At a press conference on Monday, the Biden administration announced a policy that will require insurance companies to reimburse up to eight over-the-counter at-home COVID-19 tests for their customers beginning January 15th, as first reported by the Associated Press. The administration said in a Twitter thread that the “update” is a part of a larger plan to “increase access to COVID-19 testing.”
Under the new policy, insured Americans will either have to purchase the test kits under their insurance or submit receipts to their insurance for reimbursement. A family of four under the same plan would be eligible to be reimbursed for up to eight COVID tests each, totaling 32 tests per month. The plan will also require consumers wanting reimbursement to do more work.
The plan “incentivizes” companies to cover upfront costs and make it easier for privately insured consumers to go online or to their local pharmacy or store, purchase a test, and get it paid for upfront or reimbursed, the US Department of Health and Human Services said in a Monday statement.
The update comes nearly a month after the administration announced that it was working with Google to release a website to distribute 500 million free COVID-19 tests to Americans— a plan that came in the midst of a mass testing shortage in the US and the spread of the omicron variant. The website has yet to launch.
At the press conference, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that Americans should be able to order tests online later this month, but there are “several components” involved in manufacturing and distributing the tests that could spark further delays.