Students reminded that billing for COVID-19 testing may vary based on test type

October 09, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — As part of Penn State’s multi-pronged COVID-19 testing strategy, different types of virus testing are being conducted at the University this fall, and each one is billed and paid for differently.

Required random surveillance testing: Free

For both students and employees who are randomly selected for the University’s required surveillance testing, that testing is entirely paid for by the University at no cost to the individual.

To learn more about Penn State’s surveillance testing process, visit

Voluntary, walk-up, asymptomatic testing: Free

Health insurers do not currently cover asymptomatic COVID-19 testing that is not medically recommended; however, Penn State is providing free walk-up testing at Pegula Ice Arena at University Park for both students and those employees working on campus who want it because of possible virus exposure or other reasons. This walk-up testing is voluntary and does not replace mandatory surveillance testing, and it is not intended for any individual experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.

Students who are symptomatic should not visit the walk-up site and instead seek testing at University Health Services by scheduling an appointment online through myUHS or by calling UHS at 814-863-0774. Any employee who is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should call their health care provider to arrange for testing.

For more information about asymptomatic walk-up testing at University Park, visit

Symptomatic or contact-tracing testing: Billed to student’s insurance

Students who seek care at University Health Services or their on-campus health center will be billed via their insurance for any evaluation or testing that’s provided. The testing done at UHS, which is for symptomatic students or those who have been identified as a close contact of an infected individual through contact tracing, is billed to the student’s health insurance provider, as is the case with all services performed at UHS. This includes COVID-19 tests performed either at the Student Health Center or in the testing boxes at Eisenhower Parking Deck.

Prior to their visit, students are provided with information about billing for medical services, and they are encouraged to either provide their insurance information through the myUHS secure portal, if they have not already done so, or bring their insurance card with them to their appointment.

For students who have Penn State’s student health insurance plan, it currently fully covers the cost of COVID-19 testing when the test is FDA approved and follows CDC guidelines.

The University works with underinsured or uninsured students on an individual basis regarding UHS billing and coverage of test costs. Students in need can email or call 814-865-7467 for assistance. Penn State is committed to providing COVID-19 testing to any student who needs it, regardless of their financial situation. 

Further information on symptomatic COVID-19 testing at UHS is available at

Additional information about the University’s COVID-19 testing and contact tracing processes can be found at

Last Updated October 12, 2020