Millions of Americans have not been or are no longer insured. So, what happens if you’re not insured when there is a pandemic, and you need testing?
The government has mandated that the coronavirus tests be free, but there’s much more to testing than getting one nasal swab.
Can’t Just Get a Random COVID test
Since COVID symptoms are similar to those of the flu or strep, doctors must carry out various tests to rule out other illnesses. Finding out whether or not your symptoms are coronavirus-related requires tests and checkups that are not free. But telehealth screenings, primary care visits, urgent care visits, and emergency room trips aren’t even free if you have insurance. On top of that, you may get a bill from the lab, depending on the type of test you get.
Try Telehealth First
If you are uninsured and have COVID symptoms, try a telehealth consult. This might cost anywhere from $20 to $100. If the doctor determines your symptoms are mild, he or she may ask you to stay home and quarantine yourself. But things are a bit different if you have symptoms that require you to see a healthcare provider. Depending on what state you’re in, and what type of clinic you visit, it can cost you anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand.
Stay home or Apply for Medicaid
If you’re uninsured and you’re able to stay home, this might be the best, albeit imperfect, solution. Try to limit exposure to others and avoid enclosed, public spaces if you must go out.
If you’re uninsured, but must go to work because you’re an essential worker, look to see if you qualify for Medicaid. This is the free government program that offers insurance to those who make below a certain income. There is no open enrollment date, which means you can apply for it anytime. Plus, unemployment benefits no longer count as income for Medicaid. Which means that if you have been laid off, but are collecting unemployment, you may still qualify for Medicaid.