COVID-19 Testing Information
UnityPoint Health is encouraging people to get tested at the onset of COVID-19 symptoms. Testing earlier means more treatment options may be available for you. Monoclonal antibody treatment is effective in keeping COVID-19 positive patients out of the hospital, but it needs to be administered early on in the disease. If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone experiencing symptoms, call your clinic or provider, practice social distancing and follow the CDC's recommendations for self isolation.
How much will my COVID-19 test cost?
An order from a healthcare provider is required for all COVID-19 testing at UnityPoint Health. The cash price of the diagnostic test performed and processed at UnityPoint Health is based upon the instrumentation used for testing, as defined by UnityPoint Health testing criteria:
- COVID-19 diagnostic test performed on a low throughput instrument: $125.00
- COVID-19 diagnostic test performed on a high throughput instrument: $240.00
- Antibody blood test: $40.00
These costs are for the tests alone, without insurance coverage, and do not include other charges for your hospital or clinic visit that may apply. Many insurance providers cover COVID-19 testing. Please check with your insurance provider for confirmation.
What will a COVID test cost me if I'm asymptomatic?
During the pandemic, Medicare and ICD-10-CM Official Guidelines for Coding and Reporting guidance is to assume that everyone has had exposure to COVID-19. Based on this guidance, generally insurance companies are covering the cost of a standard COVID-19 test at a UnityPoint Health or UnityPoint Clinic facility in full without a patient responsibility. We recommend you contact your insurance carrier to determine your exact coverage.
What different COVID-19 tests are available?
There are two diagnostic tests that identify active COVID-19 infection in people. A third type of test, an antibody test, works to find evidence you've previously had COVID-19. If you're not sure which COVID-19 test you need or where to get tested, call your health care provider or clinic for guidance.
Antigen COVID-19 Test
An antigen test detects proteins produced by the virus. These tests are less sensitive and often less accurate. Antigen tests are performed with nose or throat swabs to search for an active COVID-19 infection.
Molecular COVID-19 Test
A molecular test includes the rt-PCR test, commonly called PCR test. Molecular tests detect the genetic material that makes up the virus. These tests are very sensitive and often more accurate. Molecular tests look at samples from the nose, saliva, sputum (saliva and mucus) or nasopharyngeal (area right past your nostril) to search for an active COVID-19 infection.
Molecular tests pick up very small fragments of the virus, even beyond the point that someone is contagious or ill, but, perhaps, you are still sheading the virus. That's why you can get a positive test result from a molecular test, even though you might not have an active COVID-19 infection." Dr. Rosa says
Antibody COVID-19 Test
An antibody test does not test for active COVID-19 infection. Instead, an antibody (or serology) test, uses a blood sample to determine if you have developed antibodies against the COVID-19 virus. If antibodies are identified, it's a sign you might have previously contracted COVID-19.
What should I do while waiting for my test results?
Whether or not you have received your COVID-19 test results, it is important to care for yourself and to protect others in your home and community. If you were tested, it may take up to a week for you to be contacted with results. Most people with COVID-19 can recover from their mild illness safely at home. Until you receive a negative COVID-19 test result, please stay at home except to get emergency medical care.
- Monitor your health. If you are getting worse, call ahead to your doctor's office. Emergency warning signs for COVID-19 include: difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or difficulty arousing, and bluish lips or face. If you have a medical emergency and call 911, advise them you may have COVID-19.
- Self-isolation is recommended for at least 10 days after illness onset and at least 1 day (24 hours) after recovery. Illness onset is the date your symptoms began. Recovery is when you have had no fever, without using fever-reducing medication and your other symptoms, such as cough or shortness of breath, have improved.
- Stay at home except to get medical care. Do not go to work, school, or public areas. Avoid public transportation, ridesharing, or taxis. If you need to leave the house to get medical care, notify your doctor ahead of time and wear a mask.
- Treat your symptoms. Stay well hydrated and rest. Use over the counter medications directed at your symptoms or as advised by your healthcare team.
- Protect your family and close contacts. Separate yourself from other people in your home. Cover your coughs and sneezes. Avoid sharing household utensils and personal items and clean "high touch" surfaces every day.
- Regarding testing of contacts, UnityPoint Health is currently not able to offer asymptomatic testing, as we reserve testing for those situations in which knowing the test results are most clinically useful for patient and provider safety. The state health departments of Wisconsin, Iowa and Illinois all include testing of asymptomatic close contacts in their testing framework and can provide this testing through designated public health testing locations.
- In MyUnityPoint Mobile there is a COVID-19 activity that can be found under the My Record section inside the Menu tab. The COVID-19 activity allows you to see the status of your COVID-19 testing. After the specimen is obtained, your testing status will update. Once the COVID-19 test is resulted, the final status will appear. The COVID-19 activity shows your status for COVID-19 testing and includes a helpful resource section which provides links to the CDC website.
- Once your COVID-19 test results are available, you can access them immediately in your patient portal. Log into your MyUnityPoint account, the final COVID-19 result can be found under the Test Results section.
- If you tested positive, but had no symptoms, isolation can be discontinued once 10 days after the positive test have passed.
- No repeat testing is needed to discontinue isolation and return to usual activities.