Health plans

Biden seeks to demand private health plans pay for home Covid testing

The administration appears to be relying on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act authorities which are asking private insurers to provide coverage and not to impose cost-sharing of diagnostic tests that detect Covid-19 during the health emergency. public.

“This is our assessment of this, that he should cover, and he should cover home testing for Americans on this private insurance,” a senior administration official told reporters.

However, the requirement will not take effect immediately. Three federal departments – Health and Human Services, Labor and Treasury – have yet to issue official guidance on the reimbursement requirement, language that may not be released until Jan. 15.

The next policy change won’t be retroactive either, meaning people won’t be able to get reimbursement for home tests they’ve already purchased, the senior administration official said. It is also unclear whether there will be any limits on the number of home tests individuals can submit for reimbursement.

“Individuals will generally need to submit receipts to their insurer,” White House spokesman Kevin Munoz wrote in an email. “Further details will be included in the guidance that the three departments are developing. “

It appears insurers will still not be required to cover costs related to workplace testing programs – a White House fact sheet says such tests “will remain within current guidelines.”

“Plans and issuers are not required to provide testing coverage, for example for public health surveillance or employment purposes,” the current guidelines state.

The policy will also not apply to Americans insured through public programs such as Medicare and Medicaid or to those without insurance. The White House has said separately that it plans to expand the number of free tests distributed through community sites, including rural clinics, to 50 million tests, from 25 million.