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I Don’t Have Insurance. Can I Still Get Tested For Coronavirus?

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Medical workers at Kaiser Permanente French Campus test a patient for the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, at a drive-thru testing facility in San Francisco, on March 12, 2020. (Josh Edelson/Getty Images)
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We’re asking public health officials and experts to answer your questions about the COVID-19 pandemic. Keep in mind that this information does not constitute professional medical advice. For questions regarding your own health, always consult a physician.

An anonymous audience member has been exhibiting symptoms similar to those commonly associated with COVID-19, and they wanted to know: “I don't have insurance at the moment since I don’t have a job yet. Can I get tested?”

Here’s an explanation from Annette Sy, chief nursing officer at Keck Medical Center. She’s working with the hospital’s command center to help prepare it for the COVID-19 outbreak:

“Their options are still to reach out to their care provider. To understand better if they need to be tested or not, is the first thing they should do. I would start first with your care provider. Call in… many care providers are doing telemedicine visits. They will screen you at that point to see what symptoms you’re having. Many patients with COVID-19 can be cared for at home. If you can speak to the doctor or the nurse over the phone, [then] maybe they can set up a telemedicine visit for you and start with that… Many physicians and facilities are not charging [for this service]. I can’t speak for everybody. But please just start off with your care provider.”

If you don’t have a health care provider, there is a limited pilot program operating in some areas around the state — the California community-based
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COVID-19 testing program. It’s a state-directed program in collaboration with Verily’s Project Baseline, and it aims to expand access to COVID-19 screening and testing for high-risk individuals. Currently it is operating only in Santa Clara, San Mateo, Sacramento and parts of Riverside County. More information here.

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