Columbia Plan members: At-home COVID-19 diagnostic tests available with no upfront costs

A message from Aetna Student Health, which administers the Columbia University Student Health Insurance Plan.

Effective 2/17/22: Aetna members can now pick up at-home COVID-19 tests at participating pharmacies, with no upfront costs. These COVID-19 tests, also called an over-the-counter test, can help you diagnose an infection and limit its spread to your family and community.

Here’s what you need to know.

What’s covered?

Members are eligible for eight at-home COVID-19 tests per 30-day period for everyone covered under your plan. A prescription isn’t needed. Eligible tests must be authorized, cleared or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. At-home COVID-19 tests must also be purchased on or after January 15, 2022.

How to get your at-home COVID-19 tests covered?

Your health plan will cover your at-home COVID-19 tests using your pharmacy benefits. The process to get your tests covered will vary based on where you buy your tests.

1. Order online at a CVS Pharmacy.

  1. Log on Aetna secure member website and proceed to the CVS Pharmacy website, or access directly from or the CVS app. 
  2. Click on “At-home COVID-19 OTC tests.” 
  3. Enter zip code to find the closest CVS Pharmacy location with test inventory. 
  4. Select “OTC tests” and enter the appropriate information from your insurance card. 
  5. Place an order for store pick-up. 

2. Purchase in store.

Visit a CVS Pharmacy in-person and obtain in stock OTC tests and file a claim for reimbursement. 

Other pharmacies in the Aetna National Pharmacy network may also offer Point of Service solution. 

3. Pay for your tests and get reimbursed.

At-home COVID-19 test kits* may purchased with NO prescription after January 15, 2022 through April 16, 2022. 

If the pharmacy, online retailer, or store where you shop is unable to process your at-home test claim using your pharmacy benefits, you can still get reimbursed for the cost of the test. Keep a copy of your receipt and log in to the Aetna Student Health member website to submit a claim for reimbursement. Once your claim is processed, a check will be mailed to you. Please note shipping costs will not be reimbursed.

For tests purchased between January 15, 2022, and February 16, 2022, you can expect to be fully reimbursed for the cost of an at-home COVID-19 test.

  • One single test – up to a maximum of $12.00 
  • Dual Pack (2 tests in one kit) – up to a maximum of $24.00 
  • Eight (8) Over the Counter (OTC) COVID-19 individual tests per member every 30 days 

Submit a claim.

Where else can I find at-home COVID-19 tests?

You can also order four free at-home COVID-19 tests from

There’s no cost for shipping. Plus, you don’t need to enter a credit card.

At-home COVID-19 tests used for return to work or school, or recreational purposes are not covered unless required by state law. Lab-based PCR at-home collection kits are also not covered.

For a complete list of participating providers and pharmacies, go to and use the provider search tool.

*Exclusion: Lab-based home collection PCR testing is not covered.

Editor's note:

Updated on 2/22/2022 with new information from Aetna Student Health. 

Aetna Student Health
February 17, 2022