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13 – Interview with Nelson Vergel, founder of DiscountedLabs.com

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DiscountedLabs.com is an FDA-approved, HIPPA compliant service that allows consumers in most US states to have blood tests and lab work done at a significant discount – often less than insurance deductibles.

Blood tests can be ordered online at any time, without a doctor’s prescription.  It’s a perfect option for men who are monitoring their testosterone levels.  

Buy Lab Tests Online – How it Works

  1. Select a test package on the DiscountedLabs.com website, and place your order.  No prescription is needed.
  2. Visit one of the more than 1,800 testing labs located throughout the United States to have your samples taken.
  3. The results will be sent to you in 5-7 business days (certain types of tests may take longer).  The company provides pointers to educational materials to help you interpret your results.  

Excerpts from the Interview

Robert Nicholson:

Can you tell me what the motivation was for DiscountedLabs.com and how you got started?

Nelson Vergel:

I’ve been in the hormone replacement field for around 30 years or so. And eventually I realized that in hormone replacement, not only we need to monitor our hormone levels depending on what we’re doing, testosterone, thyroid, et cetera. But we have to do so in a frequency sometimes because we’re changing doses or optimizing, that is not approved by insurance companies. Meaning, even if you have insurance, if you’re doing a testosterone test more than twice a year for instance, many insurance companies would deny payment for that test.

Many people, even with the insurance, are getting surprised by really high bills months after the fact and they’re stuck with this bill that obviously they were assuming their insurance was going to pay.

Robert Nicholson:

How does your pricing compare to what someone would pay if they walk in off the street, or if their doctor refers them?

Nelson Vergel:

I’m providing discounted lab prices. So I’m probably one of the lowest cost providers in the online direct-to-consumer lab testing field. I’m doing that on purpose, keeping my margins very low, so that people can access.

Robert Nicholson:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Nelson Vergel:

I not only sell single tests, obviously, like a testosterone test, but I sell what we call panels, which are bundles of different tests that I create depending on the condition.

In many cases, as I say, would be even lower than the 20% copay that some insurance policies have. So yeah, so I’m very proud of that.

Robert Nicholson:

Do you provide educational information or ways to help people understand the test results of the packages that they’re getting?

Nelson Vergel:

I have to clarify that my company does not provide medical advice. We have doctors, obviously I have doctors in my board, that have to approve what we call any critical values. For instance, if somebody comes back, their results come back with a very low blood sugar, very high blood sugar, or low potassium, for instance, right? Life-threatening. There’re life-threatening values, obviously that are flagged by Quest Diagnostics or LabCorp. And we are sent an alert, “Hey, we just tested this. This is critical. The patient has to be contacted.”

When it comes to just general information, when we send results, we send resources like the blog articles, where they can search their lab tests that they’re actually getting information about. And we also offer the referrals to clinics. So they can make more sense of their lab testing.

Robert Nicholson:

Consumers know that they can trust these test results because they’re working with labs that are monitored and certified by government agencies. Is that correct? Can you elaborate on that a little?

Nelson Vergel:

Quest Diagnostics is the second largest lab network in the country after LabCorp and the Center for Disease Control has CLIA- Clinic Laboratory Improvement Amendment is called. So a law that basically makes them responsible for testing, standardizing, making sure that all of these companies are providing a lab test value that is close to what reality should be. So, and that they do that every year. They actually spot test them.

I like Quest in particular because Quest has a beautiful reporting system in which you provide to the consumer a graph of the lab test values. Especially if you have done the testing before. So you actually can see you in a color graph where your cholesterol has been or your testosterone. And that really helps. That’s something that only Quest has. So there’s a visual trend that a patient can see. What’s happening with the internet as you well know, we had come from the days where the internet was not available. So you have to go through our library. But see the internet has provided us as consumers information. You can search a low testosterone, high testosterone, thyroid hormone levels, and you’ll find a lot of information on the ranges and what they mean and all that. That has really empowered consumers to know what to expect and educate themselves about every lab testing.

So I think this whole thing on direct to consumer, especially in lab testing, has come at that age where we have what, 25, 30 years of Google searches. They are educating people. And usually the people that come to sites like mine are educated. They have done a little bit of research on their condition, on their… Most of them already have a physician. They’re just doing this self-monitoring because they already know more or less what to look for.

They know their trends. It’s a highly educated patient population. And the testing is not expensive. You can check your cholesterol, your lipids for $24. And I think insurance company will probably charge close to $400 for the same test.

Robert Nicholson:

So how do people get access to these discounted lab tests?

Nelson Vergel:

Well, you just go online and buy a test or package with a credit card. You get a lab request form that you download and print.

You take that form to the closest Quest Diagnostics lab. They take your blood. And a few days later you get an email saying, “Hey, here are your results. Click here if you want to find out more about what they mean and click here, if you need a doctor.”

Download Interview


About Nelson Vergel

Nelson Vergel is the founder of DiscountedLabs.com and ExcelMale.com.

He is the author of “Testosterone: A Man’s Guide,” and co-author of “Built to Survive: The Clinical Use of Anabolic Steroids for HIV+ Men and Women.”

He has been a member of several U.S. National Institute of Health (NIH) and pharmaceutical advisory groups, as well as FDA review panels.

Nelson also founded the non-profit organizations Body Positive Wellness Clinic and Program for Wellness Restoration in Houston, providing health education and wellness services to HIV+ people.

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