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At-Home Covid Tests To Be Covered By Insurers Starting Saturday

            The Biden administration announced yesterday afternoon that starting this Saturday, private insurance companies will be required to reimburse 150 million Americans for their at-home COVID-19 tests. In a statement, Health and Human Services Secretary, Xavier Becerra, stated, “We are requiring insurers and group health plans to make tests free for millions of Americans. This is all part of our overall strategy to ramp-up access to easy-to-use, at-home tests at no cost.”

            As part of the new policy, individuals covered by a health insurance plan who purchase an over-the-counter COVID-19 test authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will be able to have those tests covered by their insurance provider. Insurance companies will be required to cover eight tests per individual covered by the plan (meaning a family of four is eligible to receive 32 at-home tests). However, certain insurance companies may only be required to cover up to $12 per individual test, and we all know that most tests cost much more than that.

            Although the Biden administration is encouraging insurers to allow those they cover to buy tests with no up-front costs and send the bill directly to them, it is unclear whether many will do so or when they will start that process. It is possible certain insurers may send those they insure to preferred providers where up-front costs will not be necessary.

            If you are on Medicare, you will not be able to get your at-home tests reimbursed through the program, and those under Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program plans are still required to fully cover the cost on their own. Still, some tests are eligible to purchase through savings and health savings accounts. Plus, the federal government has announced they will be sending 50 million free tests to community centers and Medicare clinics across the country. The Biden administration has also purchased almost 500 million tests that they say will soon be available to purchase online for those without healthcare.

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