To reduce the spread of COVID-19, mitigate future variants, and quickly and effectively treat those infected by the virus, the White House is shifting gears to boost testing in the United States. To do this, the administration is increasing access to tests by removing financial barriers and increasing test availability.
Coverage And Reimbursement Rules
As part of their plan, the Biden administration has implemented rules that will push much of the costs of at-home tests onto insurers and group health plans. As Xavier Becerra, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, explained:
We are requiring insurers and group health plans to make tests free for millions of Americans. This is all part of our overall strategy to ramp up access to easy-to-use, at-home tests at no cost.
The rule covers up to eight tests per month per individual member of an insurance plan. For example, a family of three covered under the same insurance plan could have up to 24 tests covered by their health insurance per month, as long as the tests meet the approval of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
It is important to note that individuals cannot grab a test from anywhere they are available and expect to have the price covered in full by their insurance company. Insurers may set up a network of preferred stores, pharmacies, and online retailers where consumers can receive tests with no up-front costs. If a test is purchased from a different source, insurers and health plans are expected to reimburse individuals up to $12 per test.
In addition, the administration has formally launched COVIDTests.gov, which allows every residential household in the U.S. to order four free at-home tests regardless of insurance status. Currently, the administration is making one billion tests available through this website and there is a maximum of one order per residential address. Upon ordering, only the individual’s name and mailing address are required.
COVID-19 tests are a vital tool in creating a safe and healthy workplace during the pandemic as they greatly reduce exposure among employees. Employers should take measures to ensure their employees are aware of the latest COVID-19 guidelines and relief programs. Try out the following email template to communicate this announcement with your organization!
Hi [First Name],
COVID-19 testing is a highly effective tool for decreasing the prevalence and severity of COVID-19 cases in [Employer Name]’s workplace, at home, and in other communities.
On January 19, the Biden administration launched a government site to distribute a billion free COVID-19 tests in addition to the 375 million at-home rapid tests on the market.
To access your free tests, follow the steps below:
- Visit COVIDTests.gov
- Select “Order free at-home test”
- Enter your contact information, including name and email address (no credit card information is required)
- Select “Check out now”
If you or your household would like to acquire more than four individual tests, we suggest you take advantage of other methods of testing, including free testing sites or over-the-counter tests at pharmacies and retail locations.
- Insurance reimbursement for at-home tests: Your health insurance company will pay you back up to $12 per test for eight at-home tests per month for each person on the plan. Learn More
- Free testing sites: No-cost antigen and PCR COVID-19 tests are available to everyone in the U.S., including the uninsured, at more than 20,000 sites nationwide. Learn More
Please don’t hesitate to reach out if we can provide additional details or resources.