The cost of an at-home COVID-19 test ranges between $14 and $124. At-home COVID-19 tests are available through Everlywell, Pixel by LabCorp, BinaxNOW, and others. The cost of your at-home COVID-19 test may depend on whether you get a home collection kit or an at-home testing kit.
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How Much At-Home COVID-19 Tests Cost
The out-of-pocket cost for an at-home COVID test is typically between $109 and $124. All companies other than Pixel by Labcorp require payment at the time of purchase. However, Abbott is releasing BinaxNOW, which is just $25 and will be the most widely available at-home COVID test.
There are two types of at-home COVID-19 tests:
- Home collection tests: Samples are collected at home and sent to a lab for analysis — you typically find out the results in a few days.
- At-home testing: Samples are collected at home, and you perform the test — you get results in a few minutes.
The Cost of FDA Approved COVID-19 Home Collection Kits
Below we outline the cost of self-test COVID-19 tests that are now widely available.
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The Cost of FDA Approved COVID-19 Home Testing Kits
|BinaxNOW COVID‐19 Antigen Self Test||$14|
|Ellume COVID-19 Test Kit (Recalled)||$38.99|
|Quidel QuickVue At-Home COVID-19 Test Kit||$23.99|
Where To Get an At-Home COVID-19 Testing Kit
At-home COVID-19 test kits are available online as well as in some stores and pharmacies. CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, and Amazon all sell at-home COVID-19 tests.
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Accuracy of At-Home COVID-19 Tests
The best type of diagnostic COVID test is the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test, according to Omai Garner, Ph.D., chief of clinical microbiology for UCLA Health. No PCR test is approved for at-home testing, meaning “the most accurate COVID test cannot be done entirely at home,” he said.
At-home testing kits are not as accurate as PCR tests done in professional labs because at-home testing — sometimes referred to as “rapid tests” — requires a higher amount of virus in a sample to detect a positive result. If you test too early, there may only be low levels of the virus present in the sample, leading to an inaccurate result.
Some of the at-home antigen tests have an overall sensitivity of roughly 85 percent, which means they are catching approximately 85 percent of people infected with the virus and missing 15 percent.
How To Take a Sample for an At-Home COVID-19 Test
At-home COVID-19 tests are all done through nasal swabs or saliva samples. The companies that test through a nasal swab are Pixel by Labcorp, EverlyWell, among others. The nasal swab test is done by inserting the tip of a foam swab into each nostril for about 15 seconds. The swab is then placed in a test tube and sent back to the lab.
The saliva test is done by drooling into a test tube and sending it back to the lab. It is important to note that some at-home testing manufacturers require you to administer your test while on a video call with a health care provider. This is done to make sure that the sample is being properly collected.