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 Test||Test Details||Price|
|BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag Card Home Test and NAVICA mobile app|
|Qured Video Supervised Rapid Test For Travel||$40 for 1|
|Cue COVID-19 Test for Home or OTC Use|
$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|
$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:
- Purchase the test and download the required telehealth software
- Make an appointment with a proctor who will guide you through the entire process
- Receive your test results via email or mobile app
- 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.
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!
Alexis Bryan MPH, is a recent graduate of Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health. She is passionate about increasing access to care to improve health outcomes. Outside of work, she loves to travel, read, and pay too much attention to her plants.