COVID-19: Information for health plans and insurers
Quest Diagnostics is uniquely positioned to help health plans support their members, providers, and plan sponsors as they look for answers in the face of uncertainty. COVID-19 testing may offer the insight you need.
Health plans can rely on Quest Diagnostics today, just as you always have. We’re committed to working tirelessly alongside you to connect stakeholders and deliver the answers that will help us overcome this challenge together.
This page is updated frequently as new information becomes available and we continue increasing testing capacity to meet your needs.
Quest Diagnostics is receiving COVID-19 specimens and performing testing nationwide.
Drive-thru testing events at Walmart
Quest and Walmart have joined forces to host drive-thru testing events at select Walmart locations around the country. In the comfort of their own car, your eligible members can self-administer a COVID-19 diagnostic test under the supervision of a healthcare professional.
Drive-thru events are continually being added to the calendar. Your Quest representative will keep you updated on new event dates and locations.
Testing by appointment at patient service centers
COVID-19 antibody testing to indicate prior infection is now readily available at Quest’s patient service centers (PSCs). Your members can get tested at their local PSC by scheduling an appointment online or through the MyQuest™ app.
To help your members feel comfortable while seeking care at Quest, every PSC has strengthened its already-rigorous safety procedures and implemented new service enhancements.
Note that diagnostic testing for active COVID-19 infection cannot be performed at Quest PSCs. Members must visit their physician or other healthcare provider.
The Quest Analytics data feed system now offers dedicated daily COVID-19 test result data reports for health plan customers. Collecting test result data allows your organization to comply with reporting requirements and to understand how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting your members.
As people shelter at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, alternative access to health services becomes increasingly critical for your providers and members.
Telehealth use was already on the rise, but the COVID-19 crisis means demand is now growing at a much faster pace. For two months, Quest will not charge a fee to our healthcare provider customers who launch telehealth capabilities with the Electronic Video Consulting (ELVI) tool from our longtime partner CompuGroup Medical (CGM).
This allows health plans and providers to accommodate new benefits set by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) that widen access to Medicare telehealth services.
Our InSure® ONE™ colorectal cancer screening kits allow members to collect a sample in the privacy of their own home. InSure ONE member reminders and provider notifications help drive improved member compliance and early detection. Plus, it helps health plans:
- Close gaps in care
- Manage costs
- Increase quality measures
- Comply efficiently with quality reporting requirements
Ask your Quest representative about our other at-home test kits available to your members.
Health plans rely on Quest HealthConnect™ to help your members better understand their benefits. And taking full advantage of benefits is more important than ever, especially for those members at greater risk for serious illness like COVID-19.
Quest HealthConnect goes beyond lab services to include wellness visits, risk assessments, and quality programs. Plus, we meet your members where they are—which is now more likely to be at their home. To improve care and communication, all results are delivered to the member, their doctor, and their health plan.
To increase testing capacity and make the ordering process more convenient for healthcare providers, Quest has implemented a one code ordering system for all types of molecular tests used to diagnose COVID-19 active infection.
Healthcare providers can now order COVID-19 molecular testing using a single code—39448. Ordering COVID-19 molecular testing with a single code allows Quest to more efficiently distribute testing to whichever platform offers the best capacity, either at the ordering site or across our network of laboratories. This helps improve turnaround time and result delivery for your members.
- SARS-CoV-2 antibody testing is a major part of managing the spread of COVID-19,1 and Quest Diagnostics offers a full complement of antibody serology testing to provide additional insights into a patient’s recent or prior infection.
- The antibody tests currently offered by Quest Diagnostics were granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the FDA for public health and clinical use—Abbott AdviseDx and Abbott ARCHITECT, Ortho Clinical Diagnostics VITROS, Siemens Centaur® and Siemens Atellica,® and Ortho Clinical Diagnostics.2
- IgG antibody testing must be ordered by a physician. Patients may make an appointment at a Quest patient service center for this test.
- FDA. Important information on the use of serological (antibody) tests for COVID-19 – letter to health care providers. Updated April 17, 2020. Accessed February 11, 2021. https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/letters-health-care-providers/important-information-use-serological-antibody-tests-covid-19-letter-health-care-providers
- FDA. Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) information, and list of all current EUAs. Updated February 5, 2021. Accessed February 5, 2021. https://www.fda.gov/emergency-preparedness-and-response/mcm-legal-regulatory-and-policy-framework/emergency-use-authorization
Continue to keep your members and providers informed as the COVID-19 health emergency evolves.
Important information about COVID-19 antibody testing
The test is designed to detect antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Antibodies are proteins that the body produces in response to infections. The antibodies can be produced even if a person has few or no symptoms during the infection.
It generally takes some time after infection for antibodies to be produced and become detectable in blood (sometimes up to 3 weeks). We do not know yet how good this test is at detecting antibodies in persons that have received the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine. Antibodies are generally detectable in the blood for a period of time after a person has recovered from the infection and after the virus that caused the infection is no longer detectable by laboratory methods.
Sometimes the antibodies developed in response to an infection protect us from getting that same infection again. But, it is important to know that we do not yet know whether this is true for COVID-19. Even if you have recovered and have antibodies, there is a chance that you still have the virus and you can infect others, it is still critical to keep taking measures to avoid getting infected again and/or spreading infection.
The antibody test is not meant for detecting an active infection. The swab test (sometimes also known as a molecular, RNA or PCR test) should be used to test for active infection.
A negative antibody test result means that antibodies were not detected in your blood sample. This can have several possible meanings. It could mean that:
- You have not been infected with SARS-CoV-2, or
- You have been infected with SARS-CoV-2, but your antibodies have not reached a sufficient level for the test to be able to detect them, or
- You have been infected with SARS-CoV-2, but there has not been enough time for antibodies to develop (it can take up to one to three weeks to develop antibodies after someone is infected, sometimes longer).
- We do not yet know what a negative test result means for people that have been vaccinated with the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine.
A positive antibody test result means that antibodies were detected in your blood sample. This can have a couple of possible meanings. It could mean that:
- You have been infected with SARS-CoV-2 at some point in the past, or
- You were vaccinated with the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine (but we do not yet know if you are protected from infection or how long that protection if there is any may last), or
- Uncommonly, you may have developed antibodies from an earlier infection with a different virus related to SARS-CoV-2 and the laboratory test cannot distinguish between these other virus antibodies and those antibodies generated in response to SARS-CoV-2.
COVID-19 testing statements
- This test is intended as an aid in identifying individuals with an adaptive immune response to SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19), indicating recent or prior infection.
- The antibody tests have not been FDA cleared or approved;
- The antibody tests have been authorized by FDA under an EUA for use by authorized laboratories;
- The antibody tests have been authorized only for the detection of IgG antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, not for any other viruses or pathogens; and,
- The antibody tests are only authorized for the duration of the declaration that circumstances exist justifying the authorization of emergency use of in vitro diagnostics for detection and/or diagnosis of COVID-19 under Section 564(b)(1) of the Act, 21 U.S.C. § 360bbb-3(b)(1), unless the authorization is terminated or revoked sooner.
- The cobas SARS-CoV-2 & Influenza A/B Test and the Quest SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR test and other molecular tests (“Tests”) have not been FDA cleared or approved.
- The tests have been authorized by the FDA under an EUA for use by laboratories certified under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 (CLIA), 42 U.S.C. § 263a, to perform moderate and high complexity tests. The Roche test has been authorized only for the detection of RNA from SARS-CoV-2 virus, Influenza A virus, and Influenza B virus and not any other viruses or pathogens.
- The Roche test is only authorized for the duration of the declaration that circumstances exist justifying the authorized of the emergency use of in vitro diagnostics for detection and differentiation of SARS-CoV-2 virus, Influenza A, and Influenza B under section 564(b)(1) of the Act, 21 U.S.C. § 360bbb- 3(b)(1), unless the authorized is terminated or revoked sooner.
- The Quest test and other molecular tests been authorized only for the detection of nucleic acid from SARSCoV-2, not for any other viruses or pathogens.
- The Quest test and other molecular tests are only authorized for the duration of the declaration that circumstances exist justifying the authorization of emergency use of in vitro diagnostics for detection and/or diagnosis of COVID-19 under Section 564(b)(1) of the Act, 21 U.S.C. § 360bbb-3(b)(1), unless the authorization is terminated or revoked sooner.
- Health Plans should be aware that currently available vaccines in the US target the spike protein and, based upon timing of vaccination, could provide a positive result with this test.
- The CDC has not issued guidelines about the use of serology testing related to vaccination. Antibody response related to COVID-19 vaccines have not been studied in vaccine recipients.