(HealthDay News) — Private insurers will have to cover the cost of eight at-home COVID-19 tests per person per month as of Saturday, the Biden administration announced Monday.
Under the plan, people who provide their insurance information at certain pharmacies will be able to get the tests with no out-of-pocket costs, while others will have to file claims to their insurers for reimbursement, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said.
“This is all part of our overall strategy to ramp up access to easy-to-use, at-home tests at no cost,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement. “We have more than tripled the number of sites where people can get COVID-19 tests for free, and we’re also purchasing half a billion at-home, rapid tests to send for free to Americans who need them. 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.”
If tests are bought at an out-of-network site, insurance companies that waive members’ upfront costs for COVID-19 tests at certain retailers will be charged no more than $12 per test, the new rules say. Otherwise, insurers will have to pay the full price of a test, The New York Times reported. Tests ordered or conducted by a health care provider will continue to be covered by insurance without a copayment or a deductible, Biden administration officials said.
Some local governments in the United States have recently invested more heavily in rapid testing to counter this latest wave of cases caused by the omicron variant. Washington, D.C., for example, now allows residents to pick up four free rapid tests daily at eight libraries across the city, The Times reported.