Private health insurers will soon be required to cover up to eight home COVID-19 tests per month for those on their plans starting Saturday, the White House Office of COVID-19 Response confirmed during a press briefing Wednesday.
The Biden administration announced the change Monday as it looks to lower costs and make testing for the virus more convenient amid high frustrations. Under the new policy, Americans will be able to either obtain home testing kits for free or purchase them and then submit receipts for the tests for subsequent reimbursement, up to the monthly per-person limit.
A family of four, for instance, could be reimbursed for up to 32 tests over-the-counter tests per month. Only tests purchased on or after Jan. 15 will be required to be reimbursed.
Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a Monday news releasethat the administration is "requiring insurers and group health plans to make tests free for millions of Americans. This is all part of our overall strategy to ramp-up access to easy-to-use, at-home tests at no cost."
During a White House press briefing on Monday, press secretary Jen Psaki said that the Biden administration plans to begin to have free coronavirus tests available to Americans and "out the door in the coming weeks," she said. Psaki continued elaborating on the delay up until now saying "the contracts [for testing companies] are structured in a way to require that significant amounts are delivered on an aggressive timeline, the first of which should be arriving early next week."
As NPR reported, the Biden administration says it is working to incentivize insurers, along with group health plans, to try and get over-the-counter PCR and rapid tests from preferred pharmacies and other retailers into the hands of Americans with no out-of-pocket costs incurring.