Medicare will soon offer free home coronavirus tests
Medicare, which covers about 60 million Americans, will offer free, over-the-counter rapid coronavirus tests starting in the spring, according to the federal government agency Medicare and Medicaid.
The policy will “allow Medicare beneficiaries to get free point-of-sale tests and not require a refund.” According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Servicesadding that this will be the first time that Medicare covers the full cost of an over-the-counter test.
The announcement follows weeks of noise from lawmakers and healthcare advocates, who argued that Medicare recipients were passed in the administration’s attempt to require companies to insure them. Private insurance pays for the tests.
Under the plan, which will also apply to Medicare Advantage beneficiaries, Medicare will pay qualified pharmacies and medical providers to provide the tests. The authorities did not say how many pharmacies would participate.
Enrollees will be able to receive up to eight tests per month, the same number covered for privately insured Americans as part of the plan. a series of new requirements the Biden administration announced last month.
The regulator said the new Medicare program would not start until “early spring”. The increase in cases is caused by the Omicron variant, fell, may have weakened considerably by that time. Even so, the trials could help Americans possible future spikes, possibly driven by different variationsand as people started to congregate more often with fewer cases of the virus around.
The free Medicare-covered tests will reach some of the most vulnerable segments of the US population. The majority of Medicare enrollees are age 65 or older; others are younger people with disabilities.
Because new treatments for the virus must be introduced early in the infection to be effective, check and identify cases quickly very important to their use.
After the Biden administration released new guidance on trial reimbursement under private insurance plans, legislators have called on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to extend coverage to Medicare enrollees. Regular use of rapid tests, which typically cost about $10 each if paid out-of-pocket and are often packaged in pairs, can be prohibitively expensive for many Americans.
“The cost of the tests and the time it takes to find free testing options are barriers that may discourage Medicare beneficiaries from getting tested,” said Nancy LeaMond, an AARP official. experience, leading to more social isolation and further spread of the virus.” statement on Thursday commending the administration’s new policy.
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The plan is the latest move in a patchwork federal effort to deliver more testing faster, after President Biden received harsh feedback from the public about a shortage of testing over the holidays. when Omicron variant cases spiked and demand for tests skyrocketed. As the Biden administration hunt for tests to buymanufacturers scramble to meet demand from public and commercial buyers around the world.
The government has sent tens of millions of free rapid tests by mail as part of the New Postal Service program, the White House said last week. Every American household can order four tests through that program now. At least 60 million households, nearly half the total number of households in the United States, have ordered tests from the program, using the website and hotline to order. Like all Americans, people enrolled in Medicare are eligible to receive those tests.
The Biden administration said on Thursday that Medicare enrollees can still get free coronavirus testing at more than 20,000 community locations, and also when tested by medical providers.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/03/health/medicare-coronavirus-tests.html Medicare will soon offer free home coronavirus tests