STD Testing With and Without Insurance

Understanding your options

The possibility that you might have a sexually transmitted disease (STD) can be unsettling, but finding affordable STD testing doesn't need to be an additional worry. You might be wondering, does insurance cover STD testing? Learn how insurance companies help cover STD testing below.

Woman waiting at STD clinic
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Does Insurance Cover STD testing?

Due to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), otherwise known as Obamacare, all insurance companies under the federal health insurance marketplace provides coverage for STD testing.

If you have health insurance, STD testing is probably free for you or is at a reduced price. Coverage does vary among companies, so it's a good idea to contact your insurance provider directly for further details.

It's important to note that STD testing for someone with symptoms that suggest that they may have an STD is considered a diagnostic test. A diagnostic test is not covered under the ACA, and coverage can vary greatly among insurance companies. STD testing without symptoms is referred to as a preventative screening test, which is covered under the ACA.

STD Testing With Insurance

Although the ACA helps covers preventative STD screening tests for many, coverage does depend on the STD being tested for, in addition to age, sex, and other conditions like pregnancy status.

The ACA does require insurance companies to cover HIV testing for those ages 15 to 65. Those who are younger than 15 or older than 65 that are at increased risk are covered as well. Those who are at increased risk can mean:

  • They have unprotected sex.
  • They have multiple and anonymous sexual partners.
  • They have tested positive for another STD.
  • They're a man who has sex with men (MSM).

The ACA also requires insurance companies to cover syphilis testing for all adults and for adolescents who are at increased risk.

Testing coverage for other STDs depends on different factors. For chlamydia and gonorrhea, only sexually active females (including those who are pregnant) who are 24 years and younger or older than 24 and are at increased risk have testing covered under the ACA.

Under the ACA, only sexually active males between 11 and 21 who are at increased risk
have testing coverage for chlamydia and gonorrhea.

STD Testing Without Insurance

Without either private or public insurance coverage, how much you pay for STD testing can vary depending on factors such as what tests you need, your household size, and your income level.

However, many public health clinics and centers offer low-cost or potentially free STD testing options without insurance. These can include:

  • Local health department STD clinics
  • Planned Parenthood health centers
  • LGBTQ+ centers
  • Family planning clinics
  • College or university student health centers
  • Mobile clinics
  • Urgent care clinics

What About Home STD Tests?

Home STD testing is direct-to-consumer testing that can be done in the privacy of your own home. For many test suppliers, you can test for one or multiple STDs in one testing kit, typically through blood and/or urine samples.

At-home tests are not specifically covered under the ACA. Insurance coverage varies depending on your insurance provider and the test supplier you choose, making it a good idea to contact your insurer before buying one.

STD Screening Guidelines

The decision to get tested for an STD is a personal yet important one. Whether you are concerned about possible recent STD exposure or simply want to include STD screening as a part of your preventative healthcare routine, knowing when and how frequently to test can benefit your health.

It is best to understand your probable risk rather than asking your healthcare provider to "test me for everything." The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) publishes Sexually Transmitted Diseases Treatment Guidelines, a helpful resource outlining which tests are most appropriate for different groups of people and how frequently they should test.

Frequently Asked Questions

 How often does insurance cover STD testing?

The ACA does not put a coverage limit on testing for HIV, syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea. However, the CDC recommends that those who are sexually active should get tested at least once a year, and those who are at higher risk for STDs, such as MSM, should be tested in intervals of 3-6 months.

Your healthcare provider will likely give you additional guidance on how often you should get tested, and your insurance company can give you the exact details on how often you're covered for all types of STD tests.

How can you tell if you have an STD?

Symptoms do not always show in the case of an STD infection, so it's important to get tested if you feel that you have been exposed to an STD. When symptoms are present, they may include genital symptoms like:

  • Bumps and sores on or near the genitalia
  • Vaginal or penile discharge that is different than usual
  • Painful sex
  • Painful urination

And other symptoms such as:

  • Skin rashes
  • Sores on or in the mouth
  • Fever and chills
  • Aches and pains
  • Jaundice

How long do STD results take?

The timing for results depends on the type of test you take. For rapid tests, such as antibody tests, results can be received in under 30 minutes. For other tests that are more accurate, like a nucleic acid test (NAT), results may take up to several days.

A Word From Verywell

It's important to get tested for STDs routinely, especially if you are at an increased risk of getting a disease. Since testing is covered under the ACA for diseases like HIV and syphilis, your insurance provider will more than likely help take care of the costs for you.

If you have questions about coverage regarding testing or other medical costs, contact your insurance provider to find out more information.

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Article Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. STDs and HIV — CDC fact sheet. Reviewed April 5, 2021.

  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Which STD tests should I get?. Reviewed June 30, 2014.

  4. Cleveland Clinic. Sexually transmitted diseases & infections (STDs & STIs). Reviewed October 19, 2020.

  5. Muralidhar S. Molecular methods in the laboratory diagnosis of sexually transmitted infectionsIndian J Sex Transm Dis AIDS. 2015;36(1):9-17. doi:10.4103/0253-7184.156686