The PCR test is the best way to know if you are carrying the Covid-19 and thus be able to limit its spread. It has become mandatory to travel abroad, the countries that request it are more and more numerous. Some countries require a negative PCR test valid for up to 72 hours before departure, others will give you a PCR test when you arrive. How much does a PCR test cost in France ? What difference in PCR tests price exists between countries ?
What is the PCR test for ?
Le test PCR détermine si vous êtes actuellement infecté par le virus, au moment où vous faites le test. Il permet de savoir si vous êtes contagieux ou non. Les délais d’obtention du résultat sont variables selon les laboratoires. Il faut compter 24H à plusieurs jours. Faire un test PCR est très vivement conseillé si vous avez des symptômes (fièvre, toux, maux de tête, fatigue) ou si vous êtes un cas contact (avoir été en contact rapproché avec une personne atteinte ou potentiellement atteinte). The PCR test is the first test performed, before the serological test.
How much does a PCR test cost in France ?
The majority of laboratories do not charge an advance fee for a PCR test because it is fully covered by Medicare. So you don’t have to pay anything. However, the laboratory where you will be testing may ask for an advance fee, even if it is reimbursed in full. Check with the lab to find out if they are asking for it. The PCR test still has a cost of between 54 and 70 euros for city laboratories. It includes the gross cost of the reagent, quality controls, labour costs for sample and test preparation stages, biological validation time and test interpretation.
What are the other Covid-19 tests?
The serological test is also a possibility. This is a blood test that indicates if you have enough antibodies, which may indicate that you have already been in contact with the virus. However, the serological test is less telling because it does not clearly indicate whether you have Covid-19 or not, unlike the PCR test. You can find quick serological tests sold in pharmacies without a prescription. For this type of test, it takes between 15 and 25 euros in France. If you have a prescription and the serological test is carried out in a laboratory or hospital in France, it takes 12.15 euros for an ELISA test (by blood test) and 9.45 for a quick test. In these cases, the test is reimbursed 100% by the Health Insurance. To find out where to do your PCR test near you, you can visit the Santé.fr website. It lists all hospitals, laboratories and screening centres in France that offer the PCR test. To limit contact and therefore contamination, you can also be tested as a drive directly from your car. Drivecovid.fr lists all the screening centres that are accessible in a drive.
What if my PCR test is positive?
If your PCR test results are positive, you will need to be placed in isolation at home until you are healed. Of course, it will not be possible for you to travel. A health services survey will be conducted to trace the possible contact cases in your surroundings to encourage them to get tested. If you are negative, you have not been in contact with the virus. You can resume your life course as normal, unless indicated by the certified persons who have supervised your test. Of course, stay alert.
Does Mondassur insurance support PCR or serological tests for Covid-19?
It depends on the insurance you take out and the context of your test. For Mondassur travel insurance, this type of preventive testing will not be covered.
For more comprehensive insurance such as GoldExpat expat insurance, Covid-19 tests are covered by your policy from the moment you have a medical prescription where you have an obligation to be tested.
How and where to take a PCR test before travelling or moving abroad?
Before you leave and before you even make an appointment to get tested, find out about the precise instructions of the country in which you want to go. The guidelines and timelines for negative PCR tests are different depending on the destination. Ideally, schedule an appointment several weeks before your departure so that the laboratory can assure you a result valid up to 72 hours before your departure. Some countries require a negative PCR test with a maximum result of 3 days. This is also generally the case for airlines for boarding. Depending on the country, to obtain a visa, a negative PCR test may be requested or a negative result of a serological test or a rapid diagnostic orientation test (TROD). However, as mentioned earlier, this may change depending on the country and the airlines, hence the need to check with them upstream. To perform a PCR test, it is the same procedure: go to a medical laboratory, a hospital or a temporary collection point. To speed up the process, make an appointment by first asking what their conditions, deadlines, fares and availability are and specifying that you need them to fly. Take a copy of your plane ticket to your appointment and say it’s urgent to be a priority. Once you have received your results, make sure that the result date is within the maximum 3 days from the day of boarding.
Is the price of the PCR test different in different countries?
The price of a PCR test will be different depending on the country. Here are some examples of countries in Europe, Asia, America and the East. If you identify yourself with one of these countries, we still advise you to check with the authorities of your host country about the procedure to follow if you want to be tested, and about the current price of the test. Regardless of the country, health care costs abroad are always high even after currency conversion. To avoid spending a fortune on health care, Mondassur can cover you with its international health insurance that covers the risks associated with epidemics, including Covid-19.
North and South America
In the United States, all medical services are paid for. Even if you have local health insurance, it will only reimburse you for a portion of your expenses. You will have to pay the rest of the costs which remain very high. The price of a PCR test in the US varies greatly depending on the city, state and laboratory where you are tested. This can range from $40 to more than $400, with $400 no longer a reasonable amount. It should be noted that these prices correspond to the PCR test alone, and do not take into account other costs associated with a doctor’s visit, medication or emergency room visit.
In Quebec (Canada region), health care costs are also very high. As Canada borders the United States, there are many similarities in how they operate, including health, drug and hospital costs. For the PCR test, the costs vary depending on the laboratory that studies the samples For example, in the Health Travel L’Escale clinic, it costs between C$120 and $200. At the Med Future Clinic, count C$215 for a clinical PCR test and $185 Canadian for a clinical serological test. At the Med Future Clinic, booking is made online and group prices are available for corporations. Add to the price of the test the cost of an appointment with the general practitioner, hospitalization, or any other additional costs.
In Latin America
Prices are very different depending on the country. In some countries the PCR test is free, but not all. The test is particularly expensive when it is carried out in private laboratories. In any case, check with the Ministry of Health or the local authorities of the country in which you live to avoid unpleasant surprises. Here are some examples of South American countries:
In Argentina, PCR tests are done free of charge. The country’s Ministry of Health is increasing the number of laboratories authorized to carry out the tests.
In Brazil, the National Complementary Health Agency (ANS) has made the PCR test mandatory for beneficiaries of health plans. Thus, people who have health insurance have nothing to pay to get tested. If you do not have health insurance, check with the appropriate authorities.
In Chile, the PCR test is free in public institutions. In the private sector, on the other hand, it will cost 60,000 Chilean pesos or about US$75 to get tested. The Chilean government still wants to set a limit because according to the newspaper La Tercera de Santiago, the laboratories would charge the PCR test four times too much. For this reason, the Government has set a ceiling of 25,000 Chilean pesos, or about US$31.
In Ecuador, private laboratories can perform the PCR test for a price of about US$120. One of the labs, Interlab, treats patients either with supplies from the public health system and social services charged US$80, or with supplies from a private doctor charged US$120. In Guayaquil, where 70% of people have an infection, the health system has collapsed and the inhabitants have decided to carry out their OWN PCR test.
In Uruguay, the Ministry of Public Health provides free PCR tests. In the private sector, 6,000 Uruguayan pesos, or about US$141, will be needed. Please note that the sample should be taken at the price of the test. Ask for the final price when you show up or make an appointment.
In Paraguay, the Ministry of Health also provides free tests. Otherwise, the two laboratories San Roque and Curie were authorized to do the PCR test for a price of about US$100.
In the Dominican Republic, the price of a PCR laboratory test is about 5,500 Dominican pesos, or about US$94.
Finally, in Mexico, private laboratories charge up to 3,400 Mexican pesos for detection of Coronavirus, or about US$158. This is the case, for example, of the Olarte and Biomedical laboratories in Referencia. The latter had been suspended by the Ministry of Health until it met the necessary conditions to carry out the tests.
As far as Europe is concerned, prices are also very different in different countries. Here are some examples of countries:
In Belgium, the government has decided to make the PCR test free for all patients, whether people with no symptoms, people with symptoms of Covid-19 or people at risk.
In Germany, the PCR test is free if it is requested by a doctor or a local health office or when the person has the symptoms of Covid-19. However, to get the results within 24 hours you will have to pay 172 euros. Private centres charge for the PCR test and prices vary depending on the centre. For example, tests run by the prestigious Charité Hospital in Berlin have a fairly high cost estimated between 200 and 300 euros per unit. This price only includes development and production, but does not take into account the costs of administering by qualified health personnel.
In Italy, in the province of Lazio (Rome), the PCR test costs about 13 euros. In other provinces of the country, if you go through the private health care system, the price of a PCR test ranges from 50 to 80 euros. In Lombardy (Milan) and Emilia-Romagna (Bologna), the price of a PCR test can reach 130 euros.
In Spain, a PCR test is charged between 130 and 240 euros. It is possible to be tested in the laboratory, in screening centres and in hospitals. However, if you are an expatriate in Spain, please check with the relevant authorities to find out more about the test and pricing conditions.
In the UK, private companies offer clinical or home trials to speed up the process. The price can still be up to 350 euros for a test performed by a health professional. For example, the London Doctors Clinic sends people who request it a test kit with a ready-to-use swab directly at home for a total of $189 including postage. This kit allows to have the results within 3 days of sending the test back to the clinic. Assured Screening, a pharmaceutical company based in County Durham, offers the same type of test at home, or in the Barnard Castle test centre, for 109 euros. The Private Harley Street Clinic website also offers swab kits to order and delivered directly to your home for $250. A consultation by a home health professional will cost 350 euros. According to the company, the results are provided between 20 and 48 hours after referral. Other laboratories and clinics offer the same type of services: DocTap for 129 euros ($15 for a professional consultation), Doctorcall for 160 euros ($157 for a visit to the doctor), CityDoc for 175 euros, London Global Practice for 315 euros, Medinow for 125 euros and Private Coronavirus Tests for 149 euros.
Other examples of countries
In China, the price of a PCR test varies by province and private hospitals or not. In some provinces, the price can be 40 yuan (about 5 euros) up to 270 yuan in others (about 34 yuan). For example, in Beijing, a PCR test costs 120 yuan, or about 15 euros. If you choose a private hospital, you will have to pay between 400 and 600 yuan or between 50 and 75 euros.
In Russia, it is possible to be tested with or without symptoms. The health system in Russia is universal, but if you don’t have a health card you can also get tested. In a private laboratory with results within 24 hours, the price of a PCR test is about 2,000 rubles or about 22 euros.
The United Arab Emirates is also a country with a very strict policy regarding Coronavirus. However, the Dubai Health Authority has decided to reduce the price of a PCR test. Its aim is to make it more accessible to the population to encourage them to do so in order to be more proactive and to put in place measures adapted to the situation. The PCR test was initially charged 370 AED per person or about 85 euros, it is revalued at 250 AED per person or about 57 euros. The Clemenceau Medical Center offers to do the home test with a health professional for an additional 200 AEDs, or about 46 euros.
No matter which country you are in or in which country you want to emigrate, it is now essential to do a PCR test (and that it is negative if you are on departure). Tariffs vary widely across countries, health policies in different countries and the trade policies of doctors and laboratories.
It is advisable for a person living abroad to take out international health insurance covering this type of Covid-19 tests. Mondassur insurance pays for epidemics such as Covid-19. A good solution to save you time, money and energy.