Who knew COVID-19 exams must turn out to be a line merchandise in your finances? Properly, there’s excellent news when you’ve been shelling out your hard-earned cash for exams.
Your medical insurance will now pay for eight free at-home COVID-19 exams monthly. The Biden administration introduced that, starting Saturday, January 15, you should purchase at-home exams on-line or at retailers and your insurance coverage firm will cowl them both up entrance or by reimbursement.
Let’s dig into what the White Home mentioned and how one can get these exams.
What Did the White Home Announce?
In January 2022, the White Home introduced that, as of January 15, every particular person can get eight free at-home FDA-approved COVID-19 exams a month coated by their non-public medical insurance.1 (In case your physician orders a check, don’t fear, it received’t depend towards your eight exams.)
The information ties in with a December 2021 announcement that the U.S. authorities shall be buying 1 billion at-home COVID-19 exams to be made freely accessible to Individuals upon request.2
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The Biden administration will work with sure pharmacies, retailers and different locations to assist folks get entry to the exams. A website and hotline for ordering the exams will quickly be up and working.
Which Insurance coverage Packages Cowl Free At-Dwelling COVID Checks?
In case you have non-public medical insurance, these exams at the moment are coated! The at-home exams had been as soon as solely reimbursable with a Well being Financial savings Account (HSA) however that’s now been expanded to incorporate all non-public medical insurance plans.3
If you happen to’re a part of a state Medicaid program or Kids’s Well being Insurance coverage Program (CHIP), the brand new requirement doesn’t apply since these applications had been already required to cowl FDA-authorized at-home exams below the American Rescue Plan.
If you happen to’re on Medicare, the brand new initiative additionally doesn’t apply as a result of you have already got entry to COVID-19 exams like PCR or antigen with no cost-sharing necessities—so long as your physician orders it.
In case you have a Medicare Benefit plan, double-check together with your insurers to see in the event that they cowl at-home kits.
Methods to Use Insurance coverage to Pay for At-Dwelling COVID Checks
So, right here’s what you are able to do to get your palms on a few of these free at-home COVID-19 exams.
First, test together with your insurance coverage firm to see if they’ve a listing of “most well-liked” pharmacies. These in-network places are probably the greatest methods to get the exams. You received’t want a prescription and received’t have to fret about paying your physician a go to. (In case your insurer doesn’t have a community of outlets, don’t fear. There are nonetheless methods you will get the exams.)
Ask your insurer if they provide direct protection for the exams. This implies you’ll be capable of simply stroll into any most well-liked location and get them free of charge up entrance.
If you happen to go to an in-network location—An at-home COVID-19 check normally prices round $12, however it should now be coated up entrance by your insurer.4
If you happen to go to an out-of-network place—Your insurer will nonetheless pitch in, however solely as much as a set quantity. They’re required to pay $12 per check—or $24 for a pack of two.5
Get them organized on-line—In accordance with the White Home, folks will quickly be capable of order at-home exams on-line, relying on availability. However take into account that a few of these exams are bought out. So don’t anticipate the whole lot to be up and working completely proper off the bat.
If for some purpose you must pay up entrance for the exams, hold your receipt so you possibly can file a declare together with your insurance coverage firm.
Which Checks Will Be Coated?
Bear in mind, the free exams need to be FDA-approved. So you possibly can’t be reimbursed for these at-home exams you got from that neighbor down the road who swore they had been legit (simply kidding, we all know you wouldn’t try this).
Try the FDA’s list of approved COVID-19 tests to see which of them are coated.
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How a lot is a COVID-19 check with out insurance coverage?
Most commercially accessible at-home COVID-19 exams will set you again round $12 per check.6 You possibly can generally get a reduction by buying a two-pack.
The place are you able to get a COVID-19 check?
Checks can be found at pharmacies, different retailers and on-line. (If you end up assembly a man in a darkish alleyway, that’s in all probability not one of the best place to purchase them . . .)
Do I’ve to pay up entrance and be reimbursed later?
It relies upon. If you happen to get a check at one in every of your insurer’s “most well-liked” pharmacies, you in all probability received’t pay something out of pocket. Nevertheless, in some circumstances, relying on the situation, you may find yourself paying up entrance and having to file a declare later.
Do I must name my medical insurance firm to see in the event that they cowl exams?
No. However you need to test together with your insurer to see which retailers they take into account “in-network.” This can make it simpler to get the exams.
If I don’t have medical insurance, can I nonetheless get free exams?
Sure, relying on availability. The Biden administration is shopping for 1 billion over-the-counter COVID-19 exams that may quickly be accessible to order on-line. Look ahead to extra info within the coming weeks (like this web site) about the place you possibly can get them organized. Additionally, some neighborhood well being facilities additionally give away free exams. So when you don’t have medical insurance, you continue to have some choices.
Can I be reimbursed for earlier exams I’ve bought earlier than January 15?
Possibly. Your insurance coverage firm received’t be required to reimburse you for any exams bought earlier than January 15, however they may nonetheless do it. By no means hurts to ask!