The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) describes the different types of coronavirus lab tests for COVID-19: molecular, tests, antibody tests and antigen tests. They have authorized at home tests, at-home collection and point-of-care tests, among others. The FDA is the best authority for learning what tests are authorized, but the site is geared mostly to professionals rather than consumers. A lot of good info here if you can find it.
How much do Covid tests cost? According to the Peterson-KFF Health System Tracker, the median price for a COVID-19 diagnostic test at a hospital was $148 (up $21 from last year). The range of prices was very wide, from $20 to $1,419. Most often the charges were between $100 and $199. The study examined Covid test prices at 102 hospitals – usually the largest two non-governmental hospitals in each state, in mid-June. About 91% of the selected hospitals posted prices online for diagnostic tests. The test price is supposed to be covered by your health insurance, Medicare or Medicaid. If you’re uninsured, the test cost, visit and collection fees are also supposed to be free to you. See report “COVID-19 test prices and payment policy”, posted April 28, 2021.
How much Medicare will pay for a COVID-19 lab test ranges from about $36 or $143. It depends on the type of test, region and company. There is no charge to the consumer for the test for the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 under Medicare. See this fact sheet from CMS, Jan. 25, 2021 to find payment rates to the Medicare Administrative Contractors. Seventeen CPT codes are listed; additional rates for HCPCS codes U0003, U0004, and U0005 are linked to another document. The prices on the sheet do not include any specimen collection costs or additional services.
Rutgers developed a new saliva test to detect the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and diagnose COVID-19 in April, and a home version in May 2020. The new version of the test uses home-collected saliva samples. Rutgers Clinical Genomics Laboratory received approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under the emergency use authorization (EUA) on May 8, 2020. Here’s what one state says about the test now distributed through Vault Medical Services: “This saliva test is just as accurate as the nasal swab test”.
What lab tests are available for coronavirus and COVID-19? CDC (Centers for Disease Control outline the kinds of tests that are available. Covers home tests, screening tests, diagnostic tests like RT-PCR (reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction), NAAT, antigen, serology tests for antibodies from people who have been infected with the coronavirus, but recovered, and any other new developments in testing. Updated March 2021.
MinuteClinic price list gives cash prices for hundreds of services or tests, many priced in the $99 to $139 range. MinuteClinic is owned by CVS Pharmacy. Some clinics are inside Target stores. Published list prices range from $99 to $139 for strep throat, plus $35-$45 for the strep throat test. Rapid Covid test is $120; Sport physical $69, but summer “special” $45 in select states during July to September 2021 only; seasonal flu shot $50 or $70; Vitamin B12 injection $35; pregnancy test $25 (pregnancy evaluation is $89 plus test costs). Other prices include costs for bug bites, skin rash, ear wax removal ($99-$139, possibly per ear); A1c checks, Shingles vaccine $179, urinary tract and bladder infections (up to $139); flu test for influenza A & B $70 to $100; monitoring or treatment for high blood pressure or high cholesterol; one-time medication renewal $99 to $139; HPV vaccination at $250 each; and many more. Services available in 40 states and DC, including AZ, CA, IL, TX, FL, GA, NY, NJ, MN, VA, WA, WI, PA, OH. Current 2021 prices are listed, but are subject to change. Updated July 2021.