- Strep throat is caused by infection with a bacterium known as Streptococcus, also called group A streptococcus.
- A rapid strep test involves swabbing the throat and running a test on the swab. Rapid strep tests are available at urgent care centers and doctor’s offices. If positive, the doctor can then prescribe antibiotics.
- The average out-of-pocket cost of a rapid strep test with a doctor's visit is $187. However, the cost you will pay is highly variable and depends on if you have insurance, where you are located, and if you need any additional services.
- This article aims to help you understand the price you might have to pay at urgent care and where to get tested at the lowest cost.
The cost for a rapid strep test depends on the following factors
The out-of-pocket cost for a rapid strep test may depend on the following factors:
- Where the urgent care center or medical care office is located
- Whether or not you need additional prescriptions to treat strep (if strep is detected)
- If the doctor performs additional tests (flu, Covid-19, etc)
- Insurance coverage (if any)
How much does a strep test cost?
Our research team contacted the top 10 urgent care centers in the United States to find out exactly how much a strep test costs at urgent care without insurance.
Urgent care prices for a strep test
We found that the average cost of a rapid strep test without insurance is $187 including the doctor's visit.
|Concentra||$181 office visit, call to unique about strep symptoms/ test|
|MedExpress/ Riverside Urgent Care||NA|
|American Family Care||$125 office, $35 strep test- Total $160|
|ProHEALTH Urgent Care||$135, including an office visit|
|ExpressCare Urgent Care||NA|
|MD Now Urgent Care||NA|
|Patient First||$299, including office visit|
|CityMD Urgent Care||$200, including office visit|
|CareNow||$154 office visit, $33 strep- $187 total|
|GoHealth Urgent Care||$120 office visit, $25 strep test- $145 total|
At MinuteClinic (CVS)
At MinuteClinic, a strep test would be considered a minor illness and would cost you between $99–$139.
A strep test at Walgreens will typically cost $59 or more for patients with no existing health insurance.
At the doctor's office
There are many factors that influence the price of a strep test at a doctor's office. However, we've found the price will range between $89- $101.
At the hospital/ emergency room
This would be considered a Level 1 visit. Level 1 is for minor problems, such as an earache or a strep test. The average cost for a Level 1 visit is $328.
Different strains of strep
Streptococci is a bacterial infection and is divided into several groups: Group A streptococcus, Group B streptococcus, Group C streptococcus, and Group G streptococcus.
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|Strain||What is it?||Symptoms|
|Group A||Sometimes called GAS, tends to affect the throat and the skin. People may carry GAS in these areas yet not show any symptoms of illness.||A sore throat that comes on very quickly, pain when swallowing, fever, red and swollen tonsils, small red spots on the roof of the mouth, and swollen lymph nodes in the front of the neck.|
|Group B||Also known as group B strep or GBS, is a type of bacteria that can cause illness in people of all ages, though it can be particularly severe in newborns, most commonly causing sepsis, pneumonia, and meningitis||In adults, the most common health issues caused by GBS include urinary tract infections, skin infections, bloodstream infections, pneumonia, skin and soft-tissue infections, and bone and joint infections.|
|Group C &G||Group C and G strep most commonly live in animals such as horses and cattle and can spread to humans through raw milk or contact with these animals.||Persistent fever for >7 days. Other respiratory tract infections reported include epiglottitis and sinusitis|
When should I get a strep test?
Strep throat is caused by infection with a bacterium known as Streptococcus pyogenes, also called group A streptococcus.
Streptococcal bacteria are contagious and predominantly spread through airborne respiratory droplets or saliva.
You may want to consider getting a rapid strep test if you are having the following symptoms:
- Throat pain that usually has a quick onset
- Painful swallowing
- Red and swollen tonsils, sometimes with white patches or streaks of pus
- Tiny red spots on the area at the back of the roof of the mouth (soft or hard palate)
- Swollen, tender lymph nodes in your neck
- Nausea or vomiting, especially in younger children
- Body aches
If you go see a provider at urgent care with any of the aforementioned symptoms, they may recommend getting a strep test.
What does a strep test entail?
According to the Centers For Disease Control, only a rapid strep test or throat culture will be able to determine if you have group A strep.
It’s not possible for a doctor to tell if someone has strep throat just by looking at his or her throat.
A rapid strep test involves swabbing the back of the throat and running a test on the swab. The test shows if group A strep is causing the illness and results and typically available within 10 minutes.
If the test is positive, doctors can prescribe antibiotics.
If the test is negative, but a doctor still suspects strep throat, then the doctor can take a throat culture swab. A throat culture typically takes 1-2 days to find out if group A strep bacteria is present.
While it takes more time, a throat culture sometimes finds infections that the rapid strep test misses.
Culture is important to use in children and teens since they can get a rheumatic fever from an untreated strep throat infection.
For adults, it is usually not necessary to do a throat culture following a negative rapid strep test. Adults are generally not at risk of getting rheumatic fever following a strep throat infection.
However, your provider will assess whether it is necessary to get this test based on your symptoms.
What medications might a doctor prescribe if I have strep throat?
Doctors treat strep throat with antibiotics. Either penicillin or amoxicillin is recommended as the first choice for people who are not allergic to penicillin.
Doctors can use other antibiotics to treat strep throat in people who are allergic to penicillin.
Benefits of antibiotics include:
- Decreasing how long someone is sick
- Decreasing symptoms (feeling better)
- Preventing the bacteria from spreading to others
- Preventing serious complications like rheumatic fever
How to avoid high costs for a strep test at urgent care?
Seeking help from urgent care can be expensive and non-transparent. T
here are several options that can help you reduce your out-of-pocket cost when receiving a strep test — especially if you do not have insurance or your insurance has high deductibles.
With Mira, your $99 co-pay will cover your entire urgent care visit.
It is important to advocate for yourself and understand the factors that affect the potential cost. Outlined below are several questions you can ask to help advocate for yourself.
- How much will the rapid strep test cost?
- If I need a strep culture, how much will it cost?
- Is the strep test the only test I need for today?
- How much will this prescription medicine cost?
- Is there an office visit fee?
- What other administrative fees can I expect?