Public Health

How To Get An At-Home COVID Test?

Mira Research Team21 Nov 2020

How To Get An At-Home COVID Test?

 

Quick Digest

  • 9 at-home COVID tests have been authorized by the FDA; EverlyWell, LetsGetChecked, Picture by Fulgent Genetics, Pixel by LabCorp, and Vitagine are some companies who now offer at-home COVID tests.
  • Samples for these at-home tests are collected through a nasal swab or saliva sample
  • Tests may be covered by your insurance or can cost between $109-$155 out of pocket
  • A membership with Mira can help you get access to a free at-home PCR test if you have symptoms or had a recent exposure

 

How to get an at-home COVID test?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized 9 at-home COVID-19 diagnostic tests. The companies that produce these tests are Everylywell, LetsGetChecked, Picture by Fulgent Genetics, Pixel by Labcorp, Vitagene, P23 Labs, Vault, him & hers, and Phosphorus. 

After doing an intake survey, you can order an at-home COVID test directly from the manufacturer on the company website. In addition, a membership with Mira can help you get access to a free at-home PCR test.

 

For only $45/month, Mira is a new membership program for you to get affordable co-pays for urgent care visits, lab tests, and prescriptions.

For a limited time, get a free at-home COVID test with your membership.

 

How much do at-home COVID tests cost? 

The out of pocket cost for an at-home COVID test is typically between $109 and $155. If you have insurance, your provider should be able to reimburse you for your test if it has been deemed medically appropriate. All companies other than Pixel by Labcorp require payment at the time of purchase.

 

Where can I get an at-home COVID test? How much does an at-home COVID test cost?

Below we outline the cost of self-test COVID kits for all 9 companies. All of these are molecular PCR tests. 

Company Price 
EverlyWell$109
LetsGetChecked$119
Picture by Fulgent Genetics$119
Pixel by LabcorpBills your insurance ($119 if insurance doesn’t cover)
Vitagene$129
P23 Labs$142
Vault$150
hims & hers$150
Phosphorus$155

 

How long do results take? 

You will likely need to coordinate with FedEx to figure out your local pickup and drop off schedule to send your test into the lab for processing. Once the samples collected arrive at the lab, it will take 24-72 hours to process. You will get your results at home through a website, message, or online portal. 

When you are waiting for your test results, public health officials urge you to stay home and isolate. If you are experiencing symptoms, such as shortness of breath, you should isolate yourself from others immediately. 

 

How do I take the sample for an at-home COVID 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, LetsGetChecked, and Picture by Fulgent Genetics. The nasal swab test is done by inserting the tip of a foam swab into each nostril for about 10 seconds. The swab is then placed in a test tube and sent back to the lab. 

The companies that test through saliva samples are Vault, Vitagene, hims & hers, Phosphorus, and P23 labs. 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. 

Source: https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/08/new-drool-based-tests-are-replacing-dreaded-coronavirus-nasal-swab

 

Should I order an at-home COVID test or get one in-person (PCR or rapid)?

It is a personal decision whether to get tested in person or get an at-home test. Below we outlined some things to consider when deciding whether or not to get an at-home test. 

1. Will your insurance cover the cost of an at-home test? 

Most insurance providers will cover the cost of your at-home test if you meet certain criteria. You typically need to have symptoms, have a recent exposure, or be at high risk to get the cost of your test covered. Make sure to call your insurance provider in advance to make sure that you will be able to get reimbursed. 

2. Are there any close by testing centers you can go to? 

If you live nearby a testing center, such as an urgent care facility, it may be easier to get your test in person rather than doing the home collection. Make sure to call testing centers in advance to make sure that they still have testing supplies in stock. 

3. Do you need a rapid test? 

Currently, there are no FDA authorized at-home rapid tests that you can order to your home. The one authorized at-home rapid test is only available for patients at two hospitals for the time being. Therefore, if you need a rapid test, you will need to get tested in-person. 

4. Are you comfortable administering a test for yourself? 

You will either need to administer a test by performing a nasal swab or giving a saliva sample. The testing kits come with clear directions for properly administering these tests. In addition, some companies require you to administer the test while on a video call with a provider. However, if you are still uncomfortable with doing a fully self-administered test, you should go get a test in-person. 

5. Do you want to avoid getting infected or infecting others? 

Going into a doctor’s office or urgent care facility increases your risk of contracting COVID-19 or spreading it to others. If this is a concern for you, it is probably best to order an at-home test. 

 

Is there an at-home rapid test for COVID-19? 

On November 17th, 2020, the FDA issued emergency use authorization for the first at-home rapid diagnostic test. This test is made by Lucira and is called the “COVID-19 All-In-One” Test Kit. Unfortunately, the test will be limited to patients at 2 hospitals in California and Florida until the Spring. 

While many rapid tests are antigen tests, this is a molecular test. Therefore, results should be more accurate than an antigen rapid test. Lucira announced that their product has a 94% positive percent agreement and a 98% negative percent agreement, thus the test is highly accurate. 

This test is self-administered through a nasal swab. You then place the swab in a solution and can get results within 30 minutes. This test is only available by prescription for individuals age 14 or older and should only cost about $50. 

 

Source: https://www.lucirahealth.com

 

Is there an at-home antibody test for COVID-19?

No, there are currently no FDA approved at-home antibody tests. Antibody tests are done by taking a blood sample; therefore, they need to be done at a laboratory, doctor’s office, or urgent care facility. 

A membership with Mira can help you get an antibody test at Labcorp for only $10. 

 

Have questions about testing options? Here are some resources you may find helpful: 

 

Sources: 

https://www.goodrx.com/blog/coronavirus-at-home-tests/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/11/18/home-test-coronavirus-covid-fda/

https://www.cnet.com/health/how-to-get-tested-for-coronavirus-at-home/

https://www.vaulthealth.com/covid

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