Remember back in 2021, when people were willing to do anything to find COVidentity test? In response, the government began sending out free tests, and then You have the insurance company reimburse you for eight exams a month. If you have private insurance, you can go to Walgreens, order a script of COVID tests from your pharmacist, and come away with a stack of tests without putting in a dime, regardless of your coverage.

But here we are in the spring of 2023, and a public health emergency is being declared Ends May 11thAnd with it this way to repay. To be clear, private insurance is still possible He chooses To cover the COVID test, but hahaha. So here’s why you should still get tested, where to find tests, and how to get your insurer to slump into stock before time runs out. There is still time to run 16 more tests before the payment runs out.

Yes, you still have to test

Yes, you can potentially catch COVID. (Again?) Then get it back. and again. Over the course of your life, you will likely get it at least a few times. Science says that each of these infections, no matter how you feel during the infection, Contributes to your risk of prolonged COVID illness, and that many more people have had COVID for longer than we realize. COVID is now being recognized as vascular, and mounting evidence shows it Micro-clots lead to neurological, cardiovascular and pulmonary problems. Sometimes it’s as simple as fatigue and an elevated heart rate that lasts for a few weeks, but chances are you know someone who has experienced other effects, like COVID toe or brain fog. There is also evidence that the constant wave of colds our bodies can’t fight off, the flu and increases in fungal infections are an indirect consequence of us. Overworked immune systems. While all of these may seem like small issues because the risk of death in the near term is not so ubiquitous anymore, Long-term COVID sickness disables many people enough that they cannot workand more Only the elderly and infirm affected.

It is important to do everything you can to reduce your viral load during each of these infections, and to have as few infections as possible. One of our tools is interventions like Paxlovid, which are described as being directed primarily at those with potentially serious outcomes, even though the science says it will. benefit Most people , Reduce the risk of prolonged COVID by up to 30%. The path to getting Paxlovid begins with a positive test, and you can only get a script for Paxlovid within the first five days of symptoms.

How is the test now

Gone are the testing centers that used to line the streets of major cities and the parking lots of convention centers and fairgrounds. When national testing conglomerates like Curative and Carbon Health decided to close their testing centers, it meant less access to rapid tests that were covered by government or insurance. These were usually polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or molecular tests, which are much more accurate than the common collateral flow/rapid antigen tests we do at home. In fact, there is substantial evidence Provided by Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) Inaccurate negative results for the first 5-6 days of infectionbut a PCR / Molecular test will be accurate during that time.

You can still get home tests from pharmacies, Costco, Amazon, and most grocery stores, and they will all be rapid antigen/side flow tests. It’s not bad, because a positive is always reliable, even if it’s not a negative for the first few days. It’s good for the back score of infection, and it tells you when You are no longer contagious (Because of five days Governance is not a consequence of capitalism Sciences).

To get a PCR or molecular test, you have two options: go somewhere that offers testing, perhaps an urgent care or travel testing site, or get the latest molecular tests at home. Two companies now offer these tests: health cue It has a center and individual rapid molecular tests, but they are expensive: $50-$75 each. but Lucera Health He has a molecular test for $25-$35. With a $12 payment for each test, that’s $13 out of pocket for both.

How does reimbursement work?

If you’re looking for rapid antigen tests, the easiest way to get them is to call the pharmacy and order your eight tests for the month. Your pharmacist can fill out the script. In most cases, health insurance has already negotiated with large chains like Walgreens, RiteAid, and CVS, so that’s all you need to do. When they are ready, take them.

Online ordering is more complicated – rapid molecular tests must be ordered online. First, make sure your health insurance covers them (in my experience, most insurance companies cover the two I mentioned above, Cue and Lucira). Then, you’ll need to pay for it up front and keep your receipt. All insurance companies have forms that you fill out to get compensation, and the real challenge is finding the form. The quickest way is to just call your insurance and ask. This is pharmacy reimbursement, so ask the pharmacy or call the pharmacy number on your card to get there faster. Fill out the form and submit it with your receipt, and you can expect a check in about eight weeks.

While payment ends May 11, they’ll still pay claims for purchases made before then, so if you order today, and again in 30 days, you’ll be able to stock up on two months of testing. Even if you don’t think you need it, get it anyway. Use them to make sure you can safely spend time with people who are immunocompromised, like your elderly parents or grandparents, or those friends you haven’t seen in three years. Give it to someone who needs it. Just getting them to put screws in the insurance companies – it’s one of the very few times in your life that you can do that.

The pandemic may be “over,” but that’s the thing about pandemics: they never end.

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