Updates to our Terms of Use

We are updating our Terms of Use. Please carefully review the updated Terms before proceeding to our website.

Monday, May 13, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

US orders private insurers to start covering at-home Covid tests

Starting Saturday, private health insurers will cover up to eight at-home Covid-19 tests per-person per-month.

WASHINGTON (CN)— Most Americans with private or group health insurance will have the cost of at-home Covid-19 tests covered by their providers starting Jan. 15.

Health and Human Services announced the move Monday as retailers struggle to keep up with demand for at-home tests sold over the counter in pharmacies during what has been a weekslong spike in coronavirus cases caused by the highly transmissible omicron variant.

Insurance companies and health plans will cover eight free tests per-person per-month, and there is no limit on rapid or PCR tests for people who have been determined to have a greater testing need by a medical professional.

The agency is requiring insurers to cover the cost of tests up front at preferred pharmacies and reimburse the cost of at-home tests purchased outside of preferred network locations for up to $12 per test.

Typical plan requirements such as deductibles or co-pays don't apply to the new policy.

"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," Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement.

State Medicaid plans are required to cover at-home Covid-19 tests, and Medicare pays for PCR and antigen lab tests. Health and Human Services advised people enrolled in state-run health care plans to check whether their plan covers at-home Covid-19 tests.

While the cost of testing is one hurdle to reign in the spread of omicron, at-home testing availability remains another with many pharmacy shelves empty and orders delayed.

Becerra said in a statement that the Biden administration is working on purchasing half a billion rapid tests that will be mailed to American households.

“Testing is critically important to help reduce the spread of Covid-19, as well as to quickly diagnose Covid-19 so that it can be effectively treated. Today’s action further removes financial barriers and expands access to Covid-19 tests for millions of people,” CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure said in a statement.

Follow @@rosemwagner
Categories / Government, Health, National

Subscribe to Closing Arguments

Sign up for new weekly newsletter Closing Arguments to get the latest about ongoing trials, major litigation and hot cases and rulings in courthouses around the U.S. and the world.