A flu test is a diagnostic test your healthcare provider uses to determine if you have the flu (influenza). A flu test can minimize symptoms through early detection of the flu. Without insurance, the cost of a flu test can be expensive, averaging $134.80. This price can be influenced by the cost of the provider visit and further treatment and services.
If you have flu-like symptoms, getting tested right away is best for your health, even if the cost is high. Luckily, Mira can help you save by providing low-cost urgent care visits. In addition, Mira members also get up to 80 percent off over 1,000 different medications, same-day lab testing, and low-cost virtual care. Mira will help you feel better sooner; sign up today.
The Cost of a Flu Test at Different Clinics & Locations
We collected information from several clinics in major metropolitan areas across the United States to determine the cost of a flu test. On average, we found that a flu test costs $134.80 without insurance. The least expensive test was found at myDoc Urgent Care in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, at only $25.
The information below was obtained directly from the clinics' websites. Most locations offer different packages when it comes to self-pay pricing. Some may include the provider visit in the cost, while others list it separately on the site. Always make sure to call ahead to discuss potential charges from receiving medical care and ask about self-pay pricing.
Cost of a Flu Test Without Insurance at Different Clinics
Flu Test Cost Without Insurance
|CVS Minute Clinic, New York City, New York|
|FastMed Urgent Care, Orlando, Florida*|
|Houston Concierge Medicine, Houston, Texas*|
|Physician’s Immediate Care, Chicago, Illinois|
|myDoc Urgent Care, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania|
In addition to the cost of the flu test, you may encounter additional fees, such as the cost of the office visit or further treatment that you may need.
Office Visit/Provider Fee
When getting a flu test, you may consider visiting an urgent care center, which ranges from $135-198. Your primary care physician may also be a good resource when looking to get a flu test, although a visit may be more expensive, costing around $150-300 if you don’t have insurance.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many clinics have combined rapid flu and COVID-19 tests into one package. They both present similar symptoms, so it's easiest to test for both simultaneously. Therefore, if you schedule an appointment to get a COVID-19/flu test, you may not even see a provider to limit potential infection, and you may not have to pay a provider fee.
On the other hand, if you go to a clinic for typical cold symptoms, or side effects specific to the flu, you will most likely see a provider first. They will then take time to assess your symptoms and ultimately decide to give you a flu test. A rapid influenza test will typically provide results within 30 minutes and is considered an in-house lab test. They may not be as accurate as some other flu tests.
Office Visit Fees at Different Clinics
Office Visit Cost Without Insurance
CVS Minute Clinic, New York City, New York
FastMed Urgent Care, Orlando, Florida
myDoc Urgent Care, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The above prices were also obtained directly from the clinics' websites. There are often different levels of visits at urgent care centers, so it can be hard to determine the actual price until a healthcare provider evaluates you.
You can save on a visit to urgent care by looking into virtual health options. Many urgent care centers offer telehealth office visits, where a professional will evaluate your symptoms and recommend treatment. A virtual visit may lead to further testing in person, but you won't be charged for an additional visit. These virtual appointments are often less expensive than seeing someone in person. For example, myDoc Urgent Care offers telehealth visits for only $49.
An even less expensive virtual care option is Mira. For as an average of $45 a month, you’ll have access to virtual urgent and primary care. Copays through Mira cost as little as $25, which can help you save more than other virtual options.
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If your flu test comes back positive, another cost you may incur is the cost of treatment. When diagnosed with the flu, your provider may suggest taking medication to help with your symptoms. The antiviral medicine prescribed to fight off the flu virus is Tamiflu. It may be recommended that family members or those you live with also take the drug to prevent the onset of symptoms.
Cost of Tamiflu at Different Pharmacies Without Insurance
Tamiflu can be expensive, especially without insurance. A great way to save on prescriptions is by signing up for Mira. For as low as $45 per month, Mira members can save up to 80 percent off over 1,000 different prescription medications, including Tamiflu.
Flu Test Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
If you've never had a flu test before, you may have some remaining questions about the process. Below are the answers to more questions related to flu testing.
How does a flu test work?
There are two different ways to perform a flu test: a swab test or a nasal aspirate. A healthcare professional will use a swab to collect a sample from either your nose or throat during a swab test. In a nasal aspirate test, the professional will inject a saline solution into your nose and then collect the sample. Both of these will be tested at the facility, and you will usually get results back within 30 minutes.
What is the most accurate flu test?
Molecular flu tests tend to be the most accurate kind of flu test. These can be both rapid or laboratory-based, depending on the facility you go to. They look for traces of influenza 'DNA' in a sample from your respiratory tract. Sometimes they are even designed to differentiate between the A and B strains of the flu.
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When do I need to get a flu test?
Not everyone needs to get a flu test. Even if your provider believes you have flu symptoms, they sometimes won't recommend you to get a test. However, a doctor may order one if you have risk factors for potential flu complications, such as:
- Over the age of 65
- Under the age of 5
- In a hospital
- Have weakened immune system
- Are pregnant
Another instance where you may need to get a flu test is an outbreak of respiratory illness in your community. Many people may need to get tested to determine if the flu is the cause. In outbreaks, tests may also be used to determine the strain of the flu virus that is causing infections. This information helps to manufacture vaccines in the following years.
Can flu tests have false-negative results?
Yes, flu tests may have false-negative results. No test is 100 percent accurate in detecting the flu virus. A false negative occurs when the test comes back as negative but is actually positive.
Are flu tests covered by health insurance?
Yes, most major medical insurance plans will cover the cost of medically necessary diagnostic tests. Your insurance company may require that the test be ordered by a healthcare professional, so an at-home test kit may not qualify under your plan. You can call and ask your insurance company prior to a doctor’s visit to confirm what costs will be covered.
Flu tests are used as a diagnostic tool to detect instances of the flu. It is typically performed by a nasal swab and provides results in as little as 30 minutes. Without insurance, the cost of a flu test can be expensive. Our research showed the average price is $134.80. You may also run into additional costs, such as an office visit fee or the cost of treatment.
An easy way for you to reduce the cost of your flu test and your treatment is by signing up for Mira. Mira offers access to low-cost virtual and urgent care for individuals, families, and employers. With Mira, members also have access to prescriptions and lab testing up to 80 percent off. Your health is important to us too. Get tested, sign up for Mira today.
Talor graduated from Penn State University with a B.S. in Biobehavioral Health, and minors in Spanish and Diversity & Inclusion in May of 2022. She has a passion for health equity and diversity in health. In the future, Talor hopes to work in public health policy reform to help eliminate health disparities. She enjoys reading, cooking, and listening to podcasts in her free time.