Americans should soon be able to get free home Covid tests

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Who can get the free tests?

The White House says the 150 million Americans with private health insurance will be eligible for full reimbursement after purchasing a home Covid test. This includes people insured by their employer, as well as those who have purchased a market plan under the Affordable Care Act, Dawson said.

The new rules do not apply to those on Medicaid and Medicare, although that may change, and those on Medicare with private insurance may be covered.

Shared healthcare or short-term plans usually won’t have to cover your tests, said Sabrina Corlette, co-director of the Center on Health Insurance Reforms at the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University.

Covid home testing is also an eligible expense for Flexible Savings Accounts and Health Savings Accounts.

Can I get a test?

Experts have said we’ll have to wait for more government advice on which ones will be covered, but they expect most home tests available at pharmacies to be included in the policy.

How can I be sure that I am reimbursed by my insurer?

You’ll likely have to do some legwork to get your money back, Dawson said.

Many people may not even be aware of their provider’s refund policy. (You can start learning more by contacting your plan.)

It will be crucial that you keep your receipt, said Caitlin Donovan, spokesperson for the Patient Advocate Foundation.

“Your normal receipt should be fine – I even printed receipts from Amazon – and then you’ll need to send it in,” Donovan said, adding that insurers usually have a reimbursement form they want you to fill out.

“Insurers will generally have a physical mailing address,” she said. “They may also have an option for electronic submission, which means you can upload it to their site or send it by email.”

To send a simpler receipt, Donovan recommends asking the cashier to call the tests separately from additional purchases.

Corlette hopes government guidelines in January will force insurers to reimburse people within a certain time frame.

“Some companies can take a long time to reduce these checks,” Corlette said.

What if I don’t have insurance?

If you don’t have insurance or are covered by Medicaid and Medicare, the White House has said it doubles the number of free tests it distributes in community centers to 50 million, from 25 million.

You should be able to find one of these centers on your state or local health agency website, Corlette said.

When should I use a home test?

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Dawson cited some of the most common circumstances in which people may want to test themselves for the virus: They have come in contact with someone diagnosed with Covid, they are showing symptoms of the virus, or they should attend a high- risk event. , such as a large family reunion or meeting with someone who is immunocompromised.

Can I use a home test to travel?

Most take-out tests purchased from, for example, your local Walgreens will not provide results that you can use before a flight or cruise. However, there is at least one home test that the CDC has approved for travel purposes, according to travel site The Points Guy.

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