Corona rapid test now subject to a charge: What you have to consider

Vaccination still free
Corona rapid tests are no longer free for everyone – these rules apply

Children between 12 and 17 years of age as well as pregnant women can take at least one test per week free of charge until the end of the year (symbol picture)

© Marius Becker / DPA

If you do not want to be vaccinated, you can continue to visit restaurants and events in many places with a current corona rapid test according to the 3G rules. But since Monday, tests often have to be paid for by the citizens themselves.

Without a vaccination, everyday corona has become more complicated for many – and also more expensive. Because rapid tests, which the non-vaccinated now often need to access restaurants or events, are no longer simply free for everyone from this week onwards. So it was announced several weeks in advance, now the time has come. This should also mean a practical incentive for people who are still hesitant: Tests become more tedious and now usually cost something, vaccinations do not. But there are also warnings.

What will change from Monday?

In the future, you will usually have to pay for quick tests by trained staff, including a certificate of results. They remain free for people who cannot be vaccinated. This is set out in an ordinance by Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU), which implements a federal-state resolution. Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) and the Prime Minister agreed in August that the offer, financed by the federal government since March, should end with free “citizen tests” for everyone without corona symptoms. Since free vaccinations are possible for everyone, taxpayers no longer have to assume the cost of the test on a permanent basis, the reason was said.

For whom exactly are there further free tests?

Some transitional rules are planned. Children from 12 to 17 years of age and pregnant women can take at least one test per week free of charge until December 31st. This is because the Standing Vaccination Commission (Stiko) has only recently had a general vaccination recommendation for them, so they should have more time for vaccinations. People who cannot get vaccinated for medical reasons generally continue to receive free tests. Likewise, children who have not yet reached the age of twelve or who only turned twelve in the three months before the test. Because there is still no vaccine for them. It remains free, among other things, for people who need a test to end a quarantine due to a corona infection.

What evidence do you need now for free tests?

In order to continue to receive free tests, you have to present an official ID with a photo to the test center – in the case of children, the age must also be proven. Extra evidence such as a doctor’s certificate is required if you cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons – according to the ministry, a diagnosis does not have to be given. The name, address and date of birth as well as information about the issuer of the certificate must be on it. The maternity card can be used to prove pregnancy.

And what should corona tests cost in the future?

The new market conditions have yet to show how expensive tests will be. Recently, supply and demand have decreased due to more and more vaccinations. For example, around 6,000 pharmacies were to be found on an information portal at times that were doing tests. According to the association, there are now 4400. In general, the costs for material, separate rooms and staff should be calculated. So far, providers have been paid 11.50 euros for each rapid test, and around 43 euros for more precise PCR tests. For self-payers, however, these are often more expensive – the more the faster the laboratory result comes. The federal government pointed out that employees in companies can be tested free of charge.

What are the arguments against paid tests?

The Green health expert Janosch Dahmen warned that the change would come too early. “Without free tests we will get fewer test results, more infections will go undetected,” he told the German press agency. “We’re running into a shadow pandemic.” Instead of eliminating free tests, they should be linked to the vaccination campaign. “Anyone who accepts vaccination advice should receive a free test in return.” Either way, the federal government has incurred considerable costs. Since the beginning of a separate recording of the “citizen tests” by the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians at the beginning of July, more than half a billion euros have been billed for it.

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