Free Covid tests are a serious money maker

By Scoop
June 15, 2022 · less than 3 min read

They may be free at the point of sale, but those free COVID-19 tests are making labs millions of tax dollars.

Death and taxes

COVID-19. Obviously, we’d love to say it’s ‘so last year’ – and while cases remain comparatively low, weighed up against the past couple of years, there are plenty of folks still testing and looking to keep each other safe.

They say the best things in life are free, and for more than two years, many Americans have been able to get Covid tests with no out-of-pocket costs. But somewhere down the line, someone has got to pay for them. And yeah, if you’re a taxpayer, then it’s probably you. With findings from a new study hinting at the enormous costs, another question arises – where does the money go?

Make money money money

The study, conducted by the University of Hawaii and Johns Hopkins University, indicates that the private labs conducting the Covid tests are potentially raking in millions of dollars from taxpayers and those paying for private medical insurance. “We are literally witnessing the government channel money from taxpayers, from patients, from (insurance plan) sponsors to labs,” said Ge Bai, a Johns Hopkins University professor.

After analyzing revenue collected by 21 independent labs in Hawaii, the study found that 2.8 million tests were performed between March 2020 to November 2021 – and this saw a revenue increase from a range of $19 million to $22 million a month before the pandemic, to $28 million to $36 million – per lab. Picture this across labs throughout the entire country, and that’s a lot of dough. Here in the Land of Opportunity, there’s always a way to make a profit.

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