Covid-19 Testing


Why choose Covid-19 testing: Autopsy Center of Chicago requires a negative Covid-19 test in order to perform an autopsy. When prior test results are not available, testing at the time of death may allow the case to proceed. In some circumstances, for the family’s closure and peace of mind, we may agree to perform Covid testing without an autopsy.


What is done: Covid-19 testing consists of

  • Swab sample collection from the nose.
  • Submission of the sample to the lab
  • Reporting of test results


Who can request testing?

Only the legal next of kin or power of attorney for health care can request testing. This is similar to all autopsy consents. Back to top of page.


When should testing be performed?

If you are not aware of the Covid status of your loved one, there has been no prior testing and you wish to request an autopsy, we may require testing prior to agreeing to take the case. Autopsy Center does not perform autopsies on Covid positive patients or without a documented negative test. If you do not have documentation and suspect your loved one is Covid negative, testing will likely be required prior to the case.

In some circumstances, and for the family’s closure and peace of mind, we may agree to perform the test without an autopsy. Please talk to us about your concerns. Back to top of page.


How long till the test results come back?

The test results typically take 2 – 3 days to come back. However, the turnaround time can be variable. A test performed in the morning on Monday will typically have the result back on Wednesday, although it could come back earlier (on Tuesday). Some circumstances may lead to a delay. For example, a community surge in cases can backlog the lab and create unavoidable delays. Please know there is no guarantee of turnaround time, but that delays are not common. Back to top of page.


What testing methodology is used?

The test is PCR-based. PCR (polymerase chain reaction) is the gold standard of Covid-19 diagnostic testing. Testing is not antigen-base. Antigen testing is less reliable. Back to top of page.


Is there a cost?
Yes. The cost is a combination of the laboratory fee plus a fee to cover the cost and time to acquire the sample. Autopsy Center of Chicago is an Illinois-licensed physician practice. The total fee will depend on where in the state we are required to travel to obtain the sample.


What is the cost?
In compliance with Sec. 4202 Pricing of Diagnostic Testing of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act or the CARES Act, we herein provide our “cash price”:
The total cost is $550 for cases within 50 miles of Autopsy Center of Chicago.
Pricing details as follows:
$100 lab test fee (no markup)
$150 collection fee
$150 consultation fee (pre-testing, consent-acquisition, post-collection, post-resulting)
$150 travel to and from testing site location (not performed at our facility)

Additional cost for travel 50 – 100 miles or from Autopsy Center of Chicago: flat rate $200.

Pricing subject to change.


I thought testing was free. Why is there a cost?

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (March 18, 2020) provided for free COVID-19 testing with funding for entities including the Department of Defense, Indian Health Service, Veterans Affairs, Public heath departments, and National Disaster Medical System. In addition, the Act required that private health insurance and Medicare cover the cost of testing for COVID-19.

Autopsy services are not covered under any of these entities or by private health insurance.

For patients without insurance, application can be made to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services with qualifying testing and specified billing codes for “testing related visits rendered in an office, urgent care or emergency room or via telehealth setting”

Autopsy services are not performed in these settings.

In summary, the important laws that protect patients and ensure free testing during life do not seem to extend to after death. There is also no third-party reimbursement route for testing and services for deceased patients. We are unable to offer testing at no cost. This is similar to autopsies, in general, which are also not covered by health insurance or any third party entities. Back to top of page.


Please contact us with any additional questions or call us at 1-855-8-AUTOPSY.