How to get insurance to pay for at-home COVID tests, White House says

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A health worker collects home COVID-19 test kits that will be distributed last month in Youngstown, Ohio. Starting Saturday, private health insurers will be required to cover up to eight at-home COVID-19 tests per month for those on their plans, the Biden administration announced Monday.
David Dermar/AP

The Biden administration on Monday announced new details on how Americans can get free COVID-19 tests — or get reimbursements from their private insurance. This follows an announcement made by the White House last month.

Under the new policy announcement by the White House, individuals covered by a health insurance plan who purchase an over-the-counter COVID-19 diagnostic test that has been cleared, cleared, or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will be able to have those costs covered. test by their insurance from this Saturday.

Insurance companies and health plans will be required to cover eight free, over-the-counter home tests per covered person per month, according to White House officials. For example, a family of four on the same plan could get up to 32 of these tests covered by their health plan per month.

“We demand insurers and group health plans make testing free for millions of Americans. This is all part of our overall strategy to accelerate access to easy-to-use, no-cost home testing,” Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a press release on Monday. .

During Monday’s White House press briefing, press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters the administration would begin offering free COVID testing “in the coming weeks.”

“The contracts (for the test companies) are structured to require significant quantities to be delivered within an aggressive timeframe, the first of which is expected to arrive early next week,” Psaki said.

“We also expect to have details on the website as well as a hotline later this week,” Psaki added.

The Biden administration says it is “urging” insurers and group health plans to set up programs that will allow Americans to get over-the-counter tests (PCR and rapid tests) directly through pharmacies, retailers or other preferred outlet-free entities. pocket charges.

For people whose health care provider has ordered a COVID-19 test, the Biden administration has said there will be no limit on the number of tests covered, including home tests.

Currently, the State Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program must cover FDA-authorized home COVID-19 testing without cost sharing.

Americans covered by Medicare already have their COVID-19 diagnostic tests performed by a laboratory, such as PCR and antigen tests, “without cost sharing with beneficiaries when the test is ordered by a doctor, a non-physician practitioner, a pharmacist, or other licensed healthcare professional,” the Biden administration says.

Last year, the Biden administration issued guidelines stating that State Medicaid and CHIP programs must cover all types of FDA-authorized COVID-19 testing without cost sharing.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To learn more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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