Updated at: 28-02-2023 - By: Helen Skeates

Without health insurance, how much does a TB test cost? A TB or tuberculosis test can cost anywhere from $30 to $70 if not covered by insurance. This is dependent on the location of the doctor’s office or laboratory where the consultation and diagnosis were conducted. This page will provide you with information on the TB test’s base price and other essential details.

Yet, what really is tuberculosis? Tuberculosis is an infectious disease caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The respiratory system is the primary target, although the bacterium can also affect the organs, spinal cord, and CNS. Tuberculosis can be spread through the air.

In addition, spreading an infection through hand-to-hand contact, swapping saliva, or sharing a meal is not possible. Tuberculosis is a lung illness that is spread through close quarters and through the air by sneezing and coughing.

There is a lot more information you need to have on this subject. Find out by reading on!

What is a TB (tuberculosis) test?

A tuberculosis (TB) test can determine whether or not a person has been exposed to the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex, the bacteria responsible for the disease (TB). Both a skin test and a blood test can detect latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI).

How Much Does a TB Test Cost without Insurance?

Mantoux test, tuberculin skin test, and TB skin test are all names for the same thing (TST). Some people may refer to the tuberculosis blood test as a “QuantiFERON,” while the correct term is “Interferon-Gamma Release Assay” (the most commonly used commercial test). There is a greater availability of and greater preference for TB skin testing in children younger than 5 years of age. However, TB blood tests are becoming increasingly popular, particularly among healthcare professionals and people with impaired immune systems.

There is no way to tell the difference between a latent (or dormant) and active TB infection with a skin or blood test for tuberculosis. To determine whether or not you still have an active infection, more testing (such as a sputum test) is required.

What is tuberculosis?

The lungs are the most common organ affected by tuberculosis, but other organs, such as the brain, spine, and kidneys, are not immune to this deadly bacterial illness. Tuberculosis is contagious and can be passed from person to person through the air. Donated organ transplants can potentially facilitate its spread.

However, not all people who contract tuberculosis will develop the disease. About a quarter of the global population has a dormant case of tuberculosis (LTBI). Someone with latent tuberculosis is not contagious and has no symptoms.

Although many people with latent TB never have any symptoms, others, particularly those with or who develop a compromised immune system, can suffer the active form of this severe infection, which is called active TB.

As a result, screening tests for LTBI are widely used and critically important in public health.

Who should be screened for TB?

You may need a TB test if you have symptoms of an active TB infection or if you’re at higher risk for getting TB. Additionally, a TB test may be required for employment at some schools, hospitals, and other establishments serving children.

  • Feelings of discomfort in the chest.
  • Raising bloody or sputum-filled cough (mucus).
  • To be worn down by exhaustion or weakness.
  • Appetite decline.
  • Loss of weight for no apparent reason.
  • Chills and fever.
  • Perspiring during night.

If any of the following apply to you, you may have a greater likelihood of contracting tuberculosis:

  • Are involved in patient care and interpersonal communication.
  • Work or reside in a high-risk setting for contracting tuberculosis, such as a homeless shelter, a nursing home, or a prison.
  • You’ve been in contact with someone who currently has a TB infection and it’s spread to you.
  • Negatively impact your immune system due to a medical condition or medication.
  • Utilize intravenous medication.
  • Whoever has visited or resided in a region where tuberculosis (TB) is prevalent, such as those outside of the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Northern and Western Europe, and Western Asia.

Who performs a TB test?

A TB skin test can be administered by any medical professional who has received specific training in the procedure and is qualified to interpret the results.

It is common practice for a phlebotomist to take blood for diagnostic purposes like tuberculosis testing, but any medical professional with appropriate training can do so. Medical technologists in a lab perform the actual testing after receiving the sample for analysis.

How does a TB (tuberculosis) test work?

The skin test and the blood test for tuberculosis both determine whether or not you have the disease by assessing how well your immune system reacts to antigens extracted from the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis. In the context of the immune system, any chemical that prompts the production of antibodies is known as an antigen. If your immune system is reacting negatively to something it doesn’t recognize, it’s trying to protect you.

How a TB skin test works

A pure protein derivative (PPD) solution is injected under the skin, and the immunological response to this is measured in a tuberculosis skin test. PPD originates from the TB-causing bacteria, Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

It’s not infectious because it’s not a living organism. You will get a firm, red bump at the injection site within three days if you have ever been exposed to the TB germs.

How a TB blood test works

When a blood sample is exposed to antigens produced from Mycobacterium tuberculosis in a laboratory, the infected person’s white blood cells will usually release a protein called interferon-gamma (IFN- ).

Laboratory technicians use a technique called immunoassay to analyze the reaction after adding your blood sample to antigens and controls. People will assign positive, negative, or ambiguous meanings to your findings.

How Tuberculosis (TB) Is Diagnosed

What do I need to do to prepare for a TB test?

A TB skin test or blood test requires no specific preparation.

What should I expect during a TB (tuberculosis) test?

Skin tests and blood tests for tuberculosis (TB) provide distinct results and need separate procedures.

TB skin test process

Two or three doctor’s visits are typically necessary for a positive TB skin test result. There is an injection given into an arm vein on the first appointment. The skin’s response to the injection will be evaluated during the follow-up visit. A third visit is required if the results are still negative after 72 hours.

First-visit essentials:

  • A medical professional will wash and cleanse the skin on your inner lower arm.
  • Using a very little needle, they will inject a small amount of fluid (called tuberculin or PPD) just beneath the skin of your lower inner arm.
  • The provider may choose to draw a circle around the intended injection site. This facilitates location of the area for evaluation of the reaction.
  • Where the fluid was injected, a tiny bump will appear. In a few hours, it should be gone.

After 48 to 72 hours, you will go back to your doctor to check for a reaction on the arm. Redness and a pronounced increase in size in the affected area may point to tuberculosis. You must attend the second visit to receive a formal outcome. Don’t forget to come back within 72 hours or you’ll have to retake the test. Results from a skin test may not be accurate in immunocompromised patients or those with fragile skin.

TB blood test process

The following are common sensations experienced by patients during blood draws:

  • A medical professional will examine your arms to find a vein that is easily accessed while you sit in a chair. This is typically found on the inside of the arm, opposite the elbow.
  • When a vein has been discovered, it will be sterilized before injection.
  • Later, a tiny needle will be inserted into your vein to draw blood. If you’re sensitive, this can feel like a slight pinch.
  • After the needle is inserted, blood is drawn into a test tube.
  • When they have collected enough blood for testing, they will take out the needle and apply pressure with a cotton swab or gauze to the wound to stem the flow of blood.
  • A bandage will be applied to the area, and that will be all!

Time spent during the process is minimal, averaging around five minutes.

A blood sample will be taken from you and sent to a lab for analysis by your healthcare professional. Your doctor will provide you the results of the tests as they are available.

Does a TB test hurt?

You can feel a little pinch from the needle during either the TB skin test or the blood test, but this is to be expected. The liquid used in a tuberculin skin test should not cause pain or discomfort when injected.

What are the risks of a TB (tuberculosis) test?

Getting a tuberculosis skin test or blood test has minimal risk.

One possible side effect of the TB skin test injection is a mild prick. If you need blood drawn to check for tuberculosis, you might feel some soreness or develop a bruise at the puncture site, but both of these side effects should go away fairly soon.

When should I know the results of my TB (tuberculosis) test?

A skin TB test can be completed in two to three days. The reaction of your skin will inform your doctor whether or not you have tuberculosis, and this can be determined during your second appointment.

Results from a tuberculin blood test are often available within a few days, however it may take longer in some circumstances.

What type of results do you get from a TB (tuberculosis) test?

The results of a TB skin test or blood test will be either negative or positive. It’s important to remember that these tests only show if you’ve been exposed to the TB (tuberculosis) infection — not if your infection is active or latent. The tuberculosis (TB) vaccine (BCG) can cause a false-positive result in a skin test.

Positive TB test

A TB skin test or blood test will provide either a negative or positive result. These tests can only determine whether or not you have been exposed to the TB (tuberculosis) infection, and not whether or not you now have an active illness. Those who have been vaccinated against tuberculosis (BCG) may give misleading positive findings on a skin test.

Negative TB test

Those who test negative for tuberculosis in both their skin and their blood have probably never been exposed to the bacterium that causes tuberculosis. A lack of a skin reaction indicates that the tuberculin skin test was negative. If you have TB symptoms despite a negative test, you may need to undergo additional testing.

What does a positive TB test look like?

A firm, red lump is indicative of a positive tuberculosis skin test. The size and firmness of the bump will be evaluated by your doctor (induration). The outcome of your test is based on your provider’s evaluation of your individual risk factors. The following characteristics of a bump indicate positivity:

  • If it’s more than 5 millimeters (mm), your immune system is probably impaired.
  • Caregiver status is achieved at a thickness of 10 mm.
  • This is equivalent to 15 mm and there are no danger signs present.

It is crucial to return to your healthcare professional for a complete examination, even if you believe you know the result of your test based on the appearance of your skin 48 to 72 hours after the initial injection of the liquid. They have been instructed to look for any sort of skin reaction and record the outcome.

When should I call my doctor about TB (tuberculosis)?

Those who suspect they may have been exposed to someone with active tuberculosis and who are experiencing symptoms such a persistent cough, chest pain, and fever should make an appointment with their doctor as soon as possible.

If not treated properly, tuberculosis (TB) can be fatal. If you take antibiotics as your doctor prescribes, tuberculosis can usually be healed. It is important to treat both active and latent TB, but the medications you take and how long you need to take them vary depending on which form you have.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Testing for and screening for tuberculosis is crucial to the general population’s health. If you have symptoms, are at high risk for getting active TB, or are at high risk for being exposed to the virus, you should get tested. Tuberculosis can be fatal, and it spreads readily from person to person. Your doctor will let you know whether more testing is necessary after they have reviewed your results. Feel free to ask your physician any questions you have. In other words, they want to aid you.

How Much Is A Tb Test Without Your Insurance?

A TB test might cost anywhere from $30 to $70 on average. If you do not have health insurance, this is the price of the test. However, presenting your insurance policy will help you save even more money on this evaluation. How much does a tuberculosis test cost if you don’t have health insurance?

When a person contracts Tuberculosis but shows no symptoms, they are said to have latent Tuberculosis. There are two forms of tuberculosis: latent infection and active disease. The Tuberculosis bacterium is a living, developing organism, which is why people with the disease feel so bad. Latent TB is not contagious, unlike TB disease, which can be spread through close contact or living arrangements.

As a result, a TB skin test is the only way to know for sure if you have tuberculosis. However, vaccinations have been developed to protect humans from this cancer. The vaccine was given the name Bacille Calmette-Guerin by scientists (BCG). The vaccination was given to the inhabitants of the third world for their protection.

In addition, determining whether or not you have tuberculosis requires two visits to the doctor’s office. An initial encounter occurs during a skin test. The second step is a follow-up appointment with our doctor two days later to evaluate how your body has responded to the medication. Health care workers are screened and examined much like any other group of people, because they are at a far higher risk of coming into contact with a TB patient than the general public.

Therefore, the TB test cost makes sense. It’s because many people in the medical field put their own lives at danger to save others. Due to the gravity of the situation, the compensation is substantial. However, again, using your insurance will help you save money.

What To Do After I Get A TB Test?

What to do and what not to do after a TB test has been performed. At that point, your arm is very vulnerable, so you need to take extra care. Accidental contact with infectious materials could spread an existing ailment.

First, tend to the arm that was used for the test. Keeping the region free of bandages or other coverings will assist. Provide some breathing space there. Do not scratch it or do anything else that could potentially hurt it. Finally, take extra caution when washing the wound in the shower. If you want to be extra careful, you can also use a damp cloth. This will help keep your skin healthy and beautiful.

Are There Harmful Effects After Getting A Tb Test?

The hypothetically pure protein of tuberculin (the activator in the Tuberculin Tine Examination) may have unwanted side effects in addition to its beneficial advantages. Although not all of these consequences are inevitable, you should still get checked out by a doctor just in case. If you start experiencing any of these side effects after taking the tuberculin pure protein form, you should see a doctor immediately. These are some of them:

  • Fever
  • Bleeding
  • Headache
  • Redness
  • Coughing

However, there are potential adverse effects, none of which require medical attention. Being that your body is adjusting, they will gradually go over time. Since these are very normal reactions, you shouldn’t worry about them happening. These are some of them:

  • Rash
  • Itchiness

How Much Is The Cost Of A TB Test With Insurance?

With insurance, the cost of a tuberculosis test is often under $30. The cost is almost 50% less than the national average for tuberculosis testing. However, this varies widely depending on your insurance provider.

Insurance companies will cover the cost of tuberculosis skin testing as coinsurance once the yearly maximum is reached. To do diagnostic testing for tuberculosis, a blood sample is required. Your health insurance plan may only accept samples from approved testing facilities. You should research which businesses may reimburse you for the cost of tuberculosis testing or allow you to deduct the cost from your wages.

A PPD Test: What You Need to Know | Statcare

If you need to pay for an examination like a tuberculin skin test, using your insurance can help you do so at a reduced cost. You can’t do better than this method if you’re trying to watch your pennies. On the other hand, familiarizing yourself with your insurance company is a prerequisite for gathering additional data.


I hope you were able to figure out the cash price of a TB test without health insurance. Although the test is expensive, it will provide valuable information about your health. The outcome of this test is crucial, as it will indicate whether or not you will require additional therapy. Don’t take the symptoms of tuberculosis lightly; get tested if you think you could have the disease.

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