COVID-19 Types Of Tests Explained

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Vail Health and Colorado Mountain Medical have led the state in testing. But when it comes to testing, there is a lot of confusion.  There are two primary COVID-19 tests used for different purposes. Vail Health and Colorado Mountain Medical provide both the genetic test (if you have the virus now) and antibody test (demonstrates exposure to the disease and that you’ve developed COVID-19 antibodies). The tests have been independently validated by three organizations to be 95%+ accurate when a positive result is detected. Both genetic and antibody testing are available at our Colorado Mountain Medical clinics in Vail, Avon and Eagle (970-926-6340) and at the Vail Health Avon Urgent Care location (970-949-6100). Genetic testing is only provided to patients with COVID-19 symptoms. Please call the locations to arrange your evaluation/testing. Below is information on both tests, who should use them, how to get them and what they cost. 


What is it?
Genetic (diagnostic) testing typically includes a nasal swab and is used to determine if a person is currently sick due to COVID-19.   

Who should be tested?
Any Individual exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 even if you were previously screened and it was determined you did not require testing. Symptoms include shortness of breath, fever, dry cough, headache, body aches, ear ache, sore throat, loss of the sense of smell or taste, or sometimes abdominal pain, such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea   How do I get tested?
If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, Eagle County residents and guests can be tested at Vail Health and Colorado Mountain Medical (CMM) for COVID-19 by emailing and making an appointment.

Testing is available: (Patients should bring a photo ID and their health insurance card.)

What does it cost? 
This test is essentially free to the patient.

  • If you have insurance, the insurance company will be billed for the test and you should not be billed for a deductible or copay.
  • The self-pay rate is $130-$154; however, for those who do not have insurance, the cost of the test will be waived.
  • If you are evaluated by a physician or provider you will be charged for a clinical office visit. 


What is it?
The antibody test is used to determine if someone has been exposed to COVID-19 in the past, to the point where their body has built up antibodies against it.   

Who should be tested?
Any patient who is NOT currently symptomatic and is curious if they have been infected with COVID-19 in the past can be tested. The antibody test is done through blood work and identifies exposure to COVID-19 and the development of antibodies. It does not identify if you are currently infected with the virus. A positive antibody test can create a false sense of security since it is not known if this assures immunity. 

Where do I get tested? Existing CMM patients:
  • Walk up for testing, no appointment needed.
  • This test is not free and costs $81-$83.
  • We will use insurance if you have it. As of now we are hearing that insurance will cover it.
New CMM patients:
  • If you have never been seen at CMM – you will need to come in for an office visit before being tested. This will ensure that we have up-to-date medical information for you and that you’re in our system. Once you have done that, you will be able to get the antibody testing
  • Please note this means you will be charged for an office visit plus the cost of testing ($55 for the test, $26 for the venipuncture). All of which should be covered by insurance as of now.

We encourage you to learn more about your test results and set up an appointment to discuss your results with your CMM provider should you have questions.


During these unprecedented times, our goal as a nonprofit community healthcare system is to take care of our local community’s health, and that includes financial health. To help achieve this goal, Vail Health has waived any patient out-of-pocket payment obligations for COVID-19 screening, testing and COVID-19 related hospital care in the Emergency Department, Patient Care Unit (PCU) and Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Uninsured patients will not be charged for their COVID-19 care. If a patient has health insurance, we will work with their insurance company on payment and ensure the patient pays $0 related to their deductible, co-insurance and out-of-pocket expenses. A positive COVID-19 test is required to receive this payment relief. If you have needed COVID-19 care and received a bill, please contact our customer service team at 888-356-1916 or email

For non-COVID-19 related services, Vail Health’s financial assistance policy has been increased to 500% of the federal poverty guidelines and is available to supplement a patient’s out-of-pocket obligations. For context, a family of four making $131,000 or less annually would be eligible for financial assistance. Vail Health will work with each patient needing financial assistance, including sensitivity to any changes in employment or income. For help with financial assistance, please contact one of our counselors at 970-477-3116.