COVID-19

Can I Use an At-Home COVID-19 Test for Proof of a Negative Test?

Alexis Bryan
Alexis Bryan6 Apr 2022

Some approved at-home COVID-19 tests can be used as proof of a negative test to attend school, work, or public events. These tests require you to make a telehealth appointment with a proctor who will ensure you take the test correctly and provide you with official documentation of your results.

At-Home COVID-19 Tests for Travel, School, and Work

In order to travel, return to work, go to school, or attend public events, you may have to show proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test. Instead of waiting in line for hours at a testing site, you now have the option to use an at-home COVID-19 test.

However, it is important to note that not every at-home test will be sufficient. According to the CDC, you can use a self-test that meets the following criteria:

  • The test must be a SARS-CoV-2 viral test (nucleic acid amplification test [NAAT] or antigen test) with Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) OR the relevant national authority where the test is administered.
  • The testing procedure must include a telehealth service affiliated with the manufacturer of the test that provides real-time supervision remotely through an audio and video connection. Some FDA-authorized self-tests that have a telehealth service may require a prescription.
  • The telehealth provider must confirm your identity, observe the sample collection and testing procedures, confirm the test result, and issue a report that meets the requirements of CDC’s Order
  • Airlines and other aircraft operators must be able to review and verify your identity and the test result details. You must also be able to present the documentation of test results to U.S. officials at the port of entry and local/state health departments if requested.

Approved At-Home COVID-19 Tests for Proof of a Negative Test

There are several options for at-home COVID-19 tests approved for proof of a negative test. The prices below include the test kit and telehealth proctoring. Some airlines also offer links to buy the tests, which are not sold at pharmacies.

Approved At-Home COVID-19 Tests

COVID-19 TestTest DetailsPrice
BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag Card Home Test and NAVICA mobile app
  • Rapid antigen test
  • Simple test procedure using a nasal swab and a test the size of a credit card
  • Read results in 15 minutes

$150 for 6 

$70 for 2

Qured Video Supervised Rapid Test For Travel
  • Rapid antigen test
  • Supervised over video call by a trained Health Advisor
  • Ordered specifically for flight departure date
$40 for 1
Cue COVID-19 Test for Home or OTC Use
  • Nucleic acid amplification test (PCR accuracy)
  • Best for frequent travelers

$90 per month for a Cue+ Complete membership which includes 20 tests per year


 

*You also need to buy the Cue reader ($149)

Detect Covid-19 Test
  • Molecular COVID tests
  • Takes about an hour
  • Requires the purchase of a small device (the Detect Hub)

$75 for starter kit (1 test and 1 hub)


 

$20 for a video observation session voucher to certify results for travel

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At-Home COVID-19 Tests for Proof of a Negative Test Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

When the lines are long at testing centers and you are in a time crunch, telehealth is a convenient way to get proof of a negative COVID-19 test. Below we answer some questions regarding at-home COVID-19 tests. 

How do I use an at-home COVID-19 test for evidence of a negative test?

You need to take several steps to use an at-home COVID-19 test for proof of a negative test:

  1. Purchase the test and download the required telehealth software
  2. Make an appointment with a proctor who will guide you through the entire process
  3. Receive your test results via email or mobile app
  4. Ensure the test result documentation has all of the required information

What does the COVID-19 test result documentation need to include?

If you are using an at-home COVID-19 test for proof of a negative test, several pieces of information need to be included in the test result. In order to be accepted by public health officials, it needs to include:

  • The type of test (indicating whether it is a NAAT or antigen test).
  • The entity issuing the result (e.g., laboratory, healthcare entity, or telehealth service).
  • Sample collection date.
  • A negative test result must show the sample was taken no more than one day before the flight if used for travel.
  • Identification information (full name plus at least one other identifier such as date of birth or passport number).
  • Test result.
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Will my health insurance cover at-home COVID-19 tests for proof of a negative test?

The federal government has mandated that insurers must pay for up to eight home tests per person a month, but there is no specific rule for supervised tests. If your insurance company has a network of pharmacies, they will likely cover the cost. If you purchase tests from a vendor outside your network, the insurer will cover up to $12 per test, and you will have to pay the remainder of the cost. Supervised tests generally cost more than other at-home tests.

When you order an at-home test kit, most companies will provide you with an itemized receipt which you can use for reimbursement from your health insurance provider. It is always a good idea to check with your insurance company beforehand to make sure you know the cost or the procedure to get reimbursed.

Should I use a PCR test or an at-home test for travel?

PCR tests, which you can get at an urgent care, doctor’s office or testing center, will take longer to get your results back, but are the most accurate COVID-19 tests. Airlines typically only accept PCR tests for travel purposes, but some at-home tests mentioned above may be acceptable. If you are using an at-home test make sure to check with the airline before assuming an at-home test will be accepted.

Bottom Line

Using an at-home COVID-19 test for proof of a negative test is convenient once you purchase the test and get the telehealth software set up. If you travel often, it may be worth your while to buy a few tests at once, so you are prepared. 

If you are directly exposed to COVID-19, you should get tested. While at-home rapid tests are convenient, getting a PCR test at your doctor, COVID testing site, or urgent care is more reliable. Our team at Mira can help you make urgent care appointments for an affordable price when you need it!