You Have A Week to Inventory Up on Free At-Residence COVID-19 Exams

You Have A Week to Inventory Up on Free At-Residence COVID-19 Exams

When the COVID-19 public well being emergency expires on the finish of the day on Could 11, many pandemic-era rules and programs will finish. Amongst them is the assure that Medicare and personal insurers will cover the costs of up to eight at-home COVID-19 tests per individual every month, a coverage that has been in place since 2022 and helped gas a rise in at-home diagnoses.

With no federal requirement, most well being insurers are free to make their very own choices about whether or not to reimburse some or all at-home testing prices shifting ahead. Which means, relying on insurance coverage protection, some Individuals should have the ability to get exams without cost, whereas others must pay retail costs of roughly $10 per take a look at (or round $20 per field of two, which is what number of are offered).

Right here’s how some main insurers are planning to deal with the tip of the general public well being emergency:

  • A consultant from Cigna didn’t reply to TIME’s remark requests by press time. Nevertheless, information posted on Cigna’s website says it should not cowl at-home exams beginning Could 12, 2023.
  • A consultant from UnitedHealthcare didn’t present a remark earlier than press time, however its website specifies that over-the-counter exams won’t be coated after Could 11 “until mandated by state regulatory necessities.” California state lawfor instance, extends the free testing provision by Nov. 11, 2023.
  • A consultant from Aetna declined to remark, however information posted online says it won’t cowl at-home exams starting Could 12.
  • Native chapters that make up the nationwide Blue Cross Blue Protect Affiliation will reimburse at-home testing prices by Could 11, confirmed govt vice chairman and chief company affairs officer Sean Robbins in a press release offered to TIME. After that, Blue Cross Blue Protect plans could implement “affordable limits on using exams.”
  • Kaiser Permanente, which is predicated in California, will present as much as eight free exams per thirty days by Nov. 11, 2023 to members in that state, besides these coated underneath Medicare Benefit plans. For individuals outdoors of California, “protection depends upon state or native mandates (and) in-network and out-of-network protection for COVID-19 vaccines, testing, and therapy,” a Kaiser Permanente consultant stated in a press release.
  • A spokesperson for the Facilities for Medicare and Medicaid Companies stated that, as soon as the general public well being emergency ends, “some Medicare Benefit plans could cowl and pay for (over-the-counter) COVID-19 exams as an additional advantage.” People who find themselves coated underneath Medicaid or the Kids’s Well being Insurance coverage Program will likely be eligible for free tests through September 2024.

Even when your well being insurer stops overlaying at-home exams, you could possibly buy them utilizing funds from a health savings account or flexible spending account. You might also have the ability to get free kits at your library, well being division, or by one other group group. And the federal government is still sending free kits to households who haven’t already claimed their allotted swabs.

Fast and PCR testing will proceed to be accessible in pharmacies and physician’s places of work, however customers could also be liable for some or all the prices, depending on their insurance.

The surest strategy to get free exams? Refill by your insurance coverage plan earlier than Could 12.

Extra Should-Reads From TIME

Write to Jamie Ducharme at [email protected].

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