Updated: October 27, 2020 1:38:32 pm
The Maharashtra government has further slashed the prices of Covid-19 tests, which will now cost less than Rs 1,000. For the fourth time, the Uddhav Thackeray-led government Monday reduced rates, which have now seen a four-fold decrease since March when tests were priced at around Rs 4,500.
The real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test now costs Rs 980 for anyone who walks into a laboratory, Rs 1,400 for samples collected from Covid-19 care centres, hospitals, or dispensaries, and Rs 1,800 if the swab is collected from home.
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has left it to state governments to decide the cost of Covid-19 tests. In most government facilities, Covid-19 testing is free. Here’s a look at how much the tests cost in states across India:
In an order dated October 16, the Karnataka government fixed the rates for Covid-19 tests at Rs 800 for a government referred RT-PCR sample to a private lab; Rs 1,200 for privately given samples to private labs; and Rs 1,600 for samples collected at home and given to private labs. The government said the ceiling rates fixed included screening and confirmatory tests, as well as the cost of personal protective equipment (PPE) kits.
The Kerala government has reduced rates of RT-PCR (open) tests to Rs 2,100. It was earlier Rs 2,750. The GeneXpert tests have been revised to Rs 2,500 from the previous Rs 3,000. Tru-nat, which used to be Rs 3,000, is now Rs 2,100. Antigen tests remain the same at Rs 625.
In July, the Andhra Pradesh government fixed the price of Covid-19 tests for samples tested at both government and private clinics. The rapid antigen test at private labs costs not more than Rs 750, including the kit, PPR and manpower costs.
The sample of patients who test negative but are symptomatic have to be sent to tied-up VRDL Labs for retesting by a RT-PCR machine. In such a case, the patient should not be charged more than Rs 2,800 per sample.
The Telangana government has capped RT-PCR tests for private centres at Rs 2,200 for samples collected at labs or hospitals. Samples collected from home are Rs 2,800.
The West Bengal government, in a “puja gift” in early October, reduced the price of Covid-19 tests in the private sector from Rs 2,250 to Rs 1,500.
Covid-19 testing in all government facilities is free. However, since September, the government has introduced an option of paid RT-PCR tests in Sarusajai Stadium in Guwahati and certain government medical colleges for those who want their test results on an urgent basis i.e., within the time-frame of 24 hours. The rate is fixed at Rs 2,200 per test, but authorities said it is likely to go down. For those who prefer results on a non-urgent basis, testing remains free.
The Meghalaya government withdrew free testing facilities from October 16. Currently, the Rapid Antigen Test costs Rs 500 and RT-PCR and Tru-NAT tests are pegged at Rs 3,200. However, the fees are applicable only on case to case basis — BPL families are exempt as are high-risk contacts of those who tested positive and those in containment zones.
The Gujarat government in September slashed the rates of RT-PCR tests conducted by private laboratories by Rs. 1,000. The charges currently are Rs 1,500, down from Rs 2,500. Similarly, the charges for getting the samples for the test collected at home by laboratory technicians have been fixed at Rs 2,000 which were Rs 3,000 till date.
The government is encouraging people to take the Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) free of cost at stations set up across the state.
In June, the Rajasthan government had fixed limits to the extent to which private laboratories and hospitals in the state could charge patients for Covid-19 tests along with treatment for the disease. According to that notification, the limit at private laboratories was Rs 2,200.
The cost of an RT-PCR test in Tamil Nadu is Rs 1,500 for the beneficiaries of the Chief Minister’s Comprehensive Health Insurance Scheme. It is Rs 2,000 for non-beneficiaries, and an additional amount of Rs 500 will be charged for both the beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries for sample collection at doorstep.
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