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COVID-19 testing options, both PCR and at-home rapid testing. Directions on how to get no-cost rapid tests using MassHealth, Medicare, or private insurance.

COVID-19 Testing Options: Fall 2023

At-Home Testing–How to Get and Use Rapid Tests

As of September 25, 2023, residential households in the U.S. can order one set of four (4) free at-home tests from USPS.com again. Here’s what you need to know about your order:

  • Limit of one order per residential address
  • One order includes four individual rapid antigen COVID-19 tests
    (COVIDTests.gov has more details about at-home tests, including extended shelf life and updated expiration dates)
  • Orders will ship free starting the week of October 2, 2023

Order your four free tests by visiting https://special.usps.com/testkits

Local pharmacies carry a variety of at-home rapid tests.

 

Private Insurance:

You will need to check with your insurance company to make sure that test kits (and how many) are covered. It may be useful to start with the following:

  • Call the number on the back of your insurance card, or
  • Use the internet to search your insurance company and phrases like “Covid test reimbursement,” and “Covid test coverage.”

Medicare and MassHealth:

If you have MassHealth, it is anticipated that you can continue to get free rapid tests each month (every 30 days), although this is subject to change. To ensure that your rapid test kits are covered by Mass health, bring test kits to the pharmacist, who will write a “prescription” for their coverage. This process may take awhile. Do this at Big Y, CVS, Rite Aid, Stop and Shop and Walgreen’s.

If you have Medicare Part B, you will need a provider to prescribe a COVID test for it to be covered by insurance. You may still purchase rapid tests (NOT for reimbursement) on/after May 12th. You do not need to go through the pharmacy to purchase test kits.

If you have Medicare Advantage, you may still be able to get rapid tests covered by insurance. Bring the tests to the pharmacist, who can tell you if the tests are covered on your plan.

Extended Expiration Dates

Even if your rapid test kit is past its expiration date, the test may still be good to use. That’s because testing manufacturers are continually evaluating how long test kits give accurate results. The Food and Drug Administration has authorized longer expiration dates for many COVID test kits–even if what’s printed on the box is something different.

You can check to see if the expiration date has been extended on the FDA website’s list of extended expiration dates.

PCR Testing

All Curative testing sites are now closed.

Walgreen’s has a drive through. You must qualify through a survey given at sign up. Sign up through the following link: https://www.walgreens.com/findcare/category/covid-19.

At-home PCR tests are available for purchase, and some insurance companies will cover all or partial costs of PCR tests. Contact your insurance company for coverage information.

The following brands provide at-home PCR tests:

  • Everlywell
  • Let’sGetChecked
  • Lucira
  • Picture Genetics
  • Pixel by LabCorp
  • Testing.com

This May 2022 Healthline article compares various PCR and antigen tests. Note that there may have been changes in pricing, availability, insurance coverage, etc. after its publication.

Note: the above list of at-home PCR tests and the conditions of their use is not exhaustive, nor does the FRCOG specifically endorse these companies/products. These tests are listed here as a potential resource; you will need to contact your insurance company to ensure that all or part of the cost of these tests is covered.

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