HOUSTON - Many people are scrambling to be tested for COVID-19 before traveling or seeing family and friends for the holidays, and paying big bucks when they shouldn't.
We’re seeing long lines at COVID-19 test sites, where people are trying to get tested before Christmas.
That has some people turning to other testing sites that they say are charging high fees.
Here’s what you need to know:
If you have health insurance, the CARES Act requires insurance companies to cover the cost of COVID-19 testing. Your best bet is to go to a test site in your health insurance network.
If you are not insured, the federal government made low or no-cost tests available to everyone at select health centers and pharmacies. These can be found through the US Department of Health and Human Services.
"With the CARES Act, testing in a clinical setting or in a community setting, where you’re going someplace to get a test, will often be covered by the government, even if you’re not insured. Bring your insurance card to get a test if you are insured. Make sure you have the card with you," said Alicia Pierce with the Texas Association of Health Plans.
Home COVID-19 test kits, also called over-the-counter test kits, are selling out fast.
These are generally not covered by insurance unless your doctor said you need a test and that you can take a home test. If that's the case, you can submit the receipt to your insurance for reimbursement.
President Joe Biden said the federal government will send 500 million rapid home test kits out in January through the web and private health insurance.
It is expected that insurers will be required to cover those tests, but the details and start date have not been announced. If those home test kits are covered, you'll likely submit a receipt to the insurance for reimbursement for tests purchased only after the start date in January.
Meantime, home tests start at about $10, or $100 for home PCR tests that go to a lab. You can pay for them through your Flex Spending Account or Health Saving Account.
Most stores are reporting they are sold out of home test kits, but these are some sites you can check periodically for possible restocking: