Americans with health insurance can get up to eight at-home COVID-19 tests for free thanks to a new requirement.
Starting Saturday, private health plans are required to cover the over-the-counter tests at up to $12 per test. Consumers can either purchase the testing kits at no cost or submit receipts for reimbursement from the insurance company.
A family of five could be reimbursed for up to 40 tests per month under the plan. PCR tests and rapid tests ordered or administered by a health provider will continue to be fully covered by insurance with no limit.
President Joe Biden announced the federal requirement for insurance companies in December and officials said Monday that it would begin Jan. 15.
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“This is all part of our overall strategy to ramp up access to easy-to-use, at-home tests at no cost,” Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement Monday. “By requiring private health plans to cover people’s at-home tests, we are further expanding Americans’ ability to get tests for free when they need them.”
The administration is trying to incentivize private insurers to cover the tests up-front and without a cumbersome reimbursement process.
Health insurance industry groups have said insurers would carry out the administration’s order, but cautioned consumers that it won’t be as easy as flipping a switch.
Health Care Service Corporation or HCSC, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, told USA TODAY that if a member uses a pharmacy in its pharmacy benefit manager’s network, Prime, “they do not need to submit a separate claim for reimbursement.”
Aetna updated its website Friday with new frequently asked questions about the new requirement. The site said more information on how members can submit claims will soon be available.
Biden free COVID tests plan
The Biden administration will launch a website where Americans can order free COVID-19 tests Wednesday, Jan. 19.
The tests, part of the administration’s purchase of 500 million tests last month to help tackle a record surge in infections, will be mailed to homes within seven to 12 days, according to an official who briefed reporters.
Biden announced earlier this week the administration would double its order with the purchase of an additional 500 million at-home COVID-19 tests amid a shortage of tests nationwide that’s led to long lines at testing locations and overburdened hospitals…ReadMore…