If you’re worried that you might have the coronavirus, you probably want to get tested as quickly as possible. However, it can be challenging to find testing sites, and even if you do find one, you’ll likely have to wait in a long line to get yours. A better testing option for COVID-19 is home testing, as it’s taken in the comfort of your own home, you’ll get quick results, and you’ll have the support of Text2Med in Chicago, IL.
How Does Coronavirus Home Testing Work?
The LetsGetChecked At-Home Coronavirus Test, which has been issued an Emergency Use Authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, works by allowing patients to obtain their own nasal swab sample with the at-home collection kit, return it securely in a prepaid envelope to a participating laboratory, and receive reliable results within 24 to 48 hours. No in-person appointment is necessary, either before or after the results have been delivered, as all consultations will be conducted via video teleconferencing.
To get your LetsGetChecked At-Home Coronavirus Test, you’ll first complete a mandatory questionnaire on our website, which will be used to assess your risk of contracting COVID-19. To ensure there are enough tests for everyone who needs one, you’ll only receive a test if you fall under one of two conditions. The first is you are over the age of 65 and you have mild symptoms, such as a cough, sore throat, etc., that could be related to the coronavirus.
The second condition is if you are younger than 65 years old and have a comorbid condition such as diabetes, obesity, heart disease, asthma, and others, and you are experiencing mild symptoms, including a cough, sore throat, etc., that could be related to the coronavirus. If you meet either of these two conditions, you don’t have to report an exposure to qualify for the at-home test. You’ll pay for the test and it will be sent directly to your home.
When you receive your at-home testing kit, you’ll collect a sample through a nasal swab. There will be explicit instructions to ensure you obtain a valid sample and the process is outlined below as well. You’ll seal your sample in the enclosed postage-paid envelope and send it to the address on the envelope, which is for our partner laboratory. Within 24-48 hours, you will receive your results digitally, and if it is positive, you’ll receive a call from our office.
Collecting a Sample
Be sure to wash your hands with mild soap and warm water before you begin the collection process. Remove the transport tube from the kit, remove the lid, and place it on a flat surface, taking care not to spill the contents. Peel open the package containing the nasal swab and remove the swab. Don’t touch the tip or put the swab down on any surface. Gently place the swab in a nostril and push carefully until you feel resistance.
Rotate the swab in your nose for 10 seconds and remove the swab from your nose. Repeat the collection process with your other nostril. Both nostrils must be swabbed before you place the swab into the transport tube. When you have swabbed both nostrils, put the swab into the transport tube and ensure the tip is covered by the liquid in the tube. Screw the lid of the transport tube back on tightly to prevent leaks and spills.
If your results are positive, we will meet with you via a video teleconference to discuss your next steps. Along with your results, the laboratory will also send you a Patient Fact Sheet that will provide you with information on the coronavirus and available treatments. When you purchase a home testing kit through us, you’ll also receive three months of unlimited messaging with a physician, so we’ll be with you every step of the way.
If your results are negative, we will still meet with you to ensure you understand your results and to discuss your symptoms. Even if you don’t have COVID-19, you will still want to address your illness. As mentioned above, your purchase of an at-home coronavirus test is accompanied by three months of unlimited messaging with a physician. We will help you determine the cause of your symptoms and how best to treat them.
If your results come back as invalid, you will be sent another test for free. You will have to repeat the process of collecting a nasal swab sample, sealing it in the envelope, and mailing it to the laboratory. However, you will not have to pay for the second test. You will also still receive the three months of unlimited messaging with a physician once you receive valid results from the laboratory.
Currently, your health insurance company cannot be billed directly for your at-home coronavirus test, but the federal CARES Act, which was passed in March 2020, requires health insurance companies cover all COVID-19 tests with no coinsurance, copays, or preauthorization requirements. Therefore, you can apply for reimbursement through your insurance company once your test results are finalized. To be reimbursed, you will need the following information:
- An itemized receipt for the at-home testing kit
- Your personal information (or that of the patient)
- The name of the approving physician
- Procedure diagnostic codes
- The names of the procedures
- Procedure codes
- Itemized laboratory costs
All information necessary for filing for reimbursement will be given to you through the telemedicine app. Simply send us a message asking us for reimbursement information and we’ll provide it to you right away.
The price of the LetsGetChecked At-Home Coronavirus Test is $139.00. This includes a consultation when you receive your results and three months of unlimited messaging with a physician. This amount will be due before the test is shipped to you and can be purchased directly through our website if you qualify for the test after completing the required questionnaire.
As previously mentioned, it is important that there are enough coronavirus tests available for people who really need them, so you may be excluded from qualifying for an at-home COVID-19 test. The following conditions are not eligible for an at-home test:
- You have severe COVID-19 symptoms
- You have no COVID-19 symptoms
- You are under age 65, have mild symptoms, but do not have any comorbid conditions
If you are under age 65, even if you report having been exposed to COVID-19, you will not qualify for an at-home test if you do not have any comorbid conditions. The reasoning behind this exclusion is that younger, healthy people have generally had a lower risk of contracting coronavirus, and if they do contract it, they have generally been able to recover more easily than older people and those with comorbid conditions.
Symptoms of Coronavirus
Since you have to have mild symptoms of coronavirus to qualify for an at-home test kit, you should know what the symptoms are. Symptoms will appear between two and 14 days after exposure and you may have only a couple of symptoms, or you could have them all. The symptoms of COVID-19 are the following:
- Shortness of breath
- Body aches
- Loss of smell or taste
- Sore throat
- Runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
This list may not be a comprehensive description of all COVID-19 symptoms, but they are the most commonly-reported symptoms as indicated by the Center of Disease Control (CDC). It is recommended you check the CDC website for updated information on symptoms if you are experiencing something not on the above list.
Difference Between Coronavirus and the Flu
If your at-home test comes back negative, you may have influenza or the flu instead of coronavirus. Some symptoms of the flu are similar to the symptoms of COVID-19, so it can be difficult to know the difference. This is why testing is recommended for anyone with mild symptoms who is either older or has a comorbid condition. It takes longer for COVID-19 symptoms to show up, so people can be contagious longer, another good reason to get tested.
COVID-19 seems to cause people to become more seriously ill than the flu, but this is not true for everyone. Some people are asymptomatic and others only get mild symptoms and recover quickly. Testing can help you determine if you should self-isolate to prevent other people in your household from contracting the virus since it’s impossible to predict how each person will respond to the infection. If you have symptoms, it’s a good idea to self-isolate until your results return.
Treatments for Coronavirus
So far, only one medication has been approved by the FDA to treat COVID-19, which is Remdesivir (Veklury); however, two antibodies have been given emergency use authorizations to boost the immune systems of people who are at high risk of getting extremely ill from COVID-19. These are Bamlanivimab and Casirivimab plus Imdevimab. These antibody treatments are not yet approved as a standard of care, so your physician must determine if these treatments are appropriate for your case.
If you have mild symptoms and do not need to be admitted to the hospital, your physician will likely recommend that you use acetaminophen or ibuprofen to reduce your fever, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, and rest as much as possible to help your body fight the virus. If you are admitted to the hospital, you may be given Remdesivir to slow the progress of the virus or Dexamethasone to reduce an overactive immune response.
You may also receive supplemental oxygen to help you breathe better and could be placed on a ventilator if your condition worsens. Additionally, you will be kept hydrated through IV fluids and drinking water. If the virus causes damage to other organs, you will likely receive other treatments to combat those conditions. Finally, you may receive plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients to help boost your immune system. However, there is not yet enough proof that this is an effective treatment.
If you believe you have been exposed to COVID-19, contact us for a televisit right away. We will help you monitor any symptoms that develop and will recommend home treatments or advise you to seek in-person medical attention. Take our questionnaire to see if you qualify for an at-home test, and until you receive your results, stay away from anyone in your home as much as possible to prevent the spread.
Seek immediate emergency care if you experience difficulty breathing, pain, or pressure in your chest, blue lips or face, new confusion, or the inability to wake up or stay awake.
Ready to Test?
Getting tested for COVID-19 is important for you and your loved ones, especially those who are at higher risk of complications from coronavirus. Contact Text2Med today to see if you qualify for an at-home coronavirus test kit to give you peace of mind.