It’s been difficult to find an at-home COVID-19 test in the U.S. lately. Make that, really difficult. On top of the challenge of finding a test, the cost of at-home tests have skyrocketed lately due to increased deman.
President Joe Biden has announced a new guideline that will require insurance to cover at-home COVID-19 tests. The new rule will began on Saturday (Jan. 15). Private insurance companies are now required to cover up to eight at-home COVID tests per individual each month.
“The new coverage requirement means that most consumers with private health coverage can go online or to a pharmacy or store, buy a test, and either get it paid for up front by their health plan, or get reimbursed for the cost by submitting a claim to their plan,” the U.S. Health and Human Services department says in a statement.
The department adds, “Over-the-counter test purchases will be covered in the commercial market without the need for a health care provider’s order or individualized clinical assessment, and without any cost-sharing requirements such as deductibles, co-payments or coinsurance, prior authorization, or other medical management requirements.”
In addition, the Biden administration is buying 500 million tests to give out to Americans. People will be directed to order a test online.
“The federal government is launching a website this month where you can get tests shipped to your home for free, upon your request,” Biden said during a press conference last week.
COVID-19 is spiking across America, with the seven-day average of cases continuing to go up, according to the Centers for Disease Control. According to the CDC, the new omicron variant likely makes up 95% of current cases.
According to experts, while the omicron variant seems to produce a less severe form of COVID-19, since it’s highly transmissible, the sheer numbers could overwhelm hospitals across the U.S. Even though omicron is able to evade vaccines better than previous strains of the virus, being boosted is showing to decrease the need to hospitalization. According to the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, Michigan, 95% of the hospital’s recent COVID-19 cases were among un-boosted individuals.