As part of an effort to combat infections during the winter months, the Biden administration said today, that private health insurance will soon be required to cover the expense of at-home Covid-19 tests.
Over 150 million Americans, who have private insurance, will be able to receive reimbursement for speedy tests, under the new policy, as long as they file their bills for reimbursement.
The change is part of a larger push to promote more widespread testing in an effort to halt the virus’ transmission and better track of the growing Omicron form. The administration also revealed a broad campaign today to make Covid-19 vaccinations more widely available and accessible ahead of the winter season.
During the public health emergency, the administration seems to be relying on authority in the legislation, ‘Families First Coronavirus Response,’ which instructs private insurers to give coverage and not impose cost-sharing for diagnostic tests that diagnose Covid-19.
When will this new plan take place?
The requirement, however, will not be implemented right away. Three federal departments— HHS (Health and Human Services), Labor, and Treasury—must still offer official guidelines on the reimbursement obligation, which may not be released until January 15, 2022.
According to a senior administration official, the upcoming policy change will not be retroactive, which means that people will not be able to get reimbursed for at-home tests they have already ordered. It’s also unclear if the total of at-home tests that can be submitted for reimbursement would be limited.
What will the insurers not cover in this plan?
It appears that insurers will continue to be exempt from covering costs associated with workplace screening programs; according to a White House information sheet, such testing will “remain consistent with current recommendations.”
The regulation will also not extend to Americans who are covered by public programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, as well as those who are uninsured. Separately, the White House announced plans to increase the number of free tests delivered via community sites, notably rural clinics, from 25 million to 50 million.