As of this Monday, Corona rapid tests are no longer free. They will remain free for people who can’t get vaccinated – and for ending quarantine due to Corona infection, among other things.
The Corona rapid tests, which have been available free of charge to all citizens since the spring, must now be paid for by most people themselves. Generally, they remain free for people who cannot get vaccinated, including children under 12. This is stipulated by a new federal regulation that comes into force on Monday.
Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) and state premiers had agreed that the federally funded offer of free “citizen tests” for everyone without symptoms, which has been in place since early March, should end. Since free vaccinations are available to all, there is no longer a need for taxpayers to permanently cover the cost of the tests, they said in justification.
But the regulation also lays out some transitional rules. Thus, children from 12 to 17 years and pregnant women can still take at least one free test per week until December 31. The reason is that a general vaccination recommendation from the Standing Commission on Vaccination (Stiko) has only been available for them for a short time – so there should still be a longer time for vaccination.
Children who have not yet reached the age of twelve or who have only turned twelve in the last three months before the test can also be tested free of charge. Free testing also remains available for people who need a test to end a quarantine due to a Corona infection.
In order to continue to receive free rapid tests, one must present an official ID with a photo at the test centre – in the case of children, this also provides proof of age. Extra proof such as a medical certificate is required if one cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons – a diagnosis does not need to be provided, according to ministry information. The maternity passport can be used to prove pregnancy.
Not affected by the change are PCR tests arranged by physicians or the health department. In these cases, the costs are covered, according to the federal government. So, for example, if a doctor has a patient with symptoms suggestive of corona tested by PCR, this test is free of charge for the sufferer.