Without insurance, CBC labs and ANA can cost between $169 and $722. The second testing method for lupus involves performing a skin or kidney biopsy, which can cost between $1,000 and $4,340 without insurance 

What is the Cost of Testing for Lupus without Insurance?

Depending on what testing method or combination of methods your provider uses to diagnose lupus, the cost of care without insurance can be expensive. The chart below outlines testing costs, from initial primary care visit and physical exam to skin or kidney biopsy. 

Cost of Lupus Testing Without Insurance 

Type of Testing Cost 
Primary Care Visit $150-$300 
Physical Exam $50 - $200
Complete Blood Count (CBC) $140 - $622 
Antinuclear Antibody Test (ANA)$29.00 - $159.00 
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) Test $400.00 - $770.00
Skin Biopsy $150 - $1,000
Kidney Biopsy$1,824 - $4,340 

Source: Cost Helper 

Testing for Lupus  

Lupus can be difficult to diagnose as the signs and symptoms might be related to another disease or illness. However, suppose you are experiencing any symptoms or conditions that are not consistent with your current illness or conditions. In that case, you should alert your primary care physician immediately. Common symptoms of lupus include

  • Muscle and Joint Pain
  • Fever
  • Rashes
  • Chest pain
  • Hair loss
  • Kidney Problems
  • Extreme Fatigue
  • Anemia  

Once your physician is aware of your symptoms, the first course of action is to evaluate your medical and family health history and perform a physical exam. Your family health history can help you understand if lupus or other autoimmune diseases run in your family. After the initial evaluation, your provider might instruct you to get a complete blood count (CBC) and Antinuclear Antibody Test (ANA). 

The CBC is generally used to identify abnormalities in your red and white blood count and platelets. The Antinuclear Antibody Test (ANA) can show if your immune system is more likely to make autoantibodies of lupus. Generally speaking, people with lupus will show positive on the ANA test. However, it's important to note that a positive ANA does not automatically mean you have lupus. Your provider might order additional antibody tests tailored to recognize Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE): the most common type of lupus.

If further tests are needed to confirm a lupus diagnosis, your provider might recommend a skin or kidney biopsy. During a biopsy, minor surgery is used to remove a sample of skin or kidney tissue that is then examined under a microscope, to look for signs of autoimmune disorder. 

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What is Lupus?   

Lupus is a chronic disease that causes inflammation and pain throughout any part of your body. Lupus is an autoimmune disease that causes your immune system ( that fights off infection) to attack healthy tissue. Although lupus typically affects your skin, joints, and internal organs such as your heart and kidneys. 

Anyone can develop lupus in their lifetime. However, some individuals are at a greater risk of developing it, such as

  • Women ages 15 to 44
  • Certain racial-ethnic groups - African American, Asian American, Hispanic/Latino, Native American, or Pacific Islander.
  • People who have a family history of lupus or other autoimmune diseases

Types of Lupus  

There are four different types of lupus.

  • Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
  • Cutaneous lupus: a kind of lupus limited to the skin
  • Drug-induced lupus: a lupus-like illness caused by prescription drugs
  • Neonatal lupus: rare conditions that pertain to infants of women with lupus

SLE is the most common type of lupus that affects 70% of the individuals that are diagnosed with lupus

Signs and Symptoms of Lupus

Lupus is often hard to diagnose and pinpoint because most symptoms can be signs of another condition or illness. Although lupus is a chronic condition, the symptoms can come and go, meaning you don't feel them simultaneously or always experience the same symptoms. If you think you might have lupus, you should document the frequency of symptoms you are experiencing and provide your primary care provider with that information. The chart below highlights common lupus symptoms and how they typically appear amongst individuals with lupus.

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Lupus Symptoms and Explanations

Symptom About 
Muscle and Joint Pain Pain and stiffness, with or without swelling. Common areas: neck, thighs, shoulders, and upper arms 
Fever Fever higher than 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Fever caused by inflammation or infection 
Rashes Rashes on parts of your body that are exposed to the sun. One common sign is red, butterfly-shaped rashes across the nose and cheeks 
Chest Pain Lupus can trigger inflammation of the lungs
Hair Loss Patchy or bald spots 
Sun or Light Sensitivity Most people with lupus are sensitive to light ( photosensitivity) 
Kidney Problems Lupus can cause kidney problems such as lupus nephritis; can cause weight gain, swollen ankles, high blood pressure, and decreased kidney function 
Mouth Sores Sores or ulcers can appear on the roof of the mouth, gums, or inside the cheeks 
Prolonged or Extreme Fatigue Feelings of tiredness or exhaustion even with enough sleep  
Anemia Fatigue could be a sign of anemia
Memory ProblemsSome individuals with lupus report forgetfulness or confusion 
Blood Clotting Lupus can cause a high risk of blood clotting 
Eye Disease Dry eyes, eye inflammation, and eyelid raches

Source: CDC.Gov 


Unfortunately, there is no treatment to cure lupus, as it is a chronic but manageable condition. The goal after being diagnosed is usually to feel better, prevent flare-ups, manage symptoms, and reduce organ damage. Following your diagnosis, your physician may prescribe you medications to help manage your lupus. Types of medications commonly used to treat and manage lupus:

  • Nonsteroid Antiinflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Corticosteroids
  • Antimalarial Drugs
  • Immunosuppressive agents or Chemotherapy

Bottom Line 

Lupus is a common and manageable autoimmune disease that affects thousands of people each year. Although numerous symptoms can indicate lupus, it's essential to consult with your physician before making any self-diagnosis. Once you relay your symptoms and history to your provider, they can create a course of action to determine what is causing your symptoms accurately. Depending on the complexity of your symptoms and health history, testing for lupus can be time-consuming and costly. 

When it comes to being worried about your health, the last thing you need is added stress about the cost of seeking care, let alone the cost of treatment. However, with Mira, that process can be a little bit easier. For as low as $45 per month, you get access to low-cost lab testing, prescription medications, urgent care, and primary care services. Sign up Today!

Alexandra Thompson

Originally from Houston, Texas, Alexandra is currently getting her Master's in Public Health with a health policy certificate at Columbia University. One of her life goals is to own her own art gallery!