COVID-19 (Coronavirus): Specimen collection by medical professionals

July 29, 2020

This article was revised on July 29, 2020, to update the effective timeline.

Independence is committed to ensuring that our members have access to the care they need during the COVID-19 pandemic. We encourage all Independence members and providers to visit our dedicated COVID-19 webpage regularly for the latest news and updates. We will continue to evaluate member needs as the situation changes.

Home visit for specimen collection for COVID-19 testing

Independence is waiving the requirement that commercial and Medicare Advantage members must be homebound to receive COVID-19 specimen collection at home. The change is effective:

  • Commercial members: March 6, 2020, through September 4, 2020, and is subject to re-evaluation during the public health emergency;
  • Medicare Advantage members: March 6, 2020, and for the duration of the public health emergency.

Members are no longer required to be homebound (as defined in the medical policy) to receive a nurse visit from a home health agency or trained laboratory technician for the purpose of laboratory specimen collection for COVID-19 testing in their home, when the visit for specimen collection:

  • is medically necessary/appropriate for the individual’s condition; and,
  • has been ordered by a licensed or otherwise qualified health care provider.

The specimen must be delivered to an authorized laboratory to perform the test and the results sent to the prescribing/ordering professional provider.

Note: Independence participating providers, in accordance with their provider agreement, are required to refer specimens to participating laboratories. 

Please note that precertification for home care services is required.


Home care agencies should use Revenue Code 0551 Skilled Nursing – Visit Charge and specimen collection by trained laboratory technicians should be reported with HCPCS code G2023 or G2024 when submitting the claim.

You can view the complete announcement, Home Specimen Collection for COVID-19 Testing (Updated April 14, 2020), on our Medical Policy Portal in the Commercial and Medicare Advantage News & Announcements sections.

Learn more

For more information about Independence’s position on COVID-19, please review the following resources: