Anyone in the United States, regardless of immigration status, can get a diagnostic test for COVID-19 free of charge at a local health center, a community testing site, or pharmacy.
Many insurers have waived the cost of COVID-19 antibody tests, meaning most people will not have to pay.
SARS-CoV-2, or the novel coronavirus, is a new virus. In some people, it can cause COVID-19, a respiratory disease.
Many people with COVID-19 will experience mild symptoms, and others will have no symptoms at all. In some cases, the disease can be fatal. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), typical symptoms include:
This article will explore the different tests, how much they cost, how long it takes to get the results, and where to find testing.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), there are two types of test for COVID-19:
A viral test can tell doctors if someone currently has an infection with SARS-CoV-2. Experts may also call viral tests diagnostic tests.
According to the CDC, anyone who falls into the following categories should get a viral test for free:
- people who have the symptoms of COVID-19
- people who have been within 6 feet of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 for at least 15 minutes
- people whose doctor or healthcare provider recommended a test
Viral COVID-19 testing is free of charge regardless of immigration status.
People who are in the hospital with suspected COVID-19 will also receive a test for current infection.
An antibody test can tell doctors if someone has had the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the past.
When the immune system meets a new virus for the first time, it starts to create proteins that will fight the infection. Experts call these antibodies, and they are disease-specific. It means that if the person becomes infected with the same virus again, their immune system will know how to fight it.
Doctors do not yet know how long immunity to COVID-19 lasts. If someone tests positive for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, it does not mean they will not contract the virus again.
In the U.S., many insurance companies have waived the fee for an antibody test. The tests are also available free of charge for people enrolled in Medicare.
People can also pay a healthcare provider for an antibody test. The price can vary between providers.
Local health centers, community testing sites, and selected pharmacies provide testing.
Pharmacies offering viral SARS-Cov-2 tests include:
- CVS Health
- Rite Aid
Each state has its own testing plan. That means that testing locations vary.
The HHS have a ‘testing by state’ section on their website, where people can search for a health center or community testing site near them and follow the links to see the COVID-19 testing policy in their area.
The type and location of a SARS-CoV-2 test will determine the time it takes to get the results. It will vary from state to state, provider to provider.
People who are waiting for test results should isolate themselves to make sure they do not spread the virus if they have it.
If someone has a test in the hospital, they may get the result the same day.
SARS-CoV-2 is a new virus that has spread across the world since the start of 2020. People often call it coronavirus. Most people will experience very mild symptoms or no symptoms at all.
Others, particularly those who are elderly or have underlying health conditions, may develop COVID-19. COVID-19 is a potentially fatal respiratory condition.
Anyone who has symptoms of COVID-19 should get a viral test to see if they have the infection. These tests are free for everyone in the U.S., regardless of immigration status. They are available at health centers, community testing sites, and some pharmacies.
Antibody tests can tell people if they have already had the virus. Many, but not all, insurers have waived the fees for antibody tests, meaning most people can get them for free.
To find out where to get tested, people can go to the HHS website and search for their local area.