The Navica app gives you the option of COVID-19 testing at home and provides you with a coveted digital health pass that you can use when traveling internationally and when you return to the US.
It’s no surprise to anyone worldwide that COVID-19 has changed how we travel, work, and manage our health.
Whether you’re needing a negative test for re-entry into the U.S. or are required to test negative before returning to work, take advantage of this convenient way to test at home and digitally receive your results within minutes.
The eMed and Navica platform is currently accepted by major airlines such as United Airlines, American Airlines, and Delta Air Lines for entry into the U.S.
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- 1 What is eMed and how do you get started with their home-based COVID-19 testing kit?
- 2 How do you use the Navica app and its home testing kit?
- 3 What are the benefits of using the Navica app for COVID-19 testing at home?
- 4 What are the drawbacks?
- 5 How to set up a managed account in the Navica app
- 6 Additional thoughts and tips
What is eMed and how do you get started with their home-based COVID-19 testing kit?
eMed is a telehealth company that has created an innovative, digital point-of-care platform to provide at-home healthcare services. They recently partnered with multiple airlines, such as United, to offer U.S. citizens the option of a home-based COVID-19 testing kit.
A large part of their website is geared towards helping international travelers meet re-entry requirements, but their tests are also available for other reasons. Anyone can purchase a testing kit.
At this time, proof of a negative COVID-10 test is required for all air passengers two years of age or older boarding a flight from a foreign country to the United States, regardless of citizenship.
Even if you aren’t traveling, perhaps your work requires a negative test to return to the office. Other organizations, such as concert venues and sporting events, may require attendees to provide a negative test, regardless of vaccination status.
With the additional stress of securing a test while traveling, eMed gives you peace of mind knowing that all testing is supervised and proctored by eMed’s Certified Guides who will walk you through the entire process online.
The BinaxNOW™ COVID-19 Ag Card Home Test is available for adults and children two years of age or older.
Children 15 or older can self-collect and perform the test under the observation of the eMed Certified Guide. Any children under age 15 (between ages 2-14) must have an adult present to perform the sample collection under the observation of an eMed Certified Guide.
Each person, including children, must have a separate appointment with an eMed guide. You cannot combine testing with multiple people, including a parent testing with a child.
As of August 2021, eMed, and their partner app, Navica, provide the only CDC-accepted, home-based COVID-19 testing kit for international travel.
Here’s how you start if using the test for travel:
- Book your flights (assuming you are returning to the U.S.)
- Order the COVID-19 Antigen rapid tests from eMed’s website
- For individuals traveling as a couple or with family, make sure you select the option Myself and others when answering the eMed testing questionnaire under are you ordering for yourself or someone else?
- You must enter the full name (first and last) of each person taking the test–up to 3 people (2 tests per person.) If there are more members in your family, order additional kits and select Others when answering the testing questionnaire.
- Only the test purchaser can set up an eMed user account (any listed others do not need a separate eMed account.) You can only purchase tests if you are 18 years of age or older
- Receive tests shipped to your U.S. address (or find a local pick-up location)
- Create a digital health pass account and download the Navica app
- If you are traveling with family, each person (adult) must install Navica on their own device and create an account. For children under 15, set up a managed account in the app
- Pack two tests per person in your carry-on luggage
At this time, you can only purchase a 6-pack of tests from eMed. Although you need to pay upfront, your cost should be reimbursed by your health insurer.
This first step is very important. You must download the app and create a digital health pass account BEFORE your board your international flight to leave the country.
You can download the app for free, and it is compatible with both iOS and Android mobile devices. Once downloaded, simply enter in some basic information to create an account.
You must create a Managed Account for any children and minors 15 and under in the Navica app. You can also add other adult traveling companions to a managed account.
When you travel internationally, you need to get a COVID-19 viral test (regardless of vaccination status or citizenship) no more than 1 day before you travel by air into the United States (1 day before the departure of the first flight.) You must show your negative result to the airline before you board your flight.
DO NOT administer the test on your own without consulting an eMed Certified Guide. Self-administered tests do not receive a digital NAVICA™ Pass of a negative result.
To begin your test:
- Set aside some time a maximum of one day before you return to the U.S.
- Start your session by visiting emed.com and selecting “START TEST”
- Wait in the queue until you are prompted by an online guide to self-administer your nasal swab
- Receive your test result in the Navica app
- Scan the QR code of your encrypted digital pass to board your flight
Navigating around the app itself is extremely simple. Along the bottom, you’ll find a few tabs that provide you with your results in various forms.
To access your time-sensitive and encrypted digital health pass with QR code for scanning, click on “Pass”.
To share or print a PDF version of your negative test result, click on “Results”.
- Simple and easy to use
- Cost-effective at $25 a test–plus, health insurance should reimburse you for tests. eMed cannot bill your health insurance directly but, because of government mandate, eMed’s at-home COVID-19 test should be covered by your health insurance provider.
- Accept FSA or HSA payments for the at-home COVID-19 test kits
- No waiting in line at a public testing site
- Digital results sent to mobile phone via app and email
- Results come at 20 minutes or less
- Accepted (and partners with) several major airlines (United, American, and Delta to date)
What are the drawbacks?
- To the same point, this kit is only currently contracted with several airlines (uncertain if the test is accepted by their partner airlines)
- The time it takes from start to finish, often 30 minutes+
- Each person, including children, need to call in separately. You cannot combine tests within a family
- A good internet connection needed
- Only valid for re-entry to the U.S. (can’t be used to enter a foreign country)
If you are traveling with children under 15, you must create a managed account in the NAVICA app.
You can also use Navica’s managed account for aging disabled parents or loved ones and any person whom you manage their healthcare.
- Log into Navica App using your credentials (must be an adult that’s already created an account)
- Choose the profile icon at the top
- Tap Add a Managed Profile
- Choose the Add a Managed Profile button
- Scroll and read through the Managed Profile agreement and tap Yes
- Add your child’s or minor’s details including full name and date of birth
- Type in their address details (even if these details are the same as yours)
- Add further details like gender, ethnicity, and so forth and tap Create Profile
- Once Navica creates your child’s or minor’s profile, tap Done
- Repeat for any additional minors or children
Additional thoughts and tips
While traveling to Italy in August 2021, I utilized eMed and the Navica app to get my negative COVID-19 test before returning to the U.S. The testing kits don’t take up much space in your luggage, and the app is simple to set up and use.
I found the proctored test to be very structured and easy to follow. You’ll be on a video chat with a certified guide. They will be able to see you (in order to verify you are completing the nasal swab correctly), but you will only be able to hear (and not see) them.
Even though the time from completing the nasal swab to getting my test results took a mere 20-25 minutes, waiting in the queue to be paired with a proctor took about an hour and a half to two hours!
The nice thing about this is you can set it and forget it. Choose an evening when you are back lounging in your hotel. Get in the queue, and just watch a movie or answer emails while you wait.
As someone who has also stood in line at a public testing site, I spent about two and a half hours of my time from start to finish.
So, the waiting time is similar whether you do the COVID-19 testing at home or in public. I still think that being able to wait while you watch a movie is better than standing out on a busy street to get the same result.