Insurers Will Cover At-Home COVID-19 Tests Beginning Jan. 15
If you have health insurance, here's what you need to know about how to get your free at-home COVID-19 tests.
- Beginning Jan. 15, insurers will be required to cover the cost of at-home COVID-19 testing.
- If you're insured, be sure to take advantage of this upcoming policy change.
Throughout the pandemic, Americans have been responsible for the cost of at-home COVID-19 tests. Soon that's about to change for many. Beginning on Jan. 15, health insurance companies will be required to cover the cost of at-home COVID-19 tests. This change will make it easier for Americans to get tested quickly without worrying about the added expense.
In Dec., the Biden administration announced an upcoming policy change that would require insurers to reimburse for at-home testing costs. Since that news, details have been announced, and qualifying individuals and families can expect these testing costs to be taken care of by their insurance within the coming days.
Americans have had access to free testing at health care clinics, pharmacies, and urgent care facilities, but they were responsible for purchasing at-home testing kits. Since many free testing clinics around the country are fully booked or have limited appointment availability, people have no other option but to use at-home tests -- and they're not cheap.
Here's what you need to know about at-home COVID-19 tests
Beginning Jan. 15, insurance companies will need to cover the cost of FDA approved at-home COVID-19 tests. No deductibles, co-payments, or co-insurance, or prior authorization requirements apply. If you have private insurance or are part of a group health plan, you qualify.
Insurers are being incentivized to set up programs that will allow individuals to pick up tests directly at preferred pharmacies without paying out-of-pocket costs. This kind of program would eliminate the need to file a claim for reimbursement and make it quick and easy to get tests.
But insured individuals can also buy over-the-counter tests and have the costs reimbursed later. If you purchase a test on your own, your insurance company will be required to cover up to $12 per individual test. This will give individuals and families more flexibility, allowing them to buy tests whenever it's convenient, including the option to purchase tests online.
Insurers will be required to cover up to eight tests per individual, per month. A couple covered under the same health care plan, for example, would be able to get up to 16 tests covered per month. However, there is no limit to the number of covered tests if a healthcare provider orders tests.
Remember, only tests purchased on or after Jan. 15, 2022, will be covered. If you want to learn more about the reimbursement process or find out about whether your insurer has preferred pharmacy or retail locations where you can pick up tests without paying out-of-pocket, you'll need to contact your insurance company directly.
Other ways to get free at-home COVID-19 tests
If you're currently uninsured, don't worry -- there will be other ways to obtain free tests. The Biden Administration has promised to increase testing availability to all. This policy change is an example of actions that have been taken to help Americans get the tests they need.
There are other plans to increase testing access. The administration is providing 500 million at-home COVID-19 tests directly to households. A website will soon be available and those interested can request tests to be mailed to their homes. Additionally, the government will provide 50 million free at-home tests to community health centers around the country.
If you've been buying over-the-counter COVID-19 tests and have been frustrated with the cost of tests, this upcoming change may help you keep more money in your pocket. Every little bit of money saved can make a difference and get you closer to achieving your financial goals.
If you're looking for ways to save money in your daily life, check out these personal finance resources for tips.
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