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January 14, 2022

At-home COVID-19 Tests

How to get your at-home test kit for FREE!

You’ve heard it before, but here it goes again: testing is one of the keys to preventing the spread of COVID-19. It protects you and every other person you come in contact with from increased risk of infection.

Yep, it’s a hassle–even finding one on store shelves has been a challenge. And they’ve been a bit pricey. But we’ve got good news on both fronts.

First, we’ve got rapid at-home COVID test kits in stock!

Second, this from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS): “Starting January 15, most people with a health plan can go online, or to a pharmacy or store to purchase an at-home over-the-counter COVID-19 diagnostic test authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) at no cost, either through reimbursement or free of charge through their insurance. This applies whether you purchased your health plan on your own or whether you get health insurance through your job.”

We’ve got ‘em, and you can get them for FREE (in most cases). 

Here’s what you need to know:

Will I have to pay out-of-pocket up front? 

You’ll need to check with your plan to see whether or not you’ll need to submit a claim and get reimbursed. If you are charged after January 15th, save your receipt for the claims process. The Whitehouse is “strongly incentivizing” health plans and insurers to set up a network of convenient locations across the country such as pharmacies or retailers where people with private health coverage will be able to order online or walk in and pick them up for free without going through the claims process. 

How much will I be reimbursed?  

This is how it works. If you buy an over-the-counter COVID-19 test from a pharmacy, store, or online retailer and are charged. 

  • If your plan has not set up a network of preferred stores, pharmacies, and online retailers at which you can obtain a test with no out-of- pocket expense, you will be reimbursed the full amount of the cost. 
  • If your buy your test outside of your insurance network, your plan is required to reimburse you at a rate of up to $12 per individual test (or the cost of the test, if less than $12). 
  • If the plan or insurer does not set up a process through which you can buy a test with no upfront costs, then the plan and insurer must reimburse in the full cost.
What if I’m uninsured? 
  • The Whitehouse is purchasing more than 500 million over-the-counter at-home tests to be distributed for free to all Americans who want them. Delivery is set to begin in January. There will be a website where you can request at-home tests for home delivery—for free. More information is expected soon. 
  • People without insurance can also get free at-home test from some community health centers. 
  • In addition, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is providing up to 50 million free, at-home tests to community health centers and Medicare-certified health clinics for distribution at no cost to patients and community members. More information about testing resources for people without insurance are available here: https://www.hhs.gov/coronavirus/community-based-testing-sites/index.html
What if I already paid for a test? 

Plans and insurers are required to cover tests purchased on or after January 15, 2022. They may but aren’t required to provide coverage for tests purchased before January 15. Contact your health plan.  

How many tests can I get reimbursed for? 

Health plans must cover 8 individual tests per person enrolled in the plan per month (e.g. a family of 4 can get 32 tests per month for free). 

For all things COVID-19, Gifthealth is here to help. Contact us for:

Scheduling a vaccine or a booster vaccine (in Columbus, Ohio) at https://gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov

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