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Insurance Providers Covering Home COVID Tests Starting This Weekend

by Samantha Whidden
(Photo Illustration by Toby Scott/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The Biden administration announced on Monday (January 10th) that insurance providers will be covering home COVID tests starting this upcoming weekend.

According to CNBC, private health insurers will be required to cover up to eight home COVID-19 tests per month for people on their plans. The new policy will help Americans to either purchase home testing kits for free under their insurance premiums. Or the premium holder can submit receipts for the tests for reimbursement. There will be up to a monthly per-person limit. 

In a statement, Health and Human Services Secretary, Xavier Becerra, explained that the change is part of the administration’s strategy to “ramp up” access to easy-to-use at-home tests at no cost. “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 Biden administration previously announced the federal requirement at the end of 2021. But did not necessarily disclose details about the plan. This new requirement is only for tests people buy on or after January 15th. The purchases after that day qualify for reimbursement. However, some insurers may choose to cover the cost of at-home tests purchased before January 15th.

Unfortunately, Americans on Medicare will not be able to get tests reimbursed through federal insurance plans. But Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program are to cover the cost of at-home tests fully. Those who are not on a covered insurance plan may receive free tests through the forthcoming federal website. They can also get tests at local community centers and pharmacies. 

Two New Over-the-Counter At-Home COVID Tests Are Now Available 

At the end of December, it was revealed that the Biden Administration has released two new over-the-counter at-home COVID tests to the market.

One of the tests is by SD Biosensor and distributed by Rocher. The other test is from Siemens. Both types of tests have received emergency use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Both tests went through evaluation through the administration’s accelerated pathway. This is in order to support the FDA review of tests. 

Becerra spoke about the new tests. “Increasing Americans’ access to easy-to-use, reliable COVID tests is a top priority for the Biden Administration.  And we are using all resources at our disposal to make more tests available and ramp up supply. Adding two new authorized tests will give Americans more options for testing at home. Which helps keep people safe and provides peace of mind.”

President Biden also recently announced that his administration will be purchasing half a billion at-home tests. They will be provided to Americans for free this winter, starting this month. There are also now 20,000 free testing sites throughout the U.S.