Choosing a Test: Considering the Costs
Rapid tests tend to be more expensive than traditional tests. The current retail price of rapid HIV tests is $14 to $26 per unit. Of course, this price can be significantly lower when tests are purchased in large volumes or through other purchasing arrangements. For example, some health departments have purchased test kits and then redistributed them to testing venues throughout the state or locality, including hospitals. Other programs, such as the federal 340B Drug Pricing Program, make devices and drugs on their formulary available to qualified hospitals at a discounted rate. Products in the 340B Prime Vendor Program are available at even further reduced rates.
In some states, Medicaid is creating new codes for facilities to bill separately for rapid HIV tests. Some private insurers are also evaluating their HIV testing reimbursement policies. As payers devise better reimbursement policies to support routine HIV testing, hospital-based testing can prioritize the use of free or discounted test kits for patients without insurance.
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