Thursday August 16th 2018

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How much does drug testing cost?


Is drug testing expensive?

Usually, the cost of drug testing and screening will be under $100. Compared to the cost of full-blown drug rehabilitation, drug testing is relatively inexpensive. Free and/or low cost drug testing is generally very easy to find. Drug testing and screening at a drug rehab or mental health facility will be your most expensive option. Fortunately, there are several resources you can use to reduce your cost, including non-profit groups, government programs, and health insurance.

Drug testing: How much does it cost?

According to one study, the average cost of drug testing and assessment was around $400 in mental health and medical facilities across the country. This most often included mental health exams and screening for addiction as well as a brief intervention. Lab diagnostic testing via blood, hair, sweat, and/or urine based samples will also be relatively expensive. These tests vary in price based on type of specimen tested, as well as the number of drugs that you’d like to screen for.

If you simply want to know if a loved one is under the influence of drugs, though, there are much cheaper alternatives. Home drug testing kits, for example, are probably the most affordable option. These can be obtained from schools, community health offices, and pharmacies as well as ordered online. Their costs can vary from $5-25.

Is drug testing tax deductible?

According to the 2013 IRS tax code, your out-of-pocket medical expenses are only tax deductible only after they exceed 10% of your gross adjusted income. Therefore, it’s a bit unlikely that you’d be able to to claim drug testing as a tax deduction.

Is drug testing covered by insurance?

Some drug testing and screening may be covered by your insurance. In order to be eligible, though, drug testing services must be performed by a medical facility. To make sure that your insurance will cover this service, you should contact your insurance company and verify that the facility that you choose accepts your insurance. Home drug testing kits typically aren’t covered by insurance.

Will Medicare pay for drug testing?

There’s a good chance that traditional Medicare will pay for drug testing and assessment, particularly if it’s combined with inpatient treatment in a dedicated mental health hospital. However, it will usually only cover part of the cost, and you may be required to come up with a deductible for the rest of the amount. Medicare Part A, though, will cover inpatient substance abuse services, including drug testing and screening.

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For more information on Medicare and what it covers, visit the Medicare website at or call 1-800-MEDICARE.

Is drug testing free?

Like anything else in life, drug testing is almost never free. It may be possible to locate some low cost and free drug testing and assessment, though. Your state’s federally funded substance abuse referral program would be a good place to start. This program will usually be able to refer you to programs and facilities that offer free drug testing and rehab.

Sliding scale drug testing

Many addiction treatment facilities that offer drug testing and assessment services offer sliding scale fees. With this arrangement, you will only pay what you can afford. The final cost to you is usually based on factors such as your income and expenses.

One of the best places to start when looking for sliding scale drug testing facilities is the National Drug Abuse Hotline, which can be reached by calling 1-800-662 HELP. When you call, ask them for any facilities in your area that may offer low cost or sliding scale drug testing services.

You can also call your state’s Department of Health and Human Services for help finding sliding scale drug testing. You can easily find the contact information for your state in the Directory of Single State Agencies (SSA) for Substance Abuse Services, which is offered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). This department will be able to direct you to your district’s substance abuse services administration, which can set up a drug testing and drug use assessment.

Drug testing financial aid and assistance

Other types of drug testing financial aid and assistance may also be offered by some substance abuse treatment facilities directly. Contact local facilities in your area, and request information about their programs and any available drug testing financial aid and assistance.

Reference Sources: NetQuote: Substance Abuse Insurance Coverage
NCBI: The Economic Costs of Substance Abuse Treatment: Updated Estimates and Cost Bands for Program Assessment and Reimbursement
SAMHSA: Substance Abuse Prevention Dollars and Cents: A Cost-Benefit Analysis
IRS: Topic 502 – Medical and Dental Expenses
Medicare: Inpatient Mental Health Care l
SAMHSA: Health Reform 

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6 Responses to “How much does drug testing cost?
12:59 am April 17th, 2016

I am required to be drug tested in order to receive my narcotic pain prescriptions. I received an almost $500.00 bill because insurance didn’t pay any of it. I can’t afford $5.00 let along $500.00. What can I do? 1 truly feel like giving up on life.

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
3:16 pm April 22nd, 2016

Hi Stacy. I suggest you first speak with a customer service worker and see if your insurance covers drug testing.

8:13 pm August 2nd, 2016

How much does a drug test for a employer usually cost

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
6:09 pm August 9th, 2016

Hi Orra. The cost of drug testing is thought to be in the range of $25-$50 per employee. The average national drug testing cost overall is about $38 per test.

5:55 pm December 4th, 2017

These estimates for drug screening are very conservative for what my insurance is being charged each month for me to be on Suboxone. The bcbs insurance statements show charges in excess of $4,000.00. That’s right, 4 and 3 zeros…in years past it’s been as low as $700 but never less. I’m sure it’s all to do with insurance paying and not out of pocket. We wonder why our health insurance is expensive……..

6:13 am May 18th, 2018

I have drug screening done kind of randomly for a pain-management contract. The last company was expensive, but it was at least in-network, & with my illnesses i usually maxed the Out-of-Pocket by the time summer rolled around. But my Doctor’s office just switched handlers & I got my 1st insurance statement. They billed insurance $2000.. Since it’s out-of-network, my portion is $600.. How am I supposed to cover that at least 3 times a year? All for a drug test that I KNOW doesn’t cost that much! Ridiculous!
I’m thankful my Doc takes of me. I have 28 years off Alcohol & Street Drugs. I am fully aware of how easily I could slip back in to stinkin’ thinkin’. But I’m not willing to go broke for it.
How much is reasonable these days?

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