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VERIFY: Does the Coronavirus test really cost $3,000?

It's a claim that's gone viral. But is it true? The Verify team reached out to the experts to find out the truth.

WASHINGTON — Question: 

Does the Coronavirus test really cost $3,000?


No. Only two agencies have been cleared to distribute the test, and both told the Verify team that the tests are free. The Kaiser Family Foundation gave some context to explain where the rumor began. 


The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention

The New York Department of Health

The Food and Drug Administration

The Kaiser Family Foundation


It's a claim that has been seen by thousands online. 

In a now-deleted tweet, one person claimed that the U.S. was charging $3,000 for the tests that would detect coronavirus. Despite the fact that it's since been removed from Twitter, the claim continues to spread. 

"I read it costs $3,000 to get a #CoronaVirus test," one person wrote. "The average American doesn't have that." 

To find the truth, the Verify team reached out to the Food and Drug Administration. The agency said that only two groups have been given "Emergency Use Authorization" to develop and distribute tests.

Those two groups are The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention and the New York State Department of Health. Both agencies said they are not aware of any charging for the test. 

"New York state is covering the cost of the testing for COVID-19," wrote the spokesperson for New York's DOH. 

Meanwhile, the CDC wrote that their test kits are distributed to various laboratories, and the decision of whether to charge is made by the individual states. 

"We do not know of any state public health labs currently charging for testing," a CDC spokesperson wrote on Wednesday." 

To find out where this rumor might have started, The Verify team reached out to Jen Kates, the Senior Vice President of Global Health and HIV Policy at Kaiser Family Foundation. 

"A lot of people get surprise medical bills," she said. "So, it’s not the tests, it’s the other things surrounding the test."

That could be ambulance costs, doctor fees or other treatments at the hospital. But she emphasized the tests are completely free. 

"So far the test does not have a cost," she said. "And it's probably not going to be an expensive test."

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