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Health insurers to pay for home COVID tests

Beginning Saturday, people who purchase over-the-counter COVID tests can have them paid for by their health insurers.

Insurance companies and health plans will be required to cover the costs of up to eight at-home tests per person, according to a new policy announced this week by the White House.

Health insurers are being incentivized by the Biden administration to allow people to get over-the-counter PCR and rapid tests directly through pharmacies and retailers at no cost.

However, those on Medicare will not be able to get at-home COVID tests reimbursed through the new program. Though people covered by Medicare already have no beneficiary cost-sharing for COVID tests that are performed by a laboratory when the test is ordered by either a physician, non-physician practitioner, pharmacist, or other authorized healthcare professional. State Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program cover FDA-authorized at-home COVID-19 tests without cost-sharing.

“We are requiring insurers and group health plans to make tests free for millions of Americans,” Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a press release. “This is all part of our overall strategy to ramp-up access to easy-to-use, at-home tests at no cost.”

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