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Where are you getting and How much are you paying for outbound COVID testing?

With the recent requirement of a negative Covid test to enter Italy from the US, we have been researching where to get tested and how much it will cost. The rapid antigen test seems the way to go. So far we’ve found availability at CVS ($139) and an urgent care clinic ($100). Where are y’all getting tested and what’s it costing? Other posts mention availability challenges. Is that common?

Posted by
12367 posts

A tent in a shopping center parking lot. PCR for $119. In by 11am, result by 5pm

Posted by
89 posts

Got ours at Portland Oregon Airport a day and a half before we left. PCR test, $150 each. Results in a little over 12 hours. None of the pharmacies had appointments until Tuesday afternoon and we left Wednesday morning.

Posted by
5287 posts

Walgreens, Rapid Antigen test, guarantee results in 24 hours, we got ours in just over 2 hours. Cost: $0 (Our State used Federal money for testing cost)

For reference, while Italy made the requirement, they handed off the administration to the Airlines to check, prior to boarding. So you need results prior to boarding your first flight, or at the very least prior to boarding your transatlantic flight if the airline allows. For us, no one asked for test results once in Europe, though they were spot checking some documentation at FCO when we arrived, it could have been results, but more likely your green pass/CDC card (which the airline does not require)

Posted by
6499 posts

France had this requirement when I left from visiting my folks in Oklahoma in May to come back home. I paid $139 at CVS, pre-scheduled on-line.

Posted by
471 posts

My husband and I purchased the Ellume home test kit at CVS for $28.00. each. Then we paid $15.00 each to have the test taking monitored through Azova app. Results in 15 minutes. You receive email with test results and QR code. Recommended by Delta Airlines. Flew to Rome September 7th. No problems at Delta check-in.

Posted by
34 posts

I may be wrong but I thought everyone is entitled to a free COVID test with or without insurance. Check your local Walgreen's or CVS. I think the key right now is WHEN to get the test.....I'm finding that to be somewhat challenging. What if I get to the test too early? What if I don't receive my test results before I board? Is it three days before the connection or three days before arriving? So many questions :-)

Posted by
28 posts

Thanks for everyone’s replies. Sounds like there’s quite a range of prices.

Tina - it’s definitely within 72 hours of your arrival in Italy. My preference for the rapid antigen test is the nearly immediate results to assure I have the results needed to get on the plane in hand. We still have a couple of weeks to go but I’d like to get the test approximately 48 hours before scheduled arrival to accommodate up to a 24 hour flight delay.

Posted by
1 posts

Addressing a reply to Tina from Portland, Oregon. I got mine at the Portland. Airport the day before I flew. Guaranteed by 2pm the next day but I had it at 5:30 am. Came right to my phone. Ready to go. Can get it sooner but you pay more. It was $150.00.

Posted by
6499 posts

You’re entitled to a free test that would be picked up by your state’s indigent health plan if you’re uninsured and need a test for medical reasons (I.e. you have symptoms or are a close contact case).

Personal needs for a test — including elective travel to Europe — are not eligible to be covered by your state’s indigent health fund, and with good reason.

Posted by
11 posts

I am in Florence now, and we were able to make an appointment at a Farmicia that does COVID testing to fly. Cost is 22 euro, and results less than 15 minutes.
For testing to get to Italy, I live in Oregon. I went to the Portland Airport, paid $150 for COVID test and got results the next morning.

Posted by
45 posts

We scheduled our tests for next week at an independent pharmacy offering rapid antigen tests for any reason (including travel) for $24. We’re in Upstate NY, and we couldn’t find any place that would test us without having symptoms, except for one urgent care, which wanted to charge us $119 for a rapid PCR. We really wanted the rapid antigen in case there was any kind of delay with the PCR (even if rapid).

Tests are usually only free if you’re symptomatic, or have been exposed (so, as others have said, for a medical reason). We confirmed with our insurance company that they would deny the claim if the test was for travel, and we would have to pay out of pocket. We got lucky finding this pharmacy that offers it for a low fee (suggested to us by a friend who lives by it and saw the sign outside!). We also had a hard time finding ANY rapid antigen test centers at all, even Urgent Care facilities. They all only offered PCR and were taking 2-3 days to results (some were reporting 3-5 days and advising against using them for travel).

I understand insurance not covering tests unless for a medical reason, but I do wish the US would follow Europe’s lead and offer convenient, affordable testing for travel. I was really surprised at how hard it was to get tested before departure, when we had researched getting tested in Italy before coming home and had tons of options to pick from that were very affordable. Who knew getting tested in our home country would be way more challenging?!

Posted by
224 posts

Free, from CVS. This is in New England. Had to give insurance information when booking the appointment online.

Posted by
5 posts

Test is free in Florida at CVS and Walgreens, you can make appointments on line 3 days out. Lot of appointments available.

Posted by
45 posts

I just wanted to chime in again and advise everyone to check with your insurance company about those free tests at CVS/Walgreens because it’s $0 when they bill your insurance, and that’s assuming your insurance will cover it. When we called our insurance company (United), they said if it was billed by CVS for travel purposes, they would deny the claim and we would get a bill from CVS for the full amount (upwards of $100 for a PCR). Of course, that is just our own insurance, and United is famous for not covering a lot, so many of you may have insurance that will cover it for travel purposes. But I just wanted everyone to be aware because from talking to friends with different insurance plans, it seems the general consensus was that none were covering testing for travel (it had to be for medical reasons).

When we filled out the online testing form at CVS to see what our options were, the only way to get an appointment was to say we were seeking testing for travel (because we would have had to answer No to all the other questions - Do you work in healthcare, Have you been exposed, Do you have symptoms, etc). Of course, I suppose you could tell a fib and no one would be the wiser but my moral compass wouldn’t let me :) We had trouble getting an appt at CVS without answering Yes to a qualifying question (travel will allow you to get the appt, but then you face the question of if insurance will pay for it).

Posted by
4 posts

In Minnesota the CVS pharmacy has both Rapid Antigen tests and Lap test which can take 2-3 days to get the results. Both free as far as I can tell.

We are stopping in Amersterdam and then getting on a plane to Rome, Italy. Does anyone know if we need to meet Amersterdam, Netherland's requirements also? They are a bit stricter on which tests they allow. We just have a short layover and are not leaving the airport.???

Posted by
45 posts

Doll_theresa - I’m not sure about the Netherlands specifically, but we’re transiting through Germany, and their website specifically says that layovers do not require anything special (just our vaccine card, but no locator forms or testing). We just googled the country’s travel requirements, and it was pretty easy to find, so I would imagine it would be easy to figure out for the Netherlands as well. Each country will be different, even if only a layover.

You could also call your airline and confirm with them, if that would be an easier option. Hope this helps!

Posted by
28 posts

I’m not expecting my insurance company to pay for the test for travel purposes. I’ll just answer the questions accurately and perhaps be pleasantly surprised.

The cheaper test we’ve found doesn’t let you book until 12:00 am on the day of the test. Since that makes me a little nervous, we’ll probably book with CVS which can be booked 13 days out. Quite a few of the next 13 days have no available times.

Posted by
34 posts

These are all great comments and very informative, but the dates to get the shot seems to be still challenging. Maybe I'm thinking too hard and if I wasn't pennywise I would just get the test at the airport as jae_g suggested. 😊 I am leaving from PDX early a.m. and arriving at JFK late afternoon with a four hour layover before heading to Venice. I know it's the airline who is checking for vaccination status, but at PDX or JFK? There is a very big window, so if I don't have the results before I leave Portland I most certainly will have them before departing JFK.

Posted by
9 posts

I also had a free rapid test from CVS. They assured me that there would be no cost from insurance since it is free even if you do not have insurance. For the return flight, I went to a pharmacy in Florence and got a rapid test for 22 Euro. I did have to make an appointment a few days in advance. We were also given a temporary Green Pass that was good for 48 hours, which was convenient for our last couple of days.

Posted by
14 posts

My wife is concerned that she read somewhere the test result needed to be printed. Is anyone finding that to be the case?

Posted by
41 posts

Just to clarify- flying to Italy on Lufthansa thru Germany- is the Rapid Antigen test ok? 48 or 72 hours?
Thinking of also getting PCR too- what is the thought in both or a waste?
Bought Binax to do in hotel for way back.
Thanks for thoughts!

Posted by
17 posts

We had free rapid tests through Walgreens in Wi. I believe it was covered through state/gov’t and not run through my insurance.

Walgreens screening form includes a question about living in an area with community spread which I believe qualifies us for testing.

Posted by
5 posts

Here in Florida you can get the PCR or Rapid for free at Walgreen's or CVS.. They are scheduling appointments 3 days out.

Posted by
105 posts

@psteiner1, I'm doing the Binax on the outbound as well. As far as i'm concerned, its a swab test and an antigen test. Meets the requirements a safe as I can tell.

Posted by
4 posts

My husband and I just got back from two weeks in Italy. We live in Utah so a test was free going there so we did that. However, we purchased the binax home monitored tests for our flight back in and they were easy to use and no problem with the airline accepting digital results. Honestly, we are vaccinated and left for Italy on September 4 right as the rules were changing and not even the airline had checked our test results only the vaccination cards that had to be uploaded. We had a layover in Frankfurt and they only asked for our vaccination cards and didn’t check our test results as we were worried about the 48 hour test window as well but had zero issues. Our CDC cards worked just fine to get into all museums and ride the train, but they were checked everywhere. Also, leave extra time airport coming back. We went super early and waited over an hour to checkin because of the test check etc.. and it’s Italy they don’t really move in the most organized manner. 😀 Hope that helps.

Posted by
28 posts

We got our test today so I thought I’d update my original post. We chose an urgent care center (Care Now) and paid $139. We picked Care Now because they listed testing for American Airlines international travel specifically on their website and we thought it would most easily integrate with American’s process. CVS was the same price. We ended up with the rapid antigen test which takes 20 minutes so you leave with the results. Our 20 minute test took 90 minutes with most of that time taken up with the staff trying to figure out the correct paperwork. We could hear the staff discussing it and heard them get on the phone with someone to ask questions. It turns out their American Airlines international travel testing doesn’t include Italy! The nurse finally came back to the exam room and told us we were negative (whew!) and that they had gotten on the Italian embassy website to check the requirements.

I was a little concerned about the sufficiency of the documentation but the staff assured us it had worked for others. There was no QR code. We uploaded it to Verifly but it was not accepted the first try due to an issue with the time the test was taken. It turns out our results only had the time for the results and not the time of collection. We had to choose that the test time was not shown on our results which caused it to default to 8 am. After making that change, our results were accepted by Verifly but our cushion in the event of delay shrunk from 12 hours to 6.

It looks like we are good to go for our Thursday departure! I’m a little less anxious about the trip now that we have a negative test but won’t fully relax until we get to Spello and have a glass of wine at Enoteca Properzio.

Posted by
52 posts

I called our insurance company today and they said they would not cover tests for travel purposes. Guess we’ll do the CVS tests for $139 each. I saw in another topic that people were using the Binax tests for outbound travel without a problem but not sure it’s worth taking a chance.

Diana

Posted by
926 posts

I am flying on Delta next week to Italy. I went to their website and called them to confirm that they accept (and sell) the Binax home rapid tests going to Italy and coming back to the US. I ordered a six pack for $150 and they were delivered yesterday.

Posted by
1 posts

I'm heading to Rome on United Airlines in two days. I used the Abbott Binax/emed at home test that was recommended by United. Cost for 2 tests is $69.99. I took the test this morning, within the 72 hour arrival window. The process was very simple, the online proctors walk you through all of the steps. After getting my negative test result, I uploaded a pdf copy of the result to United's travel-ready center. Within a few minutes I received an alert that the document had been accepted!
This was a huge relief. Based on some recent posts, I had been concerned that I would need to rush to find an alternative test. At least in my case, the test worked flawlessly. I plan on using the same procedures prior to my return flight to the US.

Posted by
10 posts

Ellume home test with Azova supervision. $43 total from drugstore. Results in 15 minutes. Rapid antigen. Used it for trip to Iceland last month and worked great

Posted by
222 posts

My head is swimming with the requirements for entry into FCO. This is the latest information from the American Airlines website, as of October 6, regarding requirements to enter Rome FCO. I thought testing was required within 72 hours of entry, but now it reads 48 hours. Considering my non-stop 10 hour flight and time at the airport, that really cuts the testing and results to 33 hours.
It also states OR testing, so does that mean if proof of vaccination is presented, no testing is required?

"Travelers are only allowed to access the security area of Rome FCO airport upon presentation of COVID-19 Green Pass certification or equivalent (EU Digital certificate, proof of vaccination, proof of recovery, or negative COVID-19 test results performed in the previous 48 hours)."

Posted by
28 posts

Alohalover,

I’m not sure where you are seeing that information on AA but it is outdated. The current rule is proof of vaccination plus negative test 72 hours prior to entry. I’m not sure what type rapid test is being offered by Walgreens which is why we ruled them out. CVS and a local urgent care center offered the rapid antigen test and we ended up at the urgent care center with CVS as the backup. If you haven’t downloaded the VeriFLY app, you should. The app is not great but tells you exactly what is needed and your results are accepted in advance. You should try to get results that include the time of collection (not time of results) or VeriFLY will default to 8 am of the test day which could cut into your 72 hour window. Once everything is uploaded to VeriFLY, you only have to show the VeriFLY pass to AA which streamlines check in.

The whole testing regime is a headache but we’ve been in Italy for eight days now and it was certainly worth the effort.

Posted by
28 posts

Alohalover,

I just realized you might be looking at the requirements for non US passengers on the AA website. USA, Canada and Japan have special rules so make sure you are looking at the requirements specifically for the US and not travelers generally.

Posted by
222 posts

Grazie Mille, MichaelB for your replies to my concerns. Your info is really helpful, especially about CVS, where I will go, and Verifly. Glad to read you are having a marvelous time. Buon viaggio!

Posted by
52 posts

We’re connecting from United to Lufthansa in Frankfurt on our way to Venice. Neither airline will clarify if the Binax proctored antigen tests are acceptable. Lufthansa said they’ll email the requirements 3-4 days prior to flight. Not helpful since we’ll be traveling by then! We have appointments at CVS but they are for the PCR tests and I’m concerned about getting the results in time. Has anyone who has flown to Italy using both airlines had an issue with the Binax tests being accepted?

Posted by
5966 posts

@Diana, you might want to repost your question as a new thread as it comes on the tail end of an old thread and many people wont see it. You might want to also take a look at the COVID-19 forum as many similar questions have been asked. But events and requirements keep changing in the meantime. Around here, CVS (and many other places) can also do the rapid antigen test, not just the PCR.