Whitmer: Free at-home COVID tests will be covered by insurance plans

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Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) Director Anita Fox are encouraging Michiganders with health insurance to take advantage of a new federal rule that requires health insurers to cover the cost of eight OTC COVID-19 home tests per month. As insurers work to implement this new coverage, Michiganders must keep receipts and boxes of COVID-19 tests purchased beginning Saturday, Jan. 15, so they can submit them for future reimbursement, which will save a family of four at least $384 per month.

“We will continue to work with our federal partners to ensure COVID-19 testing is more accessible and less expensive for every Michigander,” said Governor Whitmer. “With this new rule, a family of four, for example, can take 32 tests each month, saving them at least $384 per month. This expanded access to testing will reduce costs and help limit the spread of COVID-19. »

“This new health insurance benefit will help reduce barriers to home COVID-19 testing for Michiganders,” said Director of DIFS Renard. “Depending on the insurer, consumers may get their tests covered for free at the store or pharmacy, or they may be required to keep receipts for later reimbursement. Following directives issued by the federal government on Monday, insurers have begun to develop their plans to offer this new benefit. DIFS will compile information from Michigan insurers as it becomes available, and more information will be posted in the coming weeks at Michigan.gov/DIFS.

Under the new rule, starting Jan. 15, private insurers will be required to cover up to eight FDA-approved over-the-counter COVID-19 tests per month for each person covered by a health plan. Insurers can, but are not required to cover tests purchased before January 15. Free COVID-19 testing is not limited to Michiganders with private health insurance. Consumer disbursements will vary depending on how coverage is provided:
  • Through a network of pharmacies or preferred retailers: If your insurer establishes a network of preferred pharmacies or retailers, you can obtain over-the-counter COVID-19 tests at no upfront cost at these locations. If you choose to purchase your tests elsewhere, your insurer is required to reimburse you up to $12 for these tests.
  • By reimbursement: If your insurer does not establish a network of preferred pharmacies or retailers, you will be required to prepay for your tests and your insurer will be required to reimburse you for the full purchase price of the covered tests.
  • Michigan Medicaid and MIChild: Participants in these programs receive coverage for FDA-cleared COVID-19 home testing.
  • If you don’t have insurance: People without insurance can also get tested for free at some community health centers. More information on COVID-19 test for people without insurance is available on the US Department of Health and Human Services website.

Later this month, all Michiganders will also have access to free at-home testing mailed directly to them upon request by the federal government. More information about this new federal program, including a website for making test requests, is expected soon.

Consumers who have questions that cannot be resolved directly with their insurer can contact DIFS from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at 877-999-6442.

The mission of the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services is to provide access to safe and secure insurance and financial services fundamental to the opportunity, safety, and success of Michigan residents, while promoting economic growth and sustainability in both sectors. Additionally, the Department provides consumer protection, outreach, financial literacy, and education services to Michigan residents. For more information, visit michigan.gov/DIFSor follow the Department on Facebook, TwitterWhere LinkedIn.
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