Health insurers prepare for Biden directive to pay for at-home COVID tests

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — It may be easier to get your hands on an at-home COVID test now than it was over the holidays, but the costs remain and can add up if you are testing regularly. The federal government has directed health insurers to make it less expensive.

“For those of you with insurance, you can get reimbursed for eight tests a month,” President Biden said in a press conference Thursday.

President Biden first announced Monday that private health insurers will be required to cover eight tests per person in a household each month. This applies to tests purchased on or after Saturday, January 15. The coverage does not include Americans on Medicare, but those individuals can still receive free COVID tests from community health centers and Medicare-certified health clinics.

The Biden administration is also trying to incentivize private insurers to cover the cost of tests up-front as an alternative option to reimbursement. Health insurance providers have spent the past few days setting up the framework for covering the cost of tests for members.

“It’s a pretty tight timeline that we are working on, but we are working around the clock to get this implemented by Saturday, the effective date,” said Ali Skinner, Vice President of Communications Strategy at CDPHP.

Skinner is asking people to be patient while CDPHP works to implement the federal directive and to check the CDPHP website for updates.

“If you are able to secure those supplies, just save your receipts so that way we are able to document that in the future, but supply is a real issue right now,” Skinner said.

President Biden is working on other ways to make at-home testing more accessible.

“We’re on track to roll out a website next week where you can order tests, shipped to your home,” Biden said.

In New York State, Governor Kathy Hochul’s administration announced in December a similar initiative: A portal where people could order at home PCR tests that would be mailed overnight. However, that portal has not yet been set up and there is no word on when it will go live.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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