Some parents are finding themselves in a predicament when it comes to bringing their children to a place where proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test is required.

Listeners to the station contacted us to raise the issue after opting not to pay $200 per child for testing.

Here's the problem: Children under the age of 16 aren't eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. So if you're taking your kids to a sporting arena, activity or amusement park, or in certain travel scenarios, among other things, they may need a negative test to get in. However, many insurance providers are no longer covering the cost of the tests unless the patient is getting tested because they have symptoms associated with the virus.

Falsely claiming you have symptoms just to get the test covered for free could land you in trouble with your insurance provider. Paying out of pocket at many medical centers could run you as much as $100-$300 per child, per test.

However, New York State operated testing sites do not charge for COVID tests, whether your are presenting symptoms or not.

The issue was raised by a parent who was planning to take the kids to a recent Utica Comets game. However, after learning his insurance wouldn't cover the bill because his kids weren't ill, and didn't feel ill or show symptoms, he opted not to pay for the tests and canceled plans to attend the game.

Here in the Mohawk Valley, the testing site at Griffiss International Airport in Rome is operated by New York State, so if you need a test for the kids, or yourself, for any reason you can get one for FREE there.

A couple things to keep in mind:

  • The window of time that the test must be conducted prior to the activity you're attending varies
  • The type of test offered by the state is not an instant test - they are sent to a lab and will likely take a couple of days for you to receive the results
  • You will need to make an appointment in advance. To do that, calls the NYS Department of Health at 1-888-364-3065

If you live outside the area, but still in New York State, you can use this link from the NYS Department of Health to find a test site near you.

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