(WKBN) – Beginning Saturday, some at-home rapid COVID-19 tests will be free.
This comes after the White House announced a new policy in which people covered by a health insurance plan could get reimbursed for over-the-counter COVID-19 diagnostic tests that have been authorized, cleared or approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
Each month, the insurance companies will be required to cover up to eight tests per person.
“Under President Biden’s leadership, 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,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra.
As part of the requirement, the Administration is incentivizing insurers and group health plans to set up programs that allow people to get the over-the-counter tests directly through preferred pharmacies, retailers or other entities with no out-of-pocket costs.
The cost of the test will be covered upfront when you get it from one of these preferred locations. So, you wouldn’t have to submit a claim for reimbursement. Still, if you do purchase a test from an outside network, you’ll get reimbursed at a rate of up to $12 per individual test.
At a news briefing Monday, press secretary Jen Psaki said the free tests should be coming within weeks.
“The contracts [for testing companies] are structured in a way to require that significant amounts are delivered on an aggressive timeline, the first of which should be arriving early next week,” Psaki said.
One thing to note, people on Medicare will not be able to get their at-home COVID-19 tests reimbursed through the program, according to the Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services. This is because Medicare already offers COVID-19 diagnostic tests, such as PCR and antigen tests, free to covered individuals. The test just has to be, “ordered by either a physician, non-physician practitioner, pharmacist, or other authorized health care professional,” the Biden administration says.
Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program plans are required to fully cover the cost of at-home tests.
The White House also announced it would be purchasing 500 million at-home rapid tests to give out to Americans for free. This could benefit those who do not have insurance. A website will be set up for people to request the test be delivered to them.
You can find out more information from your insurer about how they will cover over-the-counter tests.
You can find more information about the policy here.