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Free COVID Tests?


patcacmt
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I’m curious how people are obtaining their required pre-cruise COVID tests for free?  Maybe it varies by state (?), but when I traveled to Hawaii a few months ago, I could only find travel-required COVID testing for a fee and my insurance didn’t cover it.  Pharmacies (CVS, Walgreens) charged $139 but couldn’t guarantee the results in time, so I ended up at an urgent care center locally and paid $150 for the NAAT rapid antigen test (that none of our local pharmacies were offering at the time).  The only “free” testing, or covered by insurance, is when it is medically necessary like when you are sick, or you’ve had exposure or contact with someone exposed. 
 

I’m thinking of getting the online home testing kit for our upcoming cruises. Sounds like people have had good experiences with it, and it is a lot less expensive. 

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We leave on the Allure on Sunday and I purchased the home test kits through the Optima Store that Royal Caribbean links you to.  I did a home test from the Abbott kit I bought from our local pharmacy 2 days ago.  It worked great.  The test kit from (Navica) the Optima Store no so good.  I was send a defective kit and since you can't  open it until you are on line with them, I went through the whole test to find it was missing a sticky strip that you need to complete the test.  To shorten this, I was told "looks like you got a defective kit, we'll send you and email in 24 hours on how you can get it replaced"  No good since we leave Sunday.  I'll never buy one of these again.  I am now scrambling to try to get a test done.  May not be able to.  

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7 hours ago, bschmitt said:

We leave on the Allure on Sunday and I purchased the home test kits through the Optima Store that Royal Caribbean links you to.  I did a home test from the Abbott kit I bought from our local pharmacy 2 days ago.  It worked great.  The test kit from (Navica) the Optima Store no so good.  I was send a defective kit and since you can't  open it until you are on line with them, I went through the whole test to find it was missing a sticky strip that you need to complete the test.  To shorten this, I was told "looks like you got a defective kit, we'll send you and email in 24 hours on how you can get it replaced"  No good since we leave Sunday.  I'll never buy one of these again.  I am now scrambling to try to get a test done.  May not be able to.  

Check https://floridahealthcovid19.gov/testing-sites/ to see if you can find a rapid test and book the appointment for a site near you.

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8 hours ago, bschmitt said:

I am now scrambling to try to get a test done.  May not be able to. 

Check your closest Quest Diagnostics location. The one near us can do the tests and turn around the results quickly. Also, check with RCL to see if there are any at the port test slots available. One of your local CVS locations may have slots available (at least it is worth checking on their site).

 

These CVS near Leesburg have slots available today:

Apopka - 65 E Main St Poct Covid - 19 Testing Site,

65 E Main ST, Apopka, FL 32703-5255

 

Windermere - 2831 Maguire Rd Poct Covid - 19 Testing Site,

2831 Maguire RD, Windermere, FL 34786-6057

Edited by orville99
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9 minutes ago, little britain said:

Antigen or Diagnostic? What do RCI require please?

In England we call them LFT or PCR so not used to the different terminology. 

I believe that the Rapid Antigen Test is a type of LFT (Lateral Flow Test). 

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6 minutes ago, ceb104 said:

My local libraries offer the proctored BinaxNOW tests for free.  We go to the drive up window and, depending on which library, we can get two per person or one for each household member.  

where do you live?  I wish we had them free here in NY

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11 hours ago, patcacmt said:

I’m curious how people are obtaining their required pre-cruise COVID tests for free? Maybe it varies by state (?), but when I traveled to Hawaii a few months ago, I could only find travel-required COVID testing for a fee and my insurance didn’t cover it. Pharmacies (CVS, Walgreens) charged $139 but couldn’t guarantee the results in time, so I ended up at an urgent care center locally and paid $150 for the NAAT rapid antigen test (that none of our local pharmacies were offering at the time). The only “free” testing, or covered by insurance, is when it is medically necessary like when you are sick, or you’ve had exposure or contact with someone exposed.
 

I’m thinking of getting the online home testing kit for our upcoming cruises. Sounds like people have had good experiences with it, and it is a lot less expensive.

The CARES Act passed in 2020 gives every American a free option for testing. Both CVS and Walgreens are free testing. Not sure why you think they charge. https://www.cvs.com/minuteclinic/covid-19-testing the website flat out says the test is $0

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28 minutes ago, Miloomar said:

The CARES Act passed in 2020 gives every American a free option for testing. Both CVS and Walgreens are free testing. Not sure why you think they charge. https://www.cvs.com/minuteclinic/covid-19-testing the website flat out says the test is $0

Usually when you go to make the appointment on CVS website they ask if it’s for travel, exposure etc. If you say travel they don’t have an appointment time for you to pick. I’m in SC 

 

I called my insurance. They said they do cover it for travel. So I can go to my local urgent care 

Edited by mawvkysc
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37 minutes ago, Miloomar said:

The CARES Act passed in 2020 gives every American a free option for testing. Both CVS and Walgreens are free testing. Not sure why you think they charge. https://www.cvs.com/minuteclinic/covid-19-testing the website flat out says the test is $0

I know at Walgreens, at least the one by me, it is free if you have been exposed or are showing symptoms, but there's a charge if you want it for something like travel.  So you need to lie and say you've been exposed or that you have a fever, cough and can't taste or smell anything if you want to get the test at no charge. 

Edited by rockmom
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3 minutes ago, rockmom said:

I know at Walgreens, at least the one by me, it is free if you have been exposed or are showing symptoms, but there's a charge if you want it for something like travel. So you need to lie and say you've been exposed or that you have a fever, cough and can't taste or smell anything if you want to get the test at no charge.

I mean... no one will know if you lie

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4 hours ago, rockmom said:

I know at Walgreens, at least the one by me, it is free if you have been exposed or are showing symptoms, but there's a charge if you want it for something like travel.  So you need to lie and say you've been exposed or that you have a fever, cough and can't taste or smell anything if you want to get the test at no charge. 

Got 4 tests at CVS yesterday for free in Dallas, and yes, told them it was for travel. 
The CARES act covers travel testing, it baffles me that some locations don’t honor that. 

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4 hours ago, LadeeBug100 said:

I live in South Carolina,  our CVS and Walgreens covid test is free,  even if you check for travel.

Not sure why mawvkysc's CVS is different.🤔

Thanks for mentioning Walgreens. I checked their website and I can get an appointment with them for the IDnow test. I had been checking for the antigen test previously. 
 

It looks like the CVSs that are doing the tests are just not close to me. I finally found an appointment  almost a week out over an hour away. Fortunately I have the Urgent Care near me. And now I know about Walgreens. 

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I think I will have to stay with BinaxNOW proctored home testing, because there is no local Walgreens or CVS or Costco that will do free rapid testing near me.  So, I'll pay the $30 - $35 for the home proctored test.

 

When I was in Kauai 2 weeks ago, I tried to buy a Binax home test (not proctored).  I went to 3 pharmacies and they all said they get delivery of the kits in the am, and are sold out within 3-4 hours.  So, I took the test when I got home so my hosts would feel comfortable about my visit.

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57 minutes ago, rucruisn2 said:

We live in Palm Beach County, Fl.  Went yesterday to local drive thru testing. No line, no charge, had our results before we got home. Start to finish, door to door was 1 hour.

I am in Palm beach too. What site did u go to? Our CVS and Walgreens do it with appointments. What drive up site is open now?

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10 hours ago, rucruisn2 said:

We live in Palm Beach County, Fl.  Went yesterday to local drive thru testing. No line, no charge, had our results before we got home. Start to finish, door to door was 1 hour.

One hour? I have at least four drive-up sites/storefronts or more within 10 minutes of me- I'm 45 miles outside of Chicago. Another sent a flyer saying they will come to my home! 

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On 11/19/2021 at 9:04 PM, patcacmt said:

I’m curious how people are obtaining their required pre-cruise COVID tests for free?  Maybe it varies by state (?), but when I traveled to Hawaii a few months ago, I could only find travel-required COVID testing for a fee and my insurance didn’t cover it.  Pharmacies (CVS, Walgreens) charged $139 but couldn’t guarantee the results in time, so I ended up at an urgent care center locally and paid $150 for the NAAT rapid antigen test (that none of our local pharmacies were offering at the time).  The only “free” testing, or covered by insurance, is when it is medically necessary like when you are sick, or you’ve had exposure or contact with someone exposed. 
 

I’m thinking of getting the online home testing kit for our upcoming cruises. Sounds like people have had good experiences with it, and it is a lot less expensive. 

 

I was at Rite Aid today and they were advertising free Covid Tests. (And there was a small line of people) I would think you could get a free test at any of the chain pharmacies by just checking the box that you were exposed. You really don't know that you haven't been since the virus is circulating in the population. :classic_smile:

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