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Consumer Alert: Fend off Unnecessary COVID-19 Test Costs

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

As the need for COVID-19 testing remains high, our office’s Consumer Protection Division has received several complaints of unexpected charges for a test. Remember to be sure you are clear on what you are agreeing to before you incur charges.

Here’s how to avoid a surprise charge while getting a COVID-19 test:

  • Get tested at one of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Service’s No-Cost Community Testing Events. NCDHHS is offering more than 360 free testing events across North Carolina.
  • If possible, get your test at a public testing site. Sometimes, private clinics or hospitals charge patients a “facility fee” that can amount to more money than the test itself. If you’re getting tested at a private site or a doctor’s office, ask if you’ll be charged for other services or tests.
  • If you’re ordering an at-home test, remember that free options are available through the state and federal governments. NCDHHS has partnered with LabCorp to make no-cost, at-home collection kits available if you are not able to go to a testing site. Learn more here. Additionally, you can order a set of four free at-home tests for your household through the federal government that will ship starting at the end of January.
  • If you need an expedited test, make sure to ask beforehand whether you will be charged a fee to expedite the test. If the fee seems excessive, notify our office and continue to shop around for a reasonable expedited test fee.
  • If you get an unexpected charge, call our office. Our consumer protection specialists can help North Carolinians seek relief and dispute charges if necessary.

Getting tested is important and helps us keep each other safe, but make sure you are protecting your personal information and money in the process. If you are experiencing COVID-19 like symptoms, please stay home and talk with a health care professional. You can find more information about the virus, vaccines, and tests at https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/. If you believe that you have been the victim of a scam, contact our office’s Consumer Protection Division at ncdoj.gov/file-a-complaint or 1-877-5-NO-SCAM.