Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) diagnostic tests

Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance)  covers FDA-authorized COVID-19 diagnostic tests (coverage could change when the public health emergency ends). 

Your costs in Original Medicare

You pay nothing for a diagnostic test during the COVID-19 public health emergency when you get it from a laboratory, pharmacy, doctor, or hospital, and when Medicare covers this test in your local area.

Medicare now covers up to 8 over-the-counter COVID-19 tests each calendar month, at no cost to you. 

  • This coverage continues until the COVID-19 public health emergency ends.
  • Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) will cover these tests if you have Part B. (Medicare won’t cover over-the-counter COVID-19 tests if you only have Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) coverage, but you may be able to get free tests through other programs or insurance coverage you may have.)
  • If you’re in a Medicare Advantage Plan, you won’t get this benefit through your plan, but will get it like you would if you weren’t enrolled in the plan.  
  • You might need to show your red, white, and blue Medicare card to get your free over-the-counter COVID-19 tests (even if you have another card for a Medicare Advantage Plan or Medicare Part D plan).

What it is

These tests check to see if you have COVID-19. In some circumstances, a home health nurse, laboratory technician, or an appropriately-trained medical assistant may collect your specimen in your home for this test.

Things to know

You can get the covered tests at any participating eligible pharmacy or health care provider at no cost to you, even if you aren’t a current customer or patient.

Find a partial list of pharmacies participating in the Medicare COVID-19 Over-the-Counter (OTC) tests initiative. Go to the pharmacy website or call the relevant pharmacy for details on participating locations and how to order.

How else you can get free COVID-19 tests

You can access low-to-no-cost COVID-19 tests through healthcare providers at over 20,000 free community-based testing sites nationwide.
Protect yourself from scams. Don’t share your personal or financial information if someone calls you promising free at-home tests.


Medicare Advantage Plans can’t charge copayments, deductibles, or coinsurance for clinical lab tests to detect or diagnose COVID-19.

  • When tests are available for you in your state, Medicare covers and you pay nothing for:
    • Tests to diagnose or aid the diagnosis of COVID-19
    • Some tests for related respiratory conditions to aid diagnosis of COVID-19 done together with the COVID-19 test
  • Medicare covers these tests at different locations, including some “parking lot” test sites.
  • Medicare also covers COVID-19 antibody tests, COVID-19 monoclonal antibody treatments, and COVID-19 vaccines.