How many at-home COVID-19 tests will your insurance company cover?

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Having lots of home COVID-19 tests on hand can get expensive. Some of the tests cleared by the FDA for emergency use authorization, such as BinaxNOW, On/Go, and QuickVue, cost between $18 and $24 and contain two tests. Even so, that’s $9-12 per test, which can quickly add up, especially if you have multiple family members who need to test more than once.

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To expand Americans’ access to free testing, the federal government began requiring insurance companies and group health plans to cover the cost of at-home COVID-19 testing beginning Jan. 15. Here’s what you need to know to get your fair share of these free home tests.

How can you get free at-home COVID-19 tests?

As of January 15, people covered by private health insurance or a group health plan can buy over-the-counter COVID-19 tests at home authorized or approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration and undergo these tests. covered by their health insurance or plan.

The federal government is encouraging insurers and group health plans to set up programs that allow people to get these tests directly through pharmacies, retailers or other preferred places without having to pay upfront and without having to submit a refund request.

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Here’s how the incentive works. When an insurer or group health plan sets up a program for people to get free tests through a preferred network of pharmacies or retailers, they can limit the reimbursement amount to $12 for each test people buy outside the network.

However, if an insurer or group health plan does not have a program in place for covered individuals to obtain tests at no upfront cost and opts for simple reimbursement, they must reimburse the full cost of each test, even if it costs over $12. .

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How many free at-home COVID-19 tests can you get per month?

Insurance companies and health plans are required to cover eight individual home tests per covered person each month. So, for example, a family of four could have up to 32 tests per month, and a family of six could have up to 48 tests per month.

Where can you get free at-home COVID-19 tests?

You can get free home tests from online retailers, or go to a pharmacy or store to buy a home COVID-19 test. Check with your health insurance plan administrator or provider to see if they offer direct home testing coverage through a network of preferred pharmacies or retailers. If so, you will be able to get free tests from these pharmacies or retailers at no upfront cost.

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How long will insurance companies cover home testing?

The federal government’s mandate began on January 15 and no end date has been announced.

How are you reimbursed if you purchase a home COVID-19 test?

If you are covered by private health insurance or a group health plan, save your receipt if you purchase a home COVID-19 test after January 15. Then, contact your group plan administrator or health insurance provider to find out how to submit your receipt for reimbursement.

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What if you don’t have health insurance?

For people without health insurance, the federal government is offering four free at-home COVID-19 tests in every household in the United States. To order, go to the official US government website.

There are also over 20,000 free community testing sites across the United States. Go here to find a test location near you.

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About the Author

Cynthia Measom is a personal finance writer and editor with over 12 years of collective experience. His articles have appeared in MSN, Aol, Yahoo Finance, INSIDER, Houston Chronicle, The Seattle Times and The Network Journal. She attended the University of Texas at Austin and earned a Bachelor of Arts in English.

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