Testing Resources

When COVID-19 Testing is Covered

  • Diagnostic tests for COVID-19: Covered with $0 cost share if you have symptoms or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 and you or your health care provider decide you need a test. These are tests that are administered by a health care provider and processed in a lab and are different than the at-home OTC tests.  
  • Test needed before a surgery or medical procedure: Covered with $0 cost share. Your health care provider will tell you where you should get a pre-surgical test.
  • Tests needed for screening purposes (return-to-school or work; travel; events). Not covered. Please read “When COVID-19 Testing is not covered” for important information.

This short video explains the difference between diagnostic and antibody testing.

Where to get a diagnostic test

  • The Federal Government it is providing 4 at-home tests for FREE for a limited time.
    • Visit COVIDTests.gov for details and to order.
    • People who have difficulty accessing the internet or need additional support placing an order can call 1-800-232-0233 (TTY 1-888-720-7489) to get help in English, Spanish, and more than 150 other languages – 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. E.T., Monday to Friday and 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. E.T. on weekends.
  • Lab testing is available at New York State or county testing sites, pharmacies, some doctor’s offices, urgent care centers, and participating hospitals. Contact your primary care provider’s office first.
  • Erie County Testing Sites:
    The ECDOH testing locations offer PCR and rapid testing.  For more information, including locations, hours of operation, guidance on which type of COVID-19 test is recommended and when to test, visit the ECDOH COVID-19 Testing website.
  • New York State Testing Sites
  • Other Counties: Check your county's health department website.
  • At-home, Over-the-Counter Test Kits are covered. Visit this page for details.

When COVID-19 Testing is not covered:

Independent Health does not cover COVID-19 testing for screening purposes, such as:

  • Test required by an employer, or to attend school (both students and staff) if the individual does not have symptoms or has not been exposed to COVID-19.
  • To attend events such as weddings, sports games, concerts, camps and other entertainment.
  • Tests needed for travel purposes (domestic and international, including Canada).
  • To participate in a sport or team activity.
  • Public health surveillance.

Members of our self-funded plans should contact us at (716) 631-2661 or 1-800-257-2753 for specific information about how their plans cover testing. The back of your member ID card indicates “Medical benefits administered by Nova.”

Where to get tested for screening purposes

Testing Information for School Students and their Parents or School Staff

Many schools now have testing on-site for students and staff. Contact your school district to see if this is available, or with local pharmacies and your doctor.

Erie County residents: the county offers rapid PCR testing accepted by schools.  Visit Erie.gov to make an appointment. 

Coverage for Antibody Testing

Antibody testing with an order or prescription from your health care provider is covered. (While CMS regulations do not require a provider’s order for Medicare Advantage members, we encourage providers to discuss the benefit of the test with those members.)

Test to Treat Program

COVID-19 Oral Antiviral Treatments and the Test to Treat Program

While vaccines continue to provide the best protection against COVID-19, oral antiviral treatments are now available to help treat eligible people who do get sick. These medications are oral antiviral pills, such as PAXLOVID (nirmatrelvir tablets; ritonavir tablets) and LAGEVRIO (molnupiravir).

  • The medications are currently authorized for the treatment of mild-to-moderate COVID-19 who are at risk for progression to severe COVID-19.
  • Individuals may be tested and treated by their own healthcare providers who can appropriately prescribe these oral antivirals at locations where they are being distributed. A positive COVID-19 test is required.
  • Members should check with their healthcare professional regarding whether they fall into that category and to assess if they have any other conditions that would preclude use of the antivirals.
  • The Federal Government also offers a Test to Treat program that provides access to COVID-19 treatment. The test-to-treat locations are limited locally.

Eligibility and Cost

Members with a commercial (employer or individual/group), state or Medicare plan can obtain treatments through Test to Treat at no cost. (Self-funded members should check with their plan administrator).

Test to Treat Resources, Locations, Information

For full details, including the process and where to find the participating locations, visit the Test to Treat government website.