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Charges for 10 common blood tests at 189 California hospitals vary widely, reported researchers on August 14 in BMJ Open. Most extreme was a lipid panel, which ranged from $10 to $10,169. A basic metabolic panel ranged from $35 to $7,303, and a complete blood count cost from $37 to $278, the narrowest price range. Eight of the 10 tests varied in cost by 200% or more; in comparison, consumer electronic products vary an average of only 12.5%. Teaching hospitals charged less for seven of the 10 tests, and costs weren't greatly affected by the type of insurance coverage, such as Medicaid or Medicare. The results "highlight the lack of predictability facing Americans paying full charges for health care, limiting their ability to act as rational consumers," write the authors. See a related blog post on AJN's blog, AJN Off the Charts: