How to get a COVID-19 test in Minnesota

In most cases, a video visit is needed before you can be tested for COVID-19. This is so we can assess your symptoms and help you get the right treatment. If your doctor recommends you should be tested, we’ll work with you to schedule a drive-up test at one of our eight clinics in Minnesota currently offering tests. 

What to expect if you qualify for a COVID-19 test 1. Prepare for your test

In order to reduce the spread of COVID-19, we require everyone to wear a mask or face covering before arriving for testing. If you don’t have a mask, you can follow CDC guidelines on making a no-sew cloth face covering. Members of your care team will also wear masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE).

2. Arrive at your test location

When you arrive, follow signs or directions from clinic staff. In most cases, you’ll be tested for COVID-19 without leaving your car. This helps speed up the testing process and also helps everyone practice better social distancing.

3. Get your test results

After your test, you can expect results through your online HealthPartners or Park Nicollet account in two to four days.

If you don't have an online HealthPartners or Park Nicollet account, it’s easy to create an account. All you need is your ID number from your insurance card to get started.

Getting test results for children younger than 18 years old

For security reasons, children younger than 18 years old cannot have their own online accounts.

If you go to HealthPartners or Park Nicollet regularly for care – or you’ve also been tested for COVID-19 with us – you can set up proxy access to get your child’s test results through your own online account. After you sign in to your account or create an account::

  • Click your name in the upper right-hand corner.
  • Click “Manage account.”
  • Click "Contact settings" or “My care” on the left-hand side.
  • Click “Request access to your child’s account.”
  • Fill out the form.

If you don’t go to HealthPartners or Park Nicollet regularly for care – and you haven’t also been tested for COVID-19 with us – please call Website Support at 952-853-8888 to set up an online account for your child. Website Support is available Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT.

What to do if you have questions or need additional help

If you need help managing your symptoms or you would like to speak to a doctor, please schedule a video visit. During a video visit, your doctor will review your symptoms and help create the best treatment plan.

Our nurses are also available 24/7 to answer questions about symptoms, help you decide what kind of care you need and offer home treatment suggestions. You can reach us anytime by calling the HealthPartners CareLine℠ at 800-551-0859 or the Park Nicollet Nurse Line at 952-993-4665.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

The cost of testing is $200 ($132 for the test, plus $68 for the collection). However, most people won’t pay for testing and collection out of pocket.

New government relief plans require all health plans to cover COVID-19 testing and related services with no patient cost sharing. “No patient cost sharing” means that you won’t pay out-of-pocket costs for any part of COVID-19 testing.

If you’re a HealthPartners member, you have 100% coverage for COVID-19 testing and diagnosis. This includes the cost of the care visit associated with testing.

HealthPartners is also waiving the cost for fully insured members for the treatment of COVID-19 when getting care from an in-network provider, effective March 1 through December 31, 2020. This includes copays, coinsurance and deductibles. If you are a self-insured member, call Member Services at the number on the back of your member ID card to understand your coverage.

For HealthPartners Medicare members, the cost of COVID-19 testing and treatment is covered fully until the federal government declares an end to the public health emergency. This includes copays, coinsurance and deductibles.

Some airlines or travel agencies may require you (or your child) to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test.

The cost of travel-related COVID-19 testing is $125 (including collection). Like with other health care you receive, we’ll submit this charge to the insurance you have on file. If you have questions about your coverage, contact your health plan.

According to the Minnesota Department of Health, if you don’t have symptoms of COVID-19, you don’t need a test.

If you do have symptoms of COVID-19, schedule a video visit. This is so we can assess your symptoms and make sure you get the appropriate treatment. If your doctor recommends that you should be tested, we’ll work with you to schedule a drive-up test.

In addition, COVID-19 symptoms and flu symptoms can be similar, so a video visit with a doctor can help you get the right care. If we determine a COVID-19 test is necessary, we’ll help you schedule one.  

If your child needs to be tested for COVID-19, we’ll work to make the process as smooth as possible.

We are only testing symptomatic patients ages 3 months and older in drive-up testing. If your child is under 3 months old and is having respiratory symptoms – or you have concerns about COVID-19 – your baby should be seen in a respiratory clinic where testing can be done along with a full physical exam and assessment. We feel this is the safest care option for our youngest patients.

If you are concerned about strep throat in your child, we’ll have your child complete a video visit with a provider prior to getting tested. Sore throat is a COVID-19 symptom; therefore, the video visit is to help determine whether your child will need testing for COVID-19 and strep throat or just COVID-19.

On the day of your test

You may want to prepare your child for the fact that the tester will be in full personal protective equipment (PPE), which may be scary. There are several videos online that demonstrate the procedure and may help your child prepare.

Since we’re scheduling drive-up testing appointments, we’re hopeful waiting time in the car will be minimal. However, please be prepared for potential waits in the car and have comforting music, toys, stuffed animals and snacks along with you. Your child should use the restroom before you come for drive-up testing.

We require all children over the age of 2 to wear a mask of face covering to their testing visit.

If your child rides in a car seat, it’s best to position the car seat where a tester has easy access to the child (for example, in a row near a door). Testers cannot climb into a car to do the test. If this is necessary, you may be asked to sit with your child on your lap in a chair at the drive-up site.

If you have multiple children in the car that need to be tested, please think about bringing an additional adult with you to remain in the car with unattended children if one child has to be tested outside of the car.

The COVID-19 test involves inserting a swab (similar to a Q-tip) into your child’s nostril to get a sample. This can be an unpleasant feeling, but the swab does need to go in all the way to the back of your child’s nose and has to be inserted for at least three seconds for the swab to be most accurate. Parents may be asked to hold their child’s head during testing. Afterward, your child may cough or even have some slight nose bleeding – this is normal.

Please be aware that if your child is combative or resistant to the test, we will do our best to complete the test but only if it’s safe for both the tester and your child. If you have additional concerns, please let us know when making your appointment.

Before returning to work, you must contact your employer for return-to-work instructions. You can request return-to-work documents and work accommodation letters through your online account.