How Much Do DNA Tests Cost?

Updated December 23, 2018

This article was scientifically reviewed by YourDNA

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Seemingly out of nowhere, DNA testing has become extremely popular, and it’s now easier to have a DNA test done than ever before. Many people have questions about how DNA tests work, what information they can receive, and if the tests give accurate results.

What's in this Guide?

Disclaimer: Before You Read

It is important to know that your genes are not your destiny. There are various environmental and genetic factors working together to shape you. No matter your genetic makeup, maintain ideal blood pressure and glucose levels, avoid harmful alcohol intake, exercise regularly, get regular sleep. And for goodness sake, don't smoke.

Genetics is a quickly changing topic.

But one of the most popular questions about DNA tests — whether taken at a hospital or doctor’s office, or through an at-home DNA test kit you purchased online — is how much a DNA test costs.

If you’ve been wondering how much a DNA test could cost you, keep reading for more information on how the prices for these tests could impact your wallet, as well as the answers to commonly asked questions the costs of DNA test.

How Much Does A DNA Test Cost?

DNA tests range in cost, based on where you are getting them, why you are having a test performed, who is providing the test, and if your insurance provider offers any coverage.

For at-home DNA tests for ancestry, you can expect to pay anywhere from $75 to $100 or more, depending on the company. DNA tests performed by a professional laboratory, hospital, or clinic have a large range of prices, especially if your insurance company offers coverage; with these, you should expect to pay anywhere from several hundred dollars to upwards of $2,000.

How Much Does A Paternity DNA Test Cost?

The cost of paternity testing depends on why you need the test, and how you go about having a DNA paternity test performed.

In essence, there are generally three ways paternity tests can be performed, and all have different procedures and costs:

At-home DNA paternity testing: Some people who are interested in discreetly confirming their child’s father rely on at-home paternity DNA test kits. These can be purchased online or at a drugstore and performed at home, then mailed off to a lab.

At-home paternity testing kits can often be purchased for around $25 with an additional lab testing fee that ranges upwards of $100. The total cost for an at-home paternity DNA test kit can be anywhere from $100 to $200.

In-utero DNA paternity testing: It is possible to determine paternity before a child is born, but it’s much costly, and some methods carry risk to an unborn child. Procedures such as amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling (CVS), which are only done if medically necessary, can prove (or disprove) paternity, but you should know that most doctors will not perform these invasive tests without some kind of medical need.

The costs of these kinds of DNA testing range greatly depending on your insurance coverage, but can cost anywhere above $1,500. Some newer prenatal paternity testing is available through some laboratories; these tests are non-invasive and uses a blood sample taken after the 10th week of pregnancy. Unfortunately, the cost isn’t cheap and can often set you back upwards of $1,000.

Post-birth DNA testing, done at a healthcare facility: Whether you have chosen to have a hospital do a DNA test after your child’s birth, or a court has required DNA paternity testing as part of a custody dispute, this kind of DNA testing is the most popular. Professionally performed DNA tests, on average, cost between $300 and $500.

This cost includes accurate DNA collection by a trained professional, as well as analysis of the collected DNA by an experienced lab for the highest-quality results.

How Much Does A Pre-Birth DNA Test Cost?

Pre-birth DNA tests are one of the more expensive versions of DNA testing.

That’s because more skill is required when it comes to separating and analyzing DNA from mother and baby, meaning that a professional laboratory or medical practice must do this kind of testing.

If you are considering prenatal DNA testing through amniocentesis, chorionic villus sampling, or a modern blood test, know that the cost can range between several hundred dollars to more than several thousand, all depending on how much your insurance provider may lower the cost.

How Much Does An Ancestry DNA Test Cost?

If you’re thinking about buying an ancestry DNA test for yourself or for a friend or family member, you should know that these tests are generally more wallet-friendly.

As more and more companies send ancestry DNA test kits to the market, the cost of at-home DNA test kits that can tell you about your family’s ethnic background (and other information such as suspected migration routes and links with potential relatives) has drastically dropped. DNA testing kits are often priced around $75 to $100, making them much more accessible for family historians.

And, because DNA testing becomes more accurate as more and more people take these tests, be on the lookout for promotions throughout the year. The more DNA a testing company has in its database, the better it can compare samples and mine out results.

So, if you see a DNA test sale that drops the price closer to $50 or $60, know that there’s nothing wrong with the test — you’ll just be saving a chunk of change.

How Much Does DNA Testing For Health Cost?

Depending on the DNA information your doctor needs and the extent of the test, a DNA test for health can range anywhere from $100 to $2,000 or more.

Whether your insurance provider chooses to cover some (or all) of your DNA testing can help drastically reduce the price; it’s possible to pay little to nothing out of pocket for medically necessary DNA tests.

Where Can I Get A DNA Test?

There are several places you can look to for having a DNA test done, but the best choice depends on what you need the test for:

I want to know my family history or more about myself: If you simply want to know more about your family’s history or feel that a DNA test could help you better understand your personal health, an at-home DNA test kit may be best for you.

These tests are easily purchased offline from companies such as AncestryDNA, 23andMe, or MyHeritage DNA. And, most of these tests are also available on mass-retailing websites such as Amazon.

I need a paternity test: If you’re looking to have a paternity test done, you have two options — at-home DNA tests that can be performed discreetly without a doctor’s appointment and then shipped off to a laboratory for analysis, or at a professional lab that does these tests with high accuracy and court-admissible results.

At-home DNA tests can be purchased online or at a drugstore, while professional testing is usually done at a hospital laboratory or a health clinic.

I believe a genetic condition could be the cause of my health concerns: DNA tests that can help you and your doctor rule out (or confirm) a health condition are specifically done at a hospital lab, health clinic, or your doctor’s office. DNA tests are generally performed in these places because of the need for high accuracy.

In addition, having this kind of DNA test done is sometimes covered by insurance, meaning the test must be performed by your health care provider or a medical laboratory that they are affiliated with.

How Much Does A DNA Test Cost At The Hospital?

If you choose to have a DNA test performed at a hospital, you should know that the cost depends on whether your insurance will provide coverage, the extent of testing you have performed, and where you go.

For medically necessary DNA testing that can help your doctor determine how your genetics are impacting your health, insurance may reduce the cost, leaving you to pay nothing, or upwards of several hundred dollars. Before insurance kicks in, DNA testing can cost as much as $2,000 or more.

Is DNA Testing Covered By Insurance?

Perhaps you have considered whether or not your health insurance provider will cover the cost of a DNA test.

Before calling up your insurance company or submitting a claim, you should know that insurance companies want to know why you are having DNA testing done, and will categorize your test one of two ways — as either a medically necessary DNA test, or non-medically necessary. Here’s the difference:

  • Medically necessary DNA test: For some people with suspected health issues, or possible genetic conditions that could be passed onto children, DNA testing can be considered medically necessary. Some insurance providers will offer coverage for DNA tests if your doctor believes having the test done can benefit you by diagnosing a health condition, or helping your medical care professional determine the best course of treatment for your health. Medically necessary tests also include situations where testing DNA from cancer cells or other biopsies can help doctors diagnose and treat a health condition. DNA testing can be exceptionally important for individuals and couples who are looking to start a family, especially in situations where early screening tests have identified a potential health condition that can be passed from parent to child. In these cases, insurance companies are often willing to cover at least some of the cost for DNA testing, though couples who do not have an identified risk may not receive as high of coverage.
  • Non-medically necessary DNA test: If you interested in knowing more about your family’s ancestry, or interested in knowing if certain foods impact your gut biome, DNA tests can give you this information. This is considered the more fun or educational side of DNA testing, meaning this knowledge isn’t crucial to helping with treatment for an illness or genetic condition. Insurance companies do not provide coverage for these kinds of DNA tests. DNA test kits that you can purchase online — such as 23andMe test kits, AncestryDNA, or the Mayo Clinic’s GeneGuide DNA — to find out more about your heritage, health conditions, and other information falls into this category.

If your doctor recommends having a DNA test done, but your insurance provider believes another, less expensive test could provide the same helpful medical information, your request for a DNA test could be considered “non-medically necessary.”

That’s because insurance companies are constantly looking to reduce medical care costs by using alternative testing that can provide similar results and answers.

Additionally, you should know that paternity testing falls into the category of being non-medically necessary. That’s because in the eyes of an insurance company, the paternity of a child isn’t necessarily required health information.

Whether you are getting a court-ordered paternity test, or just want to verify results on your own, you should expect to pay the cost of paternity testing out of pocket, without coverage from your insurance provider.

If you’re left wondering how exactly an insurance company determines if a DNA test is medically necessary, and if it will provide coverage for a DNA test, the best clue is whether or not your doctor has recommended that you have this kind of testing done.

DNA tests ordered and performed by your health care provider or doctor’s office are often covered by insurance companies since doctors can provide proof that the information gleaned from the DNA test would substantially benefit your health and treatment of any illnesses or conditions.

Generally, if your doctor doesn’t request the test be done, insurance will not cover the cost of a DNA test. Meaning, getting reimbursement for a DNA kit that you purchased online or chose to do without a doctor’s strong recommendation will be exceptionally difficult, if not improbable.

You should expect to pay the full cost of DNA tests that are taken at home.

Does Medicaid Cover DNA Testing?

Depending on where you live and the kind of DNA testing you require, it is possible for Medicaid to cover some or all of the cost.

Approximately 35 states currently have Medicaid programs that cover DNA tests that screen for BRCA, the genes that cause an increased risk for a variety of cancers. In many cases, Medicaid may cover DNA testing that is medically necessary and prescribed by your doctor, but across the board, Medicaid usually does not cover DNA analysis for paternity testing.

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