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How COVID testing will work after the US health emergency ends in May

Here are some changes you can expect to see for obtaining at-home COVID-19 tests

The U.S. categorized COVID-19 as a public health emergency in early 2021. In addition to providing two shipments of free tests through the U.S. Postal Service, private insurers had to cover up to eight COVID-19 tests each month and other costs related to the process.

However, after the U.S. health emergency ends in May, obtaining free COVID-19 tests may be more difficult. The biggest impact will land on over-the-counter testing kits.

In this article: iHealth COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test, Celltrion DiaTrust COVID-19 Rapid Test and Flowflex COVID-19 Home Test

Testing for COVID-19 after the May deadline

At-home COVID-19 tests have become increasingly popular because of their versatility and ease of use. After the U.S. health emergency ends, household consumers may have to locate and purchase their own testing kits.

Testing for COVID-19 is extremely important if you’ve started developing COVID-19 symptoms, such as fever, cough and loss of taste/smell. If you’ve been exposed to somebody who tested positive for COVID-19 or work in an occupation where you may be regularly exposed to COVID-19, consider purchasing some testing kits as well. Understanding your results may help you seek treatment faster.

Rapid antigen tests typically consist of a testing tube, a collection swab and a test strip. Most instructions direct the user to swipe the swab on the inner walls of their nose, then insert it into the test tube and stir it. After that, users have to place drops of their sample in the test strip.

After this process, the testing strip will have some symbol that you either tested positive, negative or that the test was invalid, meaning that you may have performed one of the tests incorrectly. No matter the result, it is helpful to try again and check your results.

When purchasing an at-home testing kit, you may want to check to see what portion your insurance covers. Those still enrolled in the Medicaid program for low-income individuals and families will continue to receive free tests until late 2024.

Finally, make sure to check the FDA website to see the current list of authorized tests to make sure you’re buying from a reputable source. Here are some examples of reputable rapid COVID-19 tests.

Best at-home COVID-19 tests

iHealth COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test

The iHealth COVID-19 test is accompanied by a mobile app that tracks results on a regular basis, making it an excellent way to keep health records on your family or team. It’s self-administered and provides results within 15 minutes.

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Siemens Rapid COVID-19 Antigen Self-Test

The Siemens self-tests arrive in a full set of five, which can serve those hoping to stock up on kits or use them regularly. It’s FDA-approved and sensitive to several strains of the COVID-19 virus, including the Delta and Omicron variants.

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BinaxNOW COVID-19 Antigen Self Test

You may have seen the BinaxNOW tests on the shelves of your local pharmacy, as they currently serve as the #1 self-test kit in the U.S. They arrive in a set of nasal swabs that users can apply to themselves or their children.

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Celltrion DiaTrust COVID-19 Rapid Test

With clear labels and detailed instructions, the DiaTrust rapid test kits have a user-friendly process that can be applied in your home. It’s designed with soft and noninvasive swabs to decrease the risk of irritation.

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ON/Go COVID-19 Antigen Self-Test

These antigen COVID-19 tests have been cleared for home operation for ages 14 years and older. It arrives with a mobile app that guides you through the process. It also tracks your history and shares your results with close ones.

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Flowflex COVID-19 Home Test

Authorized for home use, the Flowflex COVID-19 antigen home test is straightforward and reliable. The slim package makes it effortless to store, so users can keep it on hand for regular check-ins or emergencies.

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Quidel QuickVue At-Home COVID-19 Test

This COVID-19 test requires fewer than 15 minutes of your time to fully display the results. It has clearly instructions on how to read positive, negative and invalid results without having to use an external guide or app.

Sold by Amazon

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Ayurda Pathak writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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