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Texas Department of Insurance
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How to avoid extra COVID testing charges


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Texans who want a test for COVID-19 can likely avoid unnecessary charges by following these tips and knowing the options available:

Store / online

  • Go to to get four free tests mailed to your home.
  • Most health plans will pay back their members for tests the member buys at the store or online.

    Ask your health plan:

    • How much it will pay for a test and for how many. Most plans will pay up to $12 per test for up to eight tests per month.
    • What the process is for paying you back (reimbursement).
    • If the plan works with any stores where you can get tests for free without needing to send in receipts.

    Learn more on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services website.

Doctor's orders

  • Call your primary care doctor before getting tested. Get your doctor’s testing order and recommended testing site. The order makes the test possible at no cost to you. If your doctor requests the test as medically necessary, you shouldn’t be charged for it. That’s federal law.
  • Do not authorize non-COVID tests at the same time unless your doctor orders them.

Other options

  • Testing sites: When you visit a testing site, ask if it has any charges or fees not covered by insurance.
  • Emergency rooms: Unless it’s a medical emergency, avoid hospital or free-standing emergency rooms, which usually charge more.
  • No insurance: If you aren’t paying with insurance, shop around on the web or by phone to compare testing charges and possible add-on fees.

If you get a bill related to a COVID test, call your health plan to find out why. If you can’t resolve the issue with your plan, call the TDI Help Line at 800-252-3439.

If you believe you have been excessively charged, call the Texas Office of the Attorney General at 800-621-0508.

For more information on COVID testing in Texas, visit the Department of State Health Services website. For testing sites, including free sites, visit  TX COVID-19 Test Collection Sites.

Question? Call us at 800-252-3439.

Last updated: 5/11/2022