Starting Saturday, private health plans are required to cover over-the-counter tests for up to $12 per test. Consumers can purchase the test kits at no cost or submit receipts for reimbursement by 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 covered in full by the insurance without limit.
President Joe Biden announced the federal requirement for insurance companies in December and authorities said Monday it would start on January 15.
►Looking for a COVID test?:Here are some tips for finding home test kits and getting them for free
“This is all part of our overall strategy to increase access to easy-to-use 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 home testing, we are further expanding the ability of Americans to get free testing when they need it.”
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 comply with the administration’s order, but warned consumers 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 the network of their pharmacy benefit manager, Prime, “there is no need to file a claim. separately for reimbursement. ”
Aetna updated your website Friday with new FAQs about the new requirement. The site said more information about how members can file claims will be available soon.
Biden Free COVID Testing Plan
The Biden Administration launch a website where Americans can request free COVID-19 tests Wednesday, January 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 told The Associated Press. journalists.
Biden announced earlier this week that the administration would double his order by purchasing an additional 500 million at-home COVID-19 tests amid a nationwide testing shortage that has led to long lines at testing sites. and overburdened hospitals.
How do I get a free home COVID-19 test with insurance?
According to the government frequent questionsAs of January 15, “most people with a health plan can go online, or go to a pharmacy or store to buy an over-the-counter COVID-19 diagnostic test at home authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) at no cost, either through reimbursement or free through your insurance.”
How much is the COVID home test reimbursement?
Insurance companies are required to reimburse up to $12 per individual test or the cost of the test if it is less than $12. If the price of the test is more than $12 each, the consumer must pay the difference.
Can I be reimbursed for previous purchases of COVID tests?
Most likely not. This will vary by insurance, but plans and issuers are not required by federal law to “provide such coverage for home over-the-counter COVID-19 tests purchased before January 15,” says the government FAQ, which suggests that consumers contact their health plans. to inquire about refunding previous trial purchases. Some states already require coverage for home testing.
What about COVID testing at testing sites? Will they still be open?
Insurers must pay for coronavirus tests administered at testing sites and doctors’ offices, which can cost $100 or more, under previous legislation passed by Congress to address the pandemic. Home tests, which consumers can buy without a prescription at retail stores or online, are less expensive.
How long will it take to receive test refunds?
“Health plans are encouraged to provide prompt reimbursement for home testing claims, and consumers can find out directly from their plan how their claims process works and ask questions about reimbursement timing,” the government said in a statement. frequent questions.
Will Medicare pay for home COVID tests?
Americans with Medicare won’t be able to get reimbursed for at-home testing through the federal insurance plan, but some Medicare Advantage plans may cover and pay for over-the-counter COVID-19 tests. The Medicare website says to check with your Advantage plan to see if it will cover and pay for the tests.
Will Medicaid and other government plans cover the tests?
As part of the American Rescue Plan, FDA-authorized home COVID-19 testing must be covered by state Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) programs. Coverage rules may vary by state, the federal government said.
Can people without insurance get free trials?
Those who are not on a covered insurance plan can receive free tests through the upcoming federal website or from some local community centers and pharmacies.
How can I request free COVID testing from the government?
“Every household in the US will soon be able to request 4 free at-home COVID-19 tests. The tests will be completely free, there are no shipping costs and there is no need to enter a credit card number,” according to a message on the government website.
What is the website to order free COVID tests?
The website to request free COVID testing is covidtests.gov.
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Contribution: Associated Press; Courtney Subramanian, Maureen Groppe and Ken Alltucker, USA TODAY
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism