WASHINGTON — COVID-19 testing is at an all-time high in Washington, and public testing sites are struggling to keep up.
As state leaders scramble to boost testing supplies — Governor Jay Inslee announced the purchase of 5.5 million take-out tests last week — long lines at test sites public test have made securing a test a test. Recently, Pierce County had to close its longtime Lakewood testing site over concerns that overcrowding posed a safety risk. On Tuesday, the county opened an alternate site in Spanaway, which immediately saw a wait time of over an hour. Similar overcrowding issues have also been reported in neighboring King County.
Fortunately, another free testing option will soon be available to some Washingtonians. Starting Jan. 15, Washingtonians with private insurance will have free access to over-the-counter COVID-19 tests at home under a new Biden administration rule that will require insurance companies to cover the cost of testing. . Tests can be purchased online or at a pharmacy or store, and they will be covered by a health plan or by reimbursement.
“We’re demanding insurers and group health plans make testing free for millions of Americans. It’s all part of our overall strategy to accelerate access to easy-to-use, no-cost home testing.” “said Health and Human. Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a news release Monday.
Under the rule, insurance companies and health plans will be required to cover eight free home tests per covered person per month. A doctor’s note is not required to obtain the tests, which must be licensed, licensed, or approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration.
This means that a family of four under the same insurance plan would be eligible for up to 32 free tests per month; however, there is no limit to the number of tests covered if ordered or administered by a healthcare provider.
The Biden administration also said it was “encouraging” insurers and group health plans to set up programs for people in Washington to get over-the-counter tests directly through pharmacies, retailers or stores. ‘other preferred entities with no reimbursable expenses.
If you don’t have private insurance or coverage through a group plan, you still have access to free testing through mass testing sites. Here’s how to find local mass testing sites in your area:
Of the 5.5 million tests recently ordered by Governor Inslee, 3.5 million will go to a new web portal powered by Amazon, which will allow all Washingtonians to order free rapid tests delivered directly to their doorsteps. The state has not yet specified when this portal will go live, but has promised that it will launch around the middle of the month. When it does, all Washingtonians will also be eligible to receive testing under the program.