There are nine SARS-CoV-2 antigen tests from five companies, which the FDA authorized emergency use at home. These are variations of Abbott’s BinaxNow COVID-19 Antigen Self Test, Access Bio’s CareStart COVID-19 Antigen Home Test, Ellume’s COVID-19 Home Test, the InteliSwab COVID-19 Rapid Test from OraSure Technologies, and the Quidel QuickVue At-Home COVID-19 Test. Tests may be covered by your insurance or cost between $109 and $155 out of pocket.
A membership with Mira can help you get access to a free at-home PCR test. For just $45 per month, members also get access to low-cost urgent care visits, discounted prescriptions, and affordable lab testing.
How Much At-Home COVID-19 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. However, Abbott is releasing BinaxNOW, which is just $25 and will be the most widely available at-home COVID test.
How to Get an At-Home COVID-19 Testing Kit
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized 10 at-home COVID-19 diagnostic tests. The companies that produce these at-home COVID tests are Everylywell, LetsGetChecked, Picture by Fulgent Genetics, Pixel by Labcorp, Vitagene, P23 Labs, Vault, him & hers, and Phosphorus.
Most recently, Abbott Laboratories said its BinaxNow rapid test for Covid-19 has been cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use at home and will cost $25. 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.
Where to Get a Testing Kit
Below we outline the cost of self-test COVID kits for all 9 companies. All of these are molecular PCR tests.
|Picture by Fulgent Genetics||$119|
|Pixel by Labcorp||Bills your insurance ($119 if insurance doesn’t cover)|
|hims & hers||$150|
|Walmart/ Sam's Club||$99- $135|
How Long it Takes to Get Results
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 waiting for your test results, public health officials urge you to stay home and isolate yourself. If you are experiencing symptoms, such as shortness of breath, you should isolate yourself from others immediately.
How to Take a Sample
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.
How to Determine Which COVID-19 Test is Right for You
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 kit 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 ensure that you will be reimbursed.
2. Are there any close by testing centers you can go to?
If you live near a testing center, such as an urgent care facility, it may be easier to get your test there. Make sure to call testing centers in advance to ensure 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 get a test in person.