COVID-19 testing

What You Need to Know: Insurance Companies Set to Pay for At-Home Covid-19 Tests

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Earlier this week, the president made an announcement regarding how some employees will receive Covid-19 testing.

Starting Saturday, private insurance companies have to cover the cost of at-home Covid-19 tests for their members.

But how will it work?

Most people with private health insurance will be able to be reimbursed for up to eight at-home Covid-19 tests per month. The tests have to be approved by the FDA.

“At no cost either through reimbursement or free of charge,” said Paul Lombardo with the Connecticut Insurance Department.

He thinks this may increase insurance premiums going forward, but more tests could mean keeping Covid-19 cases down.

“So, hopefully in the long run, that will lower costs overall,” he said.

But how can people get their hands on these tests?

We’ve heard from so many of you frustrated by the long lines and empty shelves while looking for Covid-19 tests. They are tough if not impossible to find in stores here in Connecticut.

That’s a big concern for Blue Cross Blue Shield. In a statement earlier this week, the company wrote that “this policy does not solve for the limited supply of tests” and “could cause additional consumer friction.”

Meanwhile, BCBS said it's doing what it can to get this up and running for members on such a tight timeline.

Connecticare tells NBC Connecticut that it is finalizing the details on how they’ll handle coverage and reimbursement of testing kits.

“ConnectiCare views testing as a critical tool to help stop the spread of COVID-19. We follow all federal and state guidelines as directed. We are currently finalizing the details of how we will handle coverage and reimbursement of testing kits and will be sharing that information with our members," spokesperson Kim Kann said.

"Access to testing has been a critical component of our pandemic response. We are reviewing the guidance and plan to adjust our coverage policies as appropriate," Aetna said.

They're advising people to see FAQs on their website for more information.

So, here’s our tips:

Before you go out there searching for a test, check with your provider about their plan. How will they reimburse you? Do they want you to buy from a certain store? And if you buy one, make sure to save your receipt.

At this time, Medicare won’t pay for these at home tests.

“Any member of a Medicare Advantage program is going to have to check with their Medicare Advantage health plan. It is not part of this guidance,” said Lombardo.

For those uninsured, the Biden administration said they’ve purchased thousands of tests which can be requested online, although that site has not been set up yet.

So, there’s still a lot of questions to be answered, despite the program starting Saturday.

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