Available in Austin: Testing for COVID-19 (FAQs)
Nov 01, 2020
Remedy offers several options for COVID-19 testing including rapid antigen, lab-tested PCR, and antibody. We do NOT currently offer rapid PCR testing, such as those commonly needed for travel clearance.
All of our COVID-19 testing options are done from the comfort of your home and we dispatch a care provider for collection. NOTE: Insurance does not cover COVID-19 testing if you do not have symptoms and/or if you have not been exposed to person who had a positive COVID-19 test in the last 14 days. Remedy will bill for asymptomatic testing visits in full, and our lab partners will bill you directly for the lab work itself.
What types of testing are available?
Remedy offers different types of testing based on patient history and symptoms:
PATIENTS EXPERIENCING SYMPTOMS OR ILLNESS
For those with active symptoms and/or with a known exposure to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 14 days, we can perform a rapid antigen test with same-day results OR send out a PCR test with a 4-6 day turnaround time, based on current lab timing.
PATIENTS WITHOUT SYMPTOMS OR ILLNESS
1. For those who have had direct exposure (defined by the CDC) with a confirmed COVID-19 case, a send out PCR test is available with a turnaround time of 4-6 days through our lab partners.
2. For those who need COVID testing without a known exposure to a COVID-positive individual, send out PCR testing is available, but insurance will not cover this service. Patient is responsible for the cost of visit/evaluation and service fee with Remedy and will also receive a bill from our lab partners for the test.
3. For those needing diagnostic evaluation of a prior illness, antibody testing is available as a send out lab.
Why does Remedy offer different tests?
There are three types of tests available for COVID-19: polymerase chain reaction (PCR), antigen, and antibody (serology) testing. PCR and antigen tests detect whether a person is currently infected, and serology detects whether a person had an infection in the past.
When looking for evidence of infection, there are two possible methods. One method is by looking for the virus’s RNA. The virus’s RNA is its genetic code (like our DNA). In the case of COVID-19, the nasal swab test looks for a segment of genetic code from the virus. This remains the optimal form of testing for cases of recent, active infection, and is a test that Remedy has been performing for months. This is what PCR testing does, and is considered by many to be the "gold standard."
Antigen testing is slightly different, although sample collection is obtained the same way, by nasal swab, for those with symptoms. Antigen tests look for pieces of proteins that make up the SARSCoV-2 virus to locate evidence of active infection. Antigen testing can sometimes be less sensitive than PCR tests.
Another way of looking for infection is to look for antibodies. Antibodies are produced by our body’s immune system in response to an infection. Presence of the antibodies is an indirect marker of infection either currently or in the past.
It's important to remember that it takes time for the body to develop antibodies. In the first 5-10 days of symptoms, only 50% of COVID-19 patients test positive for antibodies. Waiting two weeks from symptom onset ensures that the test is more than 95% accurate.
Can I be tested with an antibody test if I currently have COVID-19 symptoms?
Though antibodies are created as soon as an infection hits the body, the current available antibody test available does not test for these early antibodies. Consequently, we do not recommend antibody testing if you are currently experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, and your provider may instead recommend an alternate form of testing, like a PCR (nasal swab) designed to detect active infection.
What if I no longer have symptoms?
If you've fully recovered from symptoms suggestive of a respiratory infection, we're happy to perform a test for exposure. In order to achieve the most accurate results, we'll work to determine the appropriate amount of time has passed.
What does this cost? What about insurance?
Getting a test with Remedy has two simple parts - a quick, 24/7 video visit with a board-certified provider, and then the actual test itself, performed via house call.
Remedy is in-network with most major insurers + Medicare, most of which have publicly committed covering the cost evaluations for suspected active COVID-19 coronavirus infection. As noted above, insurers are currently not covering asymptomatic COVID-19 testing.
PCR and antibody tests are run by separate laboratories. At this time, most labs are billing patients directly and do not take insurance. If you're unsure, you should check with your insurer. Lab costs will vary based on lab partner.
Is this test FDA approved?
Remedy is currently offering PCR tests in partnership with nationally-recognized, high-complexity laboratories. The antigen test is performed on site with same day turnaround, using the Quidel Sofia test.
The FDA has allowed for use of these tests with an official Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). Official FDA language below.*
How can I get a test?
What if I need a test for travel, work or school reasons?
If testing is being sought for travel purposes, patients should consult the regulatory body or government site of the airline/transportation company and location to which they plan on traveling for testing requirements. For employment, school or other mandated reasons, please consult the issuing authority for their respective guidelines. If a PCR with a rapid result is required, Remedy’s lab test will not be appropriate. Our PCR test takes 3-5 days to result.
If I'm feeling better and test shows positive, should I assume I'm now immune and am safer in public?
This is a massive question, and one that we're still in the early stages of discovery on as it relates to immunity. You should absolutely discuss this with your provider, as information changes daily and each case can be unique. The best practice in light of "viral shedding" (contagiousness during period in which you have symptoms) has been to wait 10-14 days before resuming interpersonal contact. A positive test for antibodies against COVID-19 indicates that some element of immunity against the virus exists. Because we continue to learn more about this virus every day, we still recommend exercising caution because we cannot guarantee against a future infection after another exposure.
*This test is being reviewed by the FDA. Negative results do not rule out SARS-CoV-2 infection, particularly in those who have been in contact with the virus. Follow-up testing with a molecular diagnostic should be considered to rule out infection in these individuals. Results from antibody testing should not be used as the sole basis to diagnose or exclude SARS-CoV-2 infection or to inform infection status. Positive results may be due to past or present infection with non-SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus strains, such as coronavirus HKU1, NL63, OC43, or 229E.