Getting tested for COVID-19

Anyone with COVID-19-like illness or symptoms can get a test, even without a doctor’s order.

As testing capacity expands, testing is now available for people who:

Have COVID-19 symptoms (cough, shortness of breath and fever) OR have a risk factor, such as

  • Contact with someone confirmed to have COVID-19
  • A compromised immune system or a serious chronic medical condition

 Testing is also available for those with or without symptoms who:

  • Work in a health care facility
  • Work in correctional facilities, such as jails or prisons
  • Serve as first responders, such as paramedics, emergency medical technicians, law enforcement officers or firefighters
  • Support critical infrastructure, such as workers in grocery stores, pharmacies, restaurants, gas stations, public utilities, factories, childcare and sanitation

Who pays for COVID-19 testing?

Under the Families First Corona Virus Response Act, all comprehensive health insurance plans must pick up 100% of the cost of coronavirus testing, as well as any visit to the emergency room, doctor’s office or urgent care center that may have led to that testing. That includes any COVID-19 test deemed appropriate by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Comprehensive health plans are individual, employer-sponsored or exchange plans that meet the coverage requirements spelled out in the Affordable Care Act. If you’re insured by a short-term plan or another plan that isn’t ACA-compliant, your insurer may not cover the costs associated with your test.

Insurers must also cover antibody testing for COVID-19 patients under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. By measuring blood for immune proteins, antibody testing may indicate that someone has had a coronavirus infection and may be protected from future infections. 

Medicaid will cover the full cost of COVID-19 testing for the uninsured, as directed by the CARES Act.

Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) covers a test to see if you have coronavirus (officially called 2019-novel coronavirus or COVID-19). This test is covered when your doctor or other health care provider orders it.