While it would be nice for the government to send us four free home rapid COVID testing kits a month, that won’t be enough for many households. However, if you have private insurance through an employer or group, you have an alternative: You can get reimbursed or free from approved retailers. eight FDA-approved home COVID tests per person per month.
It was announced back in January, the new rules state that private health insurers must have these tests done without the need for approval from a doctor or other health care provider. (If you need more sets, you can have them ordered by a healthcare provider.) This requirement went into effect on January 15th.
How do you take advantage of it? This depends on your private health insurance.
Currently, the best way to find out how to get reimbursed for tests you buy is to log into your health insurance site. I’ve checked about six insurance sites, and most currently offer claim forms that you can fill out and submit with proof of purchase. Finally, according to the announcement, we will be able to get the kits from approved pharmacies and stores; however, it is still early days.
Some other things to watch out for:
- You will need to provide proof of purchase with your claim form, so if you make the purchase at a local store, do not lose this receipt.
- Your insurance company may have a list of approved kits and/or approved retailers to accept claims. As a result, it’s a good idea to check your insurer’s site before making a purchase.
- Joyful to be able to purchase an FDA-approved kit from outside your insurer’s approved dealer network; Your insurance company must reimburse these purchases at the rate of $12 per test.
- If you ordered a COVID testing kit online before January 15th but did not receive it afterward, you may be covered. Either contact your insurer or submit the form with proof of purchase and delivery and we hope for the best.
- The requirement covers eight tests per person, not eight kits. So if your kit includes two or more tests (and many do), keep that in mind when submitting your request.
Unfortunately, that leaves Medicare and Medicaid health insurance recipients — and those without insurance — pretty much in the cold. The state provides four free testing kits per household per month if you sign up, but that won’t go very far if you have more than a few people in your household and need to get tested frequently. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services, “State Medicaid and CHIP programs are required to cover FDA-approved home COVID-19 testing,” although rules may vary by state and you should contact your local office. For more information.
Finally, according to Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)), home testing kits are provided for distribution to HRSA and Medicare-sponsored health clinics; Again, you will need to contact your local clinic.
More information on refunds can be found at: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services area.
January 20, 11:30 ET Update: Information added to clarify the availability of test kits for those participating in Medicaid and CHIP programs.