As of Saturday, private health plans are required to cover the over-the-counter tests up to $12 per test. Consumers can purchase the test kits for free or submit receipts for reimbursement to 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 performed by a healthcare provider will remain fully covered by insurance with no limit.
President Joe Biden announced the federal requirement for insurance companies in December and officials said Monday it would begin on January 15.
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“This is all part of our overall strategy to improve access to easy-to-use, at-home testing 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 tests, we are expanding Americans’ ability to get free tests when they need them.”
The administration is trying to incentivize private insurers to cover the tests upfront and without a cumbersome reimbursement process.
Groups in the health insurance industry have said insurers would carry out the administration’s order, but warned consumers it won’t be as easy as flipping a switch.
Health Care Service Corporation of 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 its pharmacy benefits manager, Prime, “they do not have to file a separate claim for reimbursement. ”
Aetna updated her website Friday with new FAQs about the new requirement. The site said more information will be available soon on how members can submit claims.
Biden Free COVID Test Plan
Biden’s government will launch a website where Americans can order free COVID-19 tests Wednesday 19 January.
The tests, part of the government’s purchase of 500 million tests last month to tackle a record surge in infections, will be sent home in seven to 12 days, according to an official who informed reporters.
Biden announced earlier this week that the administration would double its order to purchase an additional 500 million COVID-19 home tests, amid a shortage of testing across the country, which has led to long lines at test sites and overloaded hospitals.
How do I get a free COVID-19 test at home with insurance?
According to the government Frequently Asked QuestionsAs of Jan. 15, “most people with a health plan can go online, or go to a pharmacy or retail store, to purchase a home over-the-counter COVID-19 diagnostic test approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) at no cost, either through refund or free through their insurance.”
How much is the COVID home test fee?
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 get a refund for past COVID test purchases?
Most likely no. This will vary by insurance, but plans and issuers are not required by federal law to “provide such coverage for over-the-counter COVID-19 tests purchased at home before Jan. 15,” according to the government FAQ, in which It is suggested that consumers contact their health plans to request reimbursement of previous test purchases. Some states already require home testing coverage.
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What about COVID testing at test sites? Will they stay open?
Insurers must pay for coronavirus tests administered at testing sites and medical offices, which can cost $100 or more, based on previous legislation passed by Congress to address the pandemic. Home tests, which consumers can buy in stores or online without a prescription, are cheaper.
How long will it take to receive test fees?
“Health plans are encouraged to quickly reimburse claims for home testing, and consumers can read directly from their plan how their claim process works and ask questions about the timing of refunds,” according to the government’s FAQ.
Will Medicare pay for at-home COVID testing?
Americans with Medicare cannot be reimbursed for at-home tests through the federal insurance plan, but some Medicare Advantage Plans may cover and pay for over-the-counter COVID-19 testing. The Medicare website says to contact 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, Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) programs are required to cover FDA-authorized COVID-19 testing at home. Coverage rules may vary by state, according to the federal government.
Can the uninsured get free tests?
Those who do not have a covered insurance plan can receive free tests through the forthcoming federal website or from some local community centers and pharmacies.
How can I order free COVID tests from the government?
“Every home in the US will soon be able to order 4 free home COVID-19 tests. The tests are completely free – there are no shipping costs and you do not have to enter a credit card number,” reads a message on the government website.
What is the website to order free COVID tests?
The website for ordering free COVID tests is Covidtests.gov.
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Contributions: Associated Press; Courtney Subramanian, Maureen Groppe and Ken Alltucker, USA TODAY