Covid: no more free tests from this October 15, how much do they cost? To whom do they apply?

Published by Graziella de Sortiraparis, Caroline de Sortiraparis · Published on October 15th, 2021 at 09:27 a.m.
PCR and antigenic tests – necessary for unvaccinated to get a valid health pass – will become charged starting from October 15, excluding medical prescriptions. How much will they cost, then and to whom do they apply? Keep reading to find out more.

This was one of the announcements made on July 12, PCR and antigenic tests will become charged starting from October 15, excluding if medically prescribed and in the event of contact-case. So far, although tests are 100% paid by the health insurance, things will change and may weigh on the unvaccinated’s budgets. As a matter of fact, one of these tests is necessary to get a health pass if one is not fully vaccinated.

Lionel Barrand, president of the national union trade for young medical biologists, tells Ouest France a PCR test costs €43 while the antigenic test costs between €20 and €25. He says the rate should not change past October 15. As for self-tests, available in pharmacies, they usually are sold for €5.20.

So, how much will these screening tests cost from October 15, 2021? According to several consistent sources shared by BFMTV and France Info, you will have to pay at least €22 for antigenic tests if performed in a laboratory, or between €25 and €30 for antigenic tests performed in pharmacies. As for PCR tests, they will cost €44. These rates will apply to adults who are not vaccinated and who would like to get tested without a prescription.

But, these tests will stay free of charge for young people, barely over the age of majority and still at high school, as well as non-vaccinated adults showing symptoms. In these cases, the latter must present a 48 hour-old prescription. Furthermore, if an antigenic test turns out positive, then a confirmation PCR test will free of charge too but only if performed within two days.

The other exceptions? Contact cases reported by the health insurance. For them, tests will stay free of charge as well. Same thing for people needing a test before a surgery or for those who have a vaccine medical contraindication.

For the record, Covid-19 screen tests will stay free for vaccinees showing symptoms or not. They will only have to present their health pass.

Visuel Paris - centre de dépistage - pharmacieVisuel Paris - centre de dépistage - pharmacieVisuel Paris - centre de dépistage - pharmacieVisuel Paris - centre de dépistage - pharmacie Covid: Tests will stay free of charge for vaccinated adults past October 15th
As France is preparing for a fifth coronavirus epidemic wave - expected to hit this Fall - the population has to comply with the health pass now extended to many public places. Prime Minister Jean Castex also confirmed "comfort" screening tests will be charged from October 15, 2021... Before adding that only unvaccinated adults will have to pay for these tests if not prescribed by a doctor. [Read more]

Last but not least, €5.20 self-tests will no longer be reimbursed if performed in front of the pharmacist.

Making PCR and antigenic tests charged is one of the government’s wishes to prevent excesses and track people who have a prescription or who are a contact-case. But Barrand is worried about the measure’s contamination potential, the “testing, alerting, protecting” strategy being no longer relevant. For the record, a vaccinee no longer has to self-isolate if they are a contact-case, according to the government’s instructions.

In Europe, a PCR test costs between €40 and €190.

Practical information