Even before the pandemic, the lack of healthcare prevented millions of Americans from accessing healthcare facilities. But today, we know that testing is the most crucial tool to flatten the virus infection rate curve and control the spread of Covid-19. So, what if you suspect that you have something that’s more than the flu and don’t have health insurance? Or what if you do have health insurance but no primary care doctor and you want to avoid what could be an expensive trip to the emergency room?
It’s a known fact that Americans pay more for healthcare than any other country in the world, even in the midst of a pandemic. And just as scientists study how the disease works and spreads, health economists are keen to understand how much the full treatment of Corona virus costs. According to Fair Health, the average charge for a Covid-19 hospitalization for someone over 60 years old is at about $61,912 right now, which includes any medical care (emergency room visits, drugs provided, etc.) during their hospital stay.
If you are insured, the amount you are responsible for will be much lower, but still set you back over $10,000. The Fair Health Data study also showed that for Covid patients over 60, based on the number of hospital stay days, the charges ranged from $26,821 to $192,149. Many health insurers have stated that they will not apply co-payments or deductibles to patient’s Covid hospital stays which would help shield them from hefty medical bills that they would be responsible for. Uninsured patients, however, would have to pay the entire hospital charge and not receive any discounts.
HOW TO GET A COVID TEST WITHOUT INSURANCE?
Technically, tests are supposed to be available to anyone regardless of their health insurance status and in an ideal world, there would be no charges for getting a Covid-19 test done. However, we have discovered that this is not the case. The cost of testing today ranges from no-cost to $352 out-of-pocket at an urgent care clinic versus over $2300 in the emergency room.
When it comes to getting a Covid test done, an uninsured person could be looking at a spend of a few hundred dollars at a doctor’s office or testing site to a few thousand dollars in an ER. Insured folks need to be aware that deductibles and co-pays may apply based upon their insurance carrier and/or health plan they are on, and as such could face a charge.
Currently, testing requires the approval of a doctor, so speaking to your healthcare practitioner would be the first step. Your doctor will consider testing if you have symptoms or have travelled to an area where Covid-19 is spreading. If you do not have a primary care practitioner on call in Atlanta, Georgia, you can give us a call at Buckhead Medicine to set up an appointment. The bottom line is, whether you have insurance or not, seek medical care.
There are 3 steps to go through to get a Covid-test done, and each step comes with a different charge:
- In most cases, you will need an initial screening. Buckhead Medicine provides virtual consultations for patients on-demand.
- If your doctor feels that you need to be called in for a test, you will be directed to visit the clinic to get swabbed or to get blood drawn.
- Your sample is then sent to a lab where it will get analyzed to determine whether or not you have Covid-19.
If you have insurance, in most cases, the initial consultation and clinic visit is free, but this amount can stretch up to $100. A primary care office visit and test can range between $120 to $250. The lab cost will depend on your insurance policy. A lab can charge anywhere between $100 to $500. How much you need to pay will depend upon whether your insurance plan covers all three steps of the process and how much of the cost they will cover.
To know more or to book an appointment to get a Covid test in Atlanta, Georgia, contact Buckhead Medicine.
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*Expedited PCR carries an additional charge because we have our office staff physically deliver the specimen by hand to the commercial lab. Insurance will never pay for the expedited service. Both standard RT-PCR and RT-PCR Expedited are available to help you meet international travel requirements.