Skip to main content

Important Changes in COVID-19 Testing for Yale Health Members

With the PHE ending, what changes are ahead for COVID-19 testing and vaccination? Learn about Rapid Antigen / At Home Kits and PCR (Laboratory) testing updates. 

April 27, 2023

Important Changes in COVID-19 Testing for Yale Health Members

We hope this email finds you well and able to take advantage of the warmer weather and extended daylight hours.

As you may know, the federal government declared a Public Health Emergency (PHE) in January 2020, at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has been renewed every 90 days since. Now that COVID-19 treatments, vaccines, and measures to reduce the risk of spread are well-established and readily available, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently announced a plan to allow the PHE to expire on May 11, 2023.

Throughout the pandemic, Yale Health has been deeply committed to meeting our members’ needs for testing, vaccination, and timely treatment. That commitment remains firm, even as we make some changes to COVID-19 testing.

How does the PHE ending affect you and Yale Health?

First and foremost, ending the PHE does not mean that COVID-19 has gone away or that the measures to reduce risk are no longer needed. Rather, it signals that the federal government will discontinue some of the structures and funding that support those measures.

COVID-19 testing:  After May 11, the federal government will no longer supply or require health plans to reimburse for over-the-counter rapid antigen tests or PCR tests.

Rapid Antigen / At Home Kits

  • Yale Health continues to recommend at-home testing with rapid antigen test kits as a first choice when experiencing symptoms or in other recommended situations.
  • Rapid antigen kits will be available for purchase at Yale Health’s pharmacy at a greatly reduced price, $5.00 per test kit (about half of the retail cost), after May 11. Prices may be subject to change in the future.
  • Yale Health will not reimburse the costs of rapid antigen tests purchased after May 11.
  • If you are currently enrolled in a Flexible Spending Account (FSA), you can use it to pay for rapid antigen test kits. If you are not, the next opportunity to enroll would be during Yale’s Annual Benefits Enrollment period in December 2023.
  • Through May 11, Yale Health will continue to provide free kits to members and reimburse the costs of tests purchased outside of Yale Health.

PCR (Laboratory) testing

  • PCR testing through the university’s Color testing program will continue to be available to all Yale faculty, staff, and students until June; details about the specific timing will be forthcoming.
  • Beginning May 12, PCR testing will be available for all Yale Health members with an order from your healthcare provider. If your Yale Health clinician recommends a PCR test, it will be ordered through Quest.
  • PCR testing for Yale Health dependents and retirees will no longer be available through Yale New Haven Health’s self-scheduling portal (which will close as of May 11).
  • PCR testing by out-of-network providers will not be reimbursed by Yale Health.
  • The cost of PCR testing for administrative purposes (travel, work, daycare, etc.) will not be covered by Yale Health.

COVID-19 Vaccination

  • COVID-19 vaccines will remain available at no charge to Yale Health members.  Appointments can be scheduled through the Yale COVID-19 program.
  • Yale Health will follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) COVID-19 vaccine recommendations. Details about the updated recommendations may be found on the CDC website.

The entire Yale Health team has been pleased to see the consistent decline of the overall spread and effects of the COVID-19 pandemic for many months now. In addition to keeping your vaccination status up-to-date, we urge you to continue to practice other preventive measures for your own health and that of your loved ones.

Yours in Health,

Madeline Wilson, MD, FACP
Chief Campus Health Officer
Chief Quality Officer