Out for free corona tests: these rules now apply

A quick day off – and then off to the mall or the movies? As of today, Monday, that will be expensive: those who are neither vaccinated nor recovering will still need Quick tests – must reach for it however now into the bag. And possibly also accept significantly longer distances. Because: With the end of the free citizen tests also the offer at test places is likely to reduce clearly.

The prere is on. The end for the state Free offer should not only save costs, but also convince the unvaccinated to be vaccinated against the coronavirus. Finally, immunization is free – testing costs, on the other hand, will be based on demand and are expected to rise in the coming weeks.

Corona tests to be charged as of this Monday

"Everyone for whom it is recommended and who wants to, could now be vaccinated. We have kept this promise. Therefore, citizen tests will be free from Monday only for those for whom there is no recommended vaccination," said Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn this editorial office. That are in particular children and young people.

"Testing in nursing homes, hospitals, Schools or at work, however, will continue to be available free of charge. That's important to get well through the fall and winter," the CDU politician said. Spahn argues above all with the costs: "To abolish free citizen tests requires fairness before the taxpayer. Anyone and everyone can still get vaccinated for free to protect themselves and others."Critics, however, are already warning that if the rapid tests cost money, fewer people will get tested, and as a result fewer infections could be detected.

Corona tests: who needs quick tests anymore?

Everywhere the 3G rule applies, people who are neither vaccinated nor recovering must show a rapid test updated daily. These tests will take effect on 11. October chargeable. However, there are exceptions: For example, children from twelve to 17 years and Pregnant still until 31. December to take at least one test a week for free. The reason: for both groups, there is a general vaccination recommendation of the Standing Commission on Vaccination (Stiko) only recently, they should therefore have more time for vaccinations.

Free tests will generally continue to be offered to people who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons. Likewise, children who have not yet reached the age of twelve or have only turned twelve in the last three months before the test. Because there is no vaccine for them yet. Free testing would also remain available for people who are asked to stop a Quarantine need a test because of a corona infection. In order to continue to receive free tests, an official photo ID must be presented at the testing center. Extra proof such as a doctor's certificate is required if you cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons. The maternity passport can be used as proof of pregnancy.

How big the Demand will be after rapid tests is unclear. Among people over 16, about 20 percent are still without full vaccination coverage. Among them, however, are quite a few who have a convalescent status, and many students who are regularly tested at school.

Where to get certified rapid tests in the future?

Certified rapid tests have so far been available mainly in test centers, pharmacies and from doctors. This is likely to remain the case for the time being – however, experts expect that the number of tests offered will be significantly reduced. Already in the past weeks many had Pharmacies had already pulled out again: In early summer, when demand was at its highest, around 6,000 pharmacies nationwide offered rapid tests; currently there are only 4,400 left.

In rural regions in particular, the offer is already very thin – in Thuringia, for example, only 38 pharmacies are still participating. "How many pharmacies continue to carry out antigen tests also depends on how demand develops," Reiner Kern, spokesman for the Federal Association of German Pharmacists (ABDA), told this editorial team. "If too few come Patients, it will be too expensive. One must hold room and personnel. If someone wants to be tested every 15 minutes, the costs will come in. If someone only comes twice a day, that's not enough."

Hamburg, meanwhile, is taking a special approach: as of Monday, it will only recognize test evidence provided by medical providers were carried out. Non-medical testing centers are no longer allowed to ie certificates, according to health authorities. Pharmacists welcome this and are now calling for such a regulation nationwide: to prevent a thinning out of the range of tests, test certificates should in future only be available in healthcare facilities, i.e. primarily in pharmacies or doctors' surgeries.

"First of all, they are quality-ared there. Second, focusing on these facilities would prevent many of them from stopping testing or Self-pay can only offer very expensive tests," says ABDA President Gabriele Regina Overwiening.

What will the Corona tests cost??

In principle, each provider calculates the costs for the antigen tests independently; there are no plans for state regulation. How expensive tests will be in the future therefore depends on several factors: How great is the demand? How many providers are there locally? The pharmacies calculate approximately costs for material, separate test rooms and personnel.

So far the offerers 11.50 euros reimbursed by the state per test. According to experts, this sum is likely to be the future price floor. Depending on the local market situation, the price of a test could also be 15 to 25 euros. In the Saarland, for example, rapid tests in the state's own test centers are to cost 15 euros as of Monday.

Is the end of free tests uncontroversial?

Health experts from the Greens and the FDP view the move with Skepticism. Green Party politician Janosch Dahmen warned that the change comes too early. "Without free tests, we will get fewer test results, more infections will go undetected."Instead of eliminating free tests, they should be linked to the vaccination campaign. "Whoever accepts a vaccination consultation should receive a free test in return."

Also from the FDP there had been for a long time strong criticism of the step. "If this becomes chargeable, we will get a Huge problem", warned FDP vice president Wolfgang Kubicki just a few weeks ago. Expected decline in testing increases risk for people who could not be vaccinated.

In the meantime, however, the vaccination rate is so high that this risk is no longer an ie in the view of the expert politicians. Government money, on the other hand, has: the cost of tests could not be paid indefinitely by the vaccinated or recovered Solidarity to be taken over. "Therefore, it is logical that the cost coverage now expires," said FDP health politician Christine Aschenberg-Dugnus to this editor.

Lauterbach defends end of free tests

SPD health expert Karl Lauterbach also defended the end of free tests: "Paid tests will lead to very many still getting vaccinated because they want to avoid regular testing," Lauterbach told this newsroom. "Moreover, there is no justification for the unvaccinated to get their tests from the Tax funds of the vaccinated getting paid."

Also the GERMAN COUNTY ASSOCIATION welcomed the end of paid rapid tests: "In view of a vaccination rate of 80 percent among adults, this is the right step," district president Reinhard Sager told this newsroom. "The vaccination offer for unvaccinated still exists. Those who don't make use of them have every right to do so in a liberal society, of course. But solidarity from the rest of society cannot then be permanently demanded."

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