Feb. 4, 2022
Medicare will cowl the price of over-the-counter fast COVID-19 assessments starting within the “early spring,” in keeping with an announcement from the Facilities for Medicare & Medicaid Providers on Thursday.
Folks enrolled in both Authentic Medicare or Medicare Benefit will be capable of choose up as many as eight assessments monthly without spending a dime by “eligible pharmacies and different taking part entities.” The coverage will apply to over-the-counter COVID-19 assessments authorized or approved by the FDA.
“That is the primary time that Medicare has lined an over-the-counter check for free of charge to beneficiaries,” in keeping with the announcement.
The brand new coverage will enable Medicare to pay taking part pharmacies and well being suppliers instantly slightly than require reimbursement.
“There are a selection of points which have made it troublesome to cowl and pay for over-the-counter COVID-19 assessments,” the announcement stated. “Nevertheless, given the significance of increasing entry to testing, CMS has recognized a pathway that can develop entry to free over-the-counter testing for Medicare beneficiaries.”
The announcement comes after weeks of criticism from lawmakers and well being care specialists, who’ve known as for Medicare recipients to obtain protection for testing, in accordance to The New York Times. Within the current Biden administration push to require personal insurers to cowl at-home assessments, the 64 million Medicare beneficiaries weren’t included.
“Expanded entry to no-cost testing will assist defend seniors who’ve been hit hardest by the pandemic and guarantee they will stay related with their family members and neighborhood,” Nancy LeaMond, govt vp for AARP, stated in a statement following the CMS announcement.
“Each American ought to have a simple technique to get at-home COVID assessments,” she stated. “We all know that individuals 65 and older are at a lot larger danger of great sickness and dying from this illness — they want equal entry to instruments that may assist maintain them protected.”
The Biden administration hasn’t stated what number of pharmacies or well being suppliers will take part or when the brand new coverage might be enacted within the “early spring.”
Till then, the CMS announcement stated, folks with Medicare can entry free assessments by a number of choices:
Request 4 free over-the-counter assessments for house supply at covidtests.gov.Entry COVID-19 assessments by healthcare suppliers at greater than 20,000 free testing websites throughout the nation. A list of sites is on the market on the U.S. Division of Well being and Human Providers web site.Get free lab-based PCR assessments and antigen assessments carried out by a lab when the check is ordered by a health care provider, non-physician practitioner, pharmacist or different approved well being care skilled.
The CMS additionally created a frequently asked questions web page concerning the new coverage, which incorporates cellphone numbers for listening to impaired callers and people who want assist in one other language.