Some Home COVID-19 Tests Provide Documents You Can Use to Prove You Tested Negative
The kits include 'telehealth' appointments where someone watches you take the test
With testing facilities overwhelmed by demand amid record caseloads, Americans are scrambling to prove that they’ve tested negative for COVID-19 as more countries, institutions, and venues require the documentation. Most home tests don’t allow you to document the result, but a growing number do.
Such options involve buying an approved test, then scheduling an appointment with a “telehealth proctor” who watches from afar via a video link on your computer or cell phone and generates an official document of your results. This is different from other home tests that only give you the result on a rectangular strip, much like a pregnancy test.
Starting January 15, the federal government has mandated that insurers must pay for up to eight home tests per person a month, unless a doctor prescribes more. If the insurer has a network of preferred pharmacies and vendors, you can get these home tests without any extra cost. If you go outside the network, the insurer will cover up to $12 per test and you will have to pay for anything above that. And if the insurer has not set up any network of preferred suppliers, then it must reimburse you for whatever the pharmacy or store charges.
Neither the government’s initial statement of these new rules, nor a related question and answer document, specifically address monitored at-home tests, which cost more than unproctored tests.
The government also plans to make hundreds of millions of at-home tests available for free.
If you prefer a PCR test, which is more accurate than a rapid antigen test, some companies, including LetsGetChecked, allow you to gather your own sample at home and mail it to a lab. Some airlines offer links to mail-in or supervised COVID-19 tests, but make sure to compare the prices at these links with the prices the manufacturer lists.
Another similar option is Labcorp’s Pixel, which both Walgreens and CVS offer for $125, but both were sold out in early January.
This list isn’t comprehensive, and new options are frequently coming to market, so look around for the option that works best for you to document that you’re free of the virus.