At-Home COVID-19 Testing Now Covered by Insurance
Effective January 15, Health Insurers must cover the cost of COVID-19 testing kits.
Beginning Saturday, January 15, individuals with group and private health insurance coverage may ask for reimbursement for up to eight at-home COVID-19 test kits per month.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, individuals who purchase over the counter COVID-19 diagnostic tests during the public health emergency will be able to seek reimbursement from their health plan or insurance provider.
Eight tests per month must be reimbursed by your insurance company for each member under the health plan, with no deductibles or cost-sharing. For example, a family of four with health insurance would qualify for 32 free COIVD-19 test kits a month.
Doctor’s authorization will not be required for the cost of COVID-19 test kits to be reimbursed. Rapid at-home tests are typically sold in packs of two, ranging in cost from about $14 to $34.
PCR tests and rapid tests ordered or administered by a health provider will continue to be covered by insurance with no limit. Additional kits that are not covered by the health plan are eligible to be paid with a Health Savings Account or Flexible Spending Account.
The Department of Labor outlined the requirements for health plans to pay for COVID-19 test kits int this DOL FAQ.
To be reimbursed, the COVID tests must be approved by the U.S Food and Drug Administration. Find a full list of approved rapid antigen tests from the FDA here.
Only tests purchased on or after January 15 will be required to be reimbursed, according to the Biden Administration. Some insurers may choose to cover the costs of at-home tests purchased earlier but are not required to.
Individuals will most likely have to log onto their health insurance companies’ websites to file a claim. Check with your insurance provider to see the proper protocol to file a claim and receive reimbursement. Of note, some providers are considering setting up networks of “preferred pharmacies” where individuals can get tests with no out-of-pocket costs.
If you don’t have Health Insurance, you can get a test for free at U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Health Centers, or at other testing centers run by your local states or municipality, as well as schools.