What will cost be when free Covid tests end in France on October 15?

Experts predict that the number of tests administered will fall by up to 80% when they become payable

7 October 2021

‘Comfort’ Covid tests will be payable for every adult in France from October 15 Pic: Marian Weyo / Shutterstock

By Emma Morgan

Payable PCR tests in France will cost €44 when free testing comes to an end on October 15. 

Public service media Franceinfo is reporting the rate and also says the price of antigen tests will be €22 at a laboratory and €25 at a pharmacy. This cost will rise to €30 on a Sunday. 

This information is expected to be officially confirmed by the government today (October 7). 

These rates are comparable to costs currently incurred by foreign nationals needing to get tested in France, which are meant to be set at €43.89 for a PCR test and €25 for an antigen test, according to French state health insurance website ameli.com, however in practice we have heard of some people being charged a few euros more than this by some pharmacies and test centres. 

Self-testing kits will be €5.20 when carried out under the supervision of a health professional such as a pharmacist, an essential requirement if they are to be used for a health pass. 

The pharmacist will enter the test result into the national database Système d’informations de DEPistage (SI-DEP), which will generate a certificate complete with a TousAntiCovid-compatible QR code. 

Self-administered test results are not valid for foreign travel. 

A sharp drop in tests administered is predicted

Experts predict that the number of Covid tests being carried out will fall dramatically after October 15. 

“The drop will be very abrupt, totalling about 80%,” said Dr François Blanchecotte, president of the medical biologists’ union Syndicat national des biologistes médicaux. 

“We have remained at a very high level [of testing],” he added. “Last week, 3.5 million tests were carried out: 1 million PCR and 2.5 million antigen tests. 

“[But] people are not going to pay €44 for each test.” 

Who will have to pay after October 15? 

Unvaccinated adults will have to pay for all tests unless they have a doctor’s prescription from the last 48 hours mandating the need to take one. This includes people who must take a test before undergoing an operation. 

Otherwise, people who are not fully vaccinated will be charged even if they are experiencing Covid symptoms. 

Read more: Covid tests for travel no longer free in France from October 15

People who are exempt from receiving the Covid vaccine must present a letter from their doctor attesting to their contraindication in order to access free tests for medical reasons. 

Vaccinated adults carrying out Covid tests will be reimbursed by the Assurance Maladie when taking them for medical reasons, with or without prescription. 

However, ‘comfort’ tests taken for purposes such as foreign travel or reassurance will still be payable, even if you are vaccinated. 

All tests will be free for children and people who have just turned 18 but are still studying at a lycée. This is because tests will continue to be free in schools. 

Edited October 11 to clarify rules on current test costs for foreign visitors

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