A quick, at-home COVID-19 test in pharmacies and stores will soon cost nothing, but you still need to pay upfront and save the receipt.
The White House announced last week that private medical insurance will cover over-the-counter testing, and more details will be announced on January 15, 2022.
“More than 150 million Americans with private health insurance will be able to submit receipts from home tests directly to their health insurance plan so they can go to their local pharmacy, they can order online and then get reimbursed,” the White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeffrey Zients said on Friday.
“For those who do not have private insurance, we will provide free testing in places convenient to their communities, such as clinics and community centers, starting this month.”
The US Food and Drug Administration has authorized the use of self-collected samples for more than a dozen tests at home.
These kits include a swab for people to insert into their nose—but not usually as deep as in traditional tests—and a test card or portable device into which the sample is inserted and automatically analyzed. The results are usually available within a few minutes.
Rapid test is an antigen test that detects specific proteins in the virus and can provide faster results with less laboratory work.
But it is not as sensitive as molecular tests (often called PCR tests) that detect the genetic material of viruses. (The home collection tools used for molecular testing still allow people to wipe their noses, but samples must be mailed to the laboratory for analysis, which may take several days.)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention pointed out that testing, including at-home testing, is essential to help reduce the spread of the virus.
Sabrina Corlette, co-director of the Health Insurance Reform Center at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Medicine, said that a plan that allows health insurance companies to cover the cost of rapid testing will help consumers, but “it’s all the same anyway. Not a panacea”. Public policy in Washington.
“This does not remove the barriers that exist-for some people, it may lower them slightly,” Colette told Today.
“The problem for me is that if someone has been exposed to the virus or has symptoms, they should not hesitate. They should be able to test immediately without worrying about the cost… (testing) should be free and it should be easier than it is now People provide and access… this is not rocket science.”
Some other countries have done this. For example, in the United Kingdom, a government website allows people to order a free package containing seven quick COVID-19 tests per day and send it to their homes.
But in the United States, the cost of a pair of rapid tests is about $25. Corlette pointed out that the entire family usually has to be tested, so for a couple with three children, the prepayment may be enough to make some people hesitant.
David Allen, a spokesperson for the U.S. Health Insurance Program, said that the details of the Biden government plan have not yet been announced, and health insurance providers are working hard to ensure that they understand “the full impact of these actions on Americans.” association.
This includes ensuring that “price fraud does not spread to OTC testing, protecting consumers from higher premiums, and clear rules and guidance that enable these efforts to be effectively implemented,” Allen added.
When you want to reimburse for out-of-network visits or surgery, this may be similar to the process you have with a health insurance company. Save the receipt and mail it to your insurance company or upload it through the online portal.
“Now, every insurance company has a slightly different approach, and to be honest…you have to jump over many obstacles to get reimbursement,” Colette said.
“So I hope the Biden government really emphasizes and requires insurance companies to provide standard forms, so that consumers can complete this process very simply and easily.”
Corlette points out that this is possible because if they make it “very easy” for customers to get the test for free without having to submit paperwork, it might give them a competitive advantage. But she did not expect that federal regulations would require pharmacies to do so.
Corlette said that it is not yet clear, but the government may allow insurance companies to limit the number of tests that can be purchased at any time.
“Because if you know you will get 100% reimbursement, what will stop people from buying 100 tests?” she pointed out.
There is no news so far. Corlette believes that the plan will not be retroactive, but she still urges those who purchased the test today to save their receipts just in case, and may try to submit them when the policy is fully effective next year.
Experts worry that the cost of conducting rapid COVID-19 tests at home will rise because manufacturers know that insurance companies must now bear 100% of the cost of these kits and increase prices.
A. Pawlowski is the Senior Contributing Editor of Today, focusing on health news and special reports. Before that, she was a writer, producer and editor for CNN.

Post time: Dec-09-2021